Category Archives: Religion

Mind: The Matrix Model

Reference: Course on Subject Clearing

I am simply exploring areas that may go beyond the traditional definitions of Brahma, Ātman and Manas (mind) as provided in the ancient texts. For example, Brahma appears to me as the “innate impulse” that permeates the fabric of the universe, Ātman appears to me as “energy activated by innate impulse”, and Manas (mind) appears to me as “an energy form, activated by innate impulse, that is generating, transmitting, and controlling motion”.

So, I am looking at these fundamental concepts in an integrated form. I know it is quite a departure from traditional definitions, but I think it is worth a try. This approach gives me an interesting “matrix model” for the mind. The premise for this model is, 

“A healthy mind naturally breaks the perceptions down into fine ‘mental pixels’, which are then absorbed into a mental matrix.”

These pixels may be viewed as energy quanta that gets finer and finer and almost continuous at lower frequencies, but together they form an intricate network, which I call a matrix. This matrix exists at every level starting from the universal down to the individual life forms, and even to the “inanimate” objects. As humans, we may be plugged into the universal matrix without being aware of it.

Anyway, I am trying to integrate the concept of consciousness with this model. I know that the Vedas do not spell out any mechanics, or structure, or role of Brahma, Ātman and Manas (mind) in terms of any specific model. Therefore, it leaves plenty of room for theorizing and speculation.

Consciousness would obviously be universal, as the mental matrix, ultimately, is universal. But this model tells me that consciousness may vary according to the fineness of mental pixels, quanta or frequencies. For example, the mental matrix of an animal may not be made up of as fine pixels as those in the humans, and so the quality of consciousness in animals may not be as deep as in humans.

One application of this matrix model of the mind is in Subject Clearing, that has to do with educating oneself in any subject by one’s own effort. Subject Clearing is explained in following issues.

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Glossary for Bhagavad Gita

Reference: The Bhagavad Gita

This Glossary arranges the concepts of Bhagavad Gita from the Earliest to latest.

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DHARMA
Dharma means, “Established in nature”. For example, the “Dharma” of the sun is to shine and give warmth. Dharma is the basis of all science—physical and spiritual. Nature is continuous, harmonious and consistent. Therefore, dharma exists when there is continuity, harmony and consistency.

BRAHMA
The one self-existent Spirit, the Absolute. This is the highest metaphysical reality. More practically, Brahma represents the innate impulse that permeates the fabric of the universe. It lies at the core of what we call SELF. Bhagavad Gita talks about “desire” to exist at this level. That is why desire is so difficult to control. (Verse 2:17)

ĀTMAN
Ātman means, “essence, nature, character, peculiarity”. It is the energy activated by innate impulse. In this general sense ātman applies to the characteristic of any “thing” animate or inanimate. In a popular sense, it refers to individual essence. Pure ātman is totally in tune with nature and it is good. The embodied ātman (jivātman or self) acquires samskāra (impressions on the mind from action and experience). The self is essentially activated impressions. The disembodied ātman is different from self. It is essentially made up of non-active impressions that are being carried forward from death to next birth. This brings about evolution. Problems occur when these impressions are not assimilated with nature. (Verses 2:19-30).

PARAMĀTMAN
The supreme or universal ātman that is that is the essence of nature and it is universal. See ĀTMAN.

DEHA
The body which is perishable. (Verse 2:18)

DEHIN (also JIVATMAN)
The embodied ātman. It is also referred to as JIVATMAN. Ātman is conscious only when it is embodied. Disembodied ātman is like being in a deep sleep. See ĀTMAN. (Verses 2:13 and 2:28).

MIND
The embodied ātman is aware. It has the natural capacity to recognize what is there and what is not. This is its mind. (Verse 2:16). Mind may be looked upon as “energy form, activated by innate impulse, that is controlling and transmitting motion.”

SELF
Self is the awareness that the embodied ātman has of itself. Some use “self” (lower case) for awareness of oneself as human, and “Self” (upper case) for supreme awareness as God.

VIEWPOINT
A viewpoint is the frame of reference that self is using. It is made up of considerations carried by self.

“I”
The viewpoint of self.

UNIVERSAL VIEWPOINT
This is the “I” or “ME” used by Krishna. It is the viewpoint of Paramātman, which is much broader than the human viewpoint. From this viewpoint, Paramātman is manifested as all forms in the universe and not just the human form. The universal viewpoint is the expression of universal principles, and it is neither created nor destroyed. Ultimate authority resides in the universal principles, that are personified as Gods in Hinduism.

BHAGAVĀN
Bhagavān literally means “fortunate”, “blessed”, and hence “illustrious”, “divine”, “venerable”, and “holy”. It refers to one who understands the creation and dissolution, the appearance and disappearance of beings, the wisdom and ignorance. In Bhāgavad Gīta, Krishna is referred to as bhagavān.

ĪŚVARÁ
Īśvará means, “one who is capable of”, It is used for master, lord, prince, king, mistress, and queen.

GOD
The term “God” may be used for BRAHMA, PARAMĀTMAN, BHAGAVĀN or ĪŚVARÁ.

CHANGE & CHANGELESS
Ātman that carries mental impressions never perishes, but the mental impressions carried by ātman are forever changing. (Verse 2:12-14).

IMMORTALITY
Immortality is not identifying with perishable mental impressions of sense-objects. It is freedom from fixations on sense-objects. (Verse 2:15).

SVADHARMA
Svadharma is “one’s own duty”. These are actions that follows naturally from beingness. Svadharma is a property peculiar to the beingness. (Verse 2:31).

KSHATRIYA
Kshatriya is one who protects from hurt or wound. A Kshatriya is a member of the second of the four great Hindu castes, the military caste. The traditional function of the Kshatriyas is to protect society by fighting in wartime and governing in peacetime. (Verse 2:32).

SIN
Sin consists of acting against one’s inherent beingness, or not acting according to it. (Verse 2:33).

DETACHMENT
Aloofness, as from the outcome of one’s actions. It is freedom from prejudice or partiality. (Verse 2:38).

SAMKHYA
Samkhya refers to the philosophical school in Hinduism based on systematic enumeration and rational examination. It ‘enumerates’ twenty-five Tattvas or true principles; and its chief object is to effect the final emancipation of the twenty-fifth Tattva, i.e. the puruṣa or Self. (Verse 2:39).

PURUŚA
Puruśa is abstract essence of the Self, Spirit and the Universal Principle that is eternal, indestructible, without form and is all pervasive.

YOGA
Yoga school of philosophy is closely related to Samkhya school. It systematically studies to better oneself physically, mentally and spiritually by renouncing attachment and attaining equanimity. (Verse 2:39, 2:48).

SELFLESS ACTION
Action taken from the universal viewpoint takes everything and everyone into account. It does not favor some narrow self. (Verse 2:40)

DESIRE
All desires have deep roots in innate impulse, and they are shaped by the self. (Verse 2:42).

GUNA
Guṇas are “modes of existence” (tendencies, qualities, attributes). It is a philosophical and psychological concept developed by the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. There are three gunas: sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious), rajas (passion, active, confused), and tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic). All of these three gunas are present in everyone and everything, it is the proportion that is different. The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life. (Verse 2:45).

ENLIGHTENED PERSON
A person who is established in the truth of natural order; who is always seeing things as they are. (Verse 2:46).

ENLIGHTENED ACTION
When one engages in an action simply to restore the truth of the natural order, then it is an enlightened action. (Verse 2:47).

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THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Chapter 5

Reference: The Bhagavad Gita

अर्जुनउवाच
संन्यासंकर्मणांकृष्णपुनर्योगंचशंससि।यच्छ्रेयएतयोरेकंतन्मेब्रूहिसुनिश्िचतम्।।5.1।।

Arjuna said:
Thou praisest, O Krishna, the renunciation of actions (Sāńkhyayoga) and again their unselfish performance (Karmayoga). Tell me for certain which one of the two is decidedly conducive to my good. (V-1)

श्रीभगवानुवाच
संन्यासःकर्मयोगश्चनिःश्रेयसकरावुभौ।तयोस्तुकर्मसंन्यासात्कर्मयोगोविशिष्यते।।5.2।।

The blessed Lord said:
’Samnyāsa’ (Discipline of Knowledge) and ‘Karmayoga’ (Discipline of Action) both lead to salvation. But of the two ‘Karmayoga’ is better than ’Sānkhyayoga’. (V-2)

ज्ञेयःनित्यसंन्यासीयोद्वेष्टिकाङ्क्षति।निर्द्वन्द्वोहिमहाबाहोसुखंबन्धात्प्रमुच्यते।।5.3।।

He who neither hates nor desires should be known as a Samnyāsī (renouncer); for, free from dualities (pairs of opposites) he is released easily from bondage, O mighty armed (Arjuna). (V-3)

सांख्ययोगौपृथग्बालाःप्रवदन्तिपण्डिताः।एकमप्यास्थितःसम्यगुभयोर्विन्दतेफलम्।।5.4।।

The ignorant, not the wise, speak of the Discipline of Knowledge (Sānkhyayoga), and Discipline of Action (Karmayoga) as different. He who is well established in one, gets the fruit of both. (V-4)

यत्सांख्यैःप्राप्यतेस्थानंतद्योगैरपिगम्यते।एकंसांख्यंयोगंयःपश्यतिपश्यति।।5.5।।

The supreme state which is attained by the Sānkhyayogī is reached by the Karmayogī also. He who sees the ways (as result) of Sānkhyayoga and Karmayoga are one, he sees (truly). (V-5)

संन्यासस्तुमहाबाहोदुःखमाप्तुमयोगतः।योगयुक्तोमुनिर्ब्रह्मनचिरेणाधिगच्छति।।5.6।।

But the Discipline of Knowledge, O mighty armed (Arjuna), is difficult to attain without the Discipline of Action; the sage who is earnest in Karmayoga (the Discipline of Action) quickly attains to the Absolute. (V-6)

Knowledge is gained from experience. Experience is gained from action.

योगयुक्तोविशुद्धात्माविजितात्माजितेन्द्रियः।सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्माकुर्वन्नपिलिप्यते।।5.7।।

The Karmayogī, whose mind is quite pure who has controlled his body who has subdued his senses and whose self is the self of all beings, is not tainted by the actions though he acts. (V-7)

“Whose self is the self of all beings” is the sense underlying the universal viewpoint.

नैवकिंचित्करोमीतियुक्तोमन्येततत्त्ववित्।पश्यन्श्रृणवन्स्पृशञ्जिघ्रन्नश्नन्गच्छन्स्वपन्श्वसन्।।5.8।।प्रलपन्विसृजन्गृह्णन्नुन्मिषन्निमिषन्नपि।इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषुवर्तन्तइतिधारयन्।।5.9।।

The man who is united with the Divine and knows the truth believes, even though seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing, speaking, emitting, grasping, opening and closing the eyes, that he does nothing; he holds that the senses move among the sense-objects. (V-8, 9)

The sense and sense-objects are actually one. Thought doesn’t exist by itself.

ब्रह्मण्याधायकर्माणिसङ्गंत्यक्त्वाकरोतियः।लिप्यतेपापेनपद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा।।5.10।।

He who performs actions, offering them to God and abandoning attachment, is not tainted by sin, just as a lotus-leaf is not tainted by water. (V-10)

कायेनमनसाबुद्ध्याकेवलैरिन्द्रियैरपि।योगिनःकर्मकुर्वन्तिसङ्गंत्यक्त्वाऽऽत्मशुद्धये।।5.11।।

The Yogīs (men of action), having abandoned attachment, perform actions merely with the body, mind, intellect or merely with the senses, for the purification of the self (heart). (V-11)

युक्तःकर्मफलंत्यक्त्वाशान्तिमाप्नोतिनैष्ठिकीम्।अयुक्तःकामकारेणफलेसक्तोनिबध्यते।।5.12।।

The earnest (devoted) soul attains to everlasting peace (God-realization), by abandoning attachment to the fruit of action; whereas he who works with a selfish motive, being attached to the fruit of action through desire, is bound. (V-12)

सर्वकर्माणिमनसासंन्यस्यास्तेसुखंवशी।नवद्वारेपुरेदेहीनैवकुर्वन्नकारयन्।।5.13।।

The embodied (soul) who has controlled his senses, having renounced the doership of all actions mentally by discrimination in the city of nine gates, neither acting nor causing others to act, rests happily in the self. (V-13)

कर्तृत्वंकर्माणिलोकस्यसृजतिप्रभुः।कर्मफलसंयोगंस्वभावस्तुप्रवर्तते।।5.14।।

Neither agency nor actions does the Lord create for the world, nor does He connect actions with their fruits. But it is personal nature alone that acts. (V-14)

नादत्तेकस्यचित्पापंचैवसुकृतंविभुः।अज्ञानेनावृतंज्ञानंतेनमुह्यन्तिजन्तवः।।5.15।।

The All-pervading Lord takes neither the sin nor the virtue of any; knowledge is enveloped by ignorance; therefore, beings are deluded. (V-15)

ज्ञानेनतुतदज्ञानंयेषांनाशितमात्मनः।तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानंप्रकाशयतितत्परम्।।5.16।।

But to those whose ignorance is destroyed by knowledge (discrimination) that knowledge lights up the supreme self like the sun. (V-16)

तद्बुद्धयस्तदात्मानस्तन्निष्ठास्तत्परायणाः।गच्छन्त्यपुनरावृत्तिंज्ञाननिर्धूतकल्मषाः।।5.17।।

Those whose mind and intellect are wholly merged in God, who remain constantly established in identity with Him, and have finally become one with Him, their sins being wiped out by wisdom, reach the state from which there is no return. (V-17)

विद्याविनयसंपन्नेब्राह्मणेगविहस्तिनि।शुनिचैवश्वपाकेपण्डिताःसमदर्शिनः।।5.18।।

Sages see with an equal eye a learned and humble Brāhmana, a cow, an elephant or even a dog or pariah (outcaste) and have a vision of God in all of them. (V-18)

इहैवतैर्जितःसर्गोयेषांसाम्येस्थितंमनः।निर्दोषंहिसमंब्रह्मतस्माद्ब्रह्मणितेस्थिताः।।5.19।।

Even here the world is overcome by those whose minds are established in equality because God is flawless and equal. Therefore, they are established in God (Brahma). (V-19)

प्रहृष्येत्प्रियंप्राप्यनोद्विजेत्प्राप्यचाप्रियम्।स्थिरबुद्धिरसम्मूढोब्रह्मविद्ब्रह्मणिस्थितः।।5.20।।

He who neither rejoices in obtaining what is pleasant nor grieves on obtaining what is unpleasant and who is firm of understanding and unbewildered (undeluded), such a knower of God is established in God. (V-20)

बाह्यस्पर्शेष्वसक्तात्माविन्दत्यात्मनियत्सुखम्।ब्रह्मयोगयुक्तात्मासुखमक्षयमश्नुते।।5.21।।

When the soul (self) is no longer attached to external contacts (objects) he finds happiness in the self. Having completely identified himself through meditation with Brahma (God) he enjoys eternal bliss. (V-21)

येहिसंस्पर्शजाभोगादुःखयोनयएवते।आद्यन्तवन्तःकौन्तेयतेषुरमतेबुधः।।5.22।।

The pleasures that are born of contacts (with objects) are only sources of pain, they have a beginning and an end, O son of Kuntī (Arjuna), no wise man delights in them. (V-22)

शक्नोतीहैवयःसोढुंप्राक्शरीरविमोक्षणात्।कामक्रोधोद्भवंवेगंयुक्तःसुखीनरः।।5.23।।

He, who is able to resist the impulse (rush) born out of desire and anger, even here before he gives up his body, is a Yogī and he is a happy man. (V-23)

A higher state of understanding exists when there is no resistance even because there is no impure (born out of desire) impulse.

योऽन्तःसुखोऽन्तरारामस्तथान्तर्ज्योतिरेवयः।योगीब्रह्मनिर्वाणंब्रह्मभूतोऽधिगच्छति।।5.24।।

He who is happy within himself (God), who rejoices within himself, and who is illumined within himself, that Yogī (Sānkhyayogī) identified with Brahma attains to the beatitude of God (Brahma-nirvāna). (V-24)

लभन्तेब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृषयःक्षीणकल्मषाः।छिन्नद्वैधायतात्मानःसर्वभूतहितेरताः।।5.25।।

The holy men whose sins are destroyed, whose doubts (dualities) are cut asunder, whose minds are disciplined and who rejoice in doing good to all beings attain to the beatitude of God. (V-25)

कामक्रोधवियुक्तानांयतीनांयतचेतसाम्।अभितोब्रह्मनिर्वाणंवर्ततेविदितात्मनाम्।।5.26।।

To those austere souls (the wise) who are delivered from desire and anger, who have subdued their minds and who have realized the self, the beatitude of God (Brahmic bliss) exists on all sides. (V-26)

स्पर्शान्कृत्वाबहिर्बाह्यांश्चक्षुश्चैवान्तरेभ्रुवोः।प्राणापानौसमौकृत्वानासाभ्यन्तरचारिणौ।।5.27।।यतेन्द्रियमनोबुद्धिर्मुनिर्मोक्षपरायणः।विगतेच्छाभयक्रोधोयःसदामुक्तएवसः।।5.28।।

Shutting out all external objects, fixing the vision between the eye-brows, making the inward and the outward breaths moving within the nostrils, the sage, who has controlled the senses, mind and intellect, who is intent on liberation, who has cast away desire, fear and anger, is ever liberated. (V-27, 28)

भोक्तारंयज्ञतपसांसर्वलोकमहेश्वरम्।सुहृदंसर्वभूतानांज्ञात्वामांशान्तिमृच्छति।।5.29।।

He having known Me, as the enjoyer of all sacrifices and austerities, the Great Lord of all the worlds and the disinterested friend of all beings, attains peace. (V-29)

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THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Chapter 4

Reference: The Bhagavad Gita

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Chapter 4 Summary

(1) The knowledge of Yoga is ancient. Today it has become lost to Man.

(2) Knowledge resides in nature, where it has existed always. It is imperishable.

(3) This knowledge explodes in consciousness whenever there is a rapid decline in the world.

(4) The universe teaches the viewpoint of non-attached awareness of everything.

(5) The principles underlying any society are naturally composed of action, exchange, security and knowledge.

(6) One is really an instrument through which nature is operating. When actions flow naturally per universal principles, it is as good as doing nothing while being fully engaged. 

(7) When everything becomes the pure experience and expression of innate impulse (Brahma), ultimate harmony is achieved.

(8) People work toward attaining this harmony through various sacrifices; this world is not for him who performs no sacrifice.

(9) A broadening viewpoint helps you overcome ignorance and correct errors.

(10) Yoga helps you become unattached; knowledge helps you overcome all doubts. That is the road to peace.

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CHAPTER 4

श्रीभगवानुवाच
इमंविवस्वतेयोगंप्रोक्तवानहमव्ययम्।विवस्वान्मनवेप्राहमनुरिक्ष्वाकवेऽब्रवीत्।।4.1।।
एवंपरम्पराप्राप्तमिमंराजर्षयोविदुः।सकालेनेहमहतायोगोनष्टःपरन्तप।।4.2।।सएवायंमयातेऽद्ययोगःप्रोक्तःपुरातनः।भक्तोऽसिमेसखाचेतिरहस्यंह्येतदुत्तमम्।।4.3।।

I taught this imperishable Yoga to Vivasvān (the sun-god); he told it to Manu and Manu proclaimed it to Iksvāku. (IV-1). This, handed down thus in regular succession, the royal sages knew. But through long lapse of time this Yoga was lost to the world, O oppressor of the foe (Arjuna). (IV-2). This same ancient Yoga has been today declared to thee by Me; for thou art my devotee and My friend; and this is the supreme secret. (IV-3).

This Yoga presents universal principles.

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अर्जुनउवाच
अपरंभवतोजन्मपरंजन्मविवस्वतः।कथमेतद्विजानीयांत्वमादौप्रोक्तवानिति।।4.4।।

Later was Thy birth and earlier was the birth of Vivasvān (the sun-god). How am then I to understand that Thou didst declare it to him in the beginning? (IV-4)

This is an intelligent question because it is not obvious how one could have instructed somebody who existed way before one in the past.

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श्रीभगवानुवाच
बहूनिमेव्यतीतानिजन्मानितवचार्जुन।तान्यहंवेदसर्वाणिनत्वंवेत्थपरन्तप।।4.5।।
अजोऽपिसन्नव्ययात्माभूतानामीश्वरोऽपिसन्।प्रकृतिंस्वामधिष्ठायसंभवाम्यात्ममायया।।4.6।।

Many births of Mine have passed as well as of thine, O Arjuna; I know them all but thou knows not, O scorcher of foes. (IV-5). Though I am unborn, of imperishable nature, the Lord of all beings, yet, governing My Nature (Prakrti), I manifest Myself through my Yoga-Māyā (divine potency). (IV-6)

Krishna is speaking from the universal viewpoint that is imperishable, and has always existed. The universal principles of Yoga have been known to those ancients who had attained the universal viewpoint.

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यदायदाहिधर्मस्यग्लानिर्भवतिभारत।अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्यतदाऽऽत्मानंसृजाम्यहम्।।4.7।।
परित्राणायसाधूनांविनाशायचदुष्कृताम्।धर्मसंस्थापनार्थायसंभवामियुगेयुगे।।4.8।।

Whenever there is a decline of righteousness and rise of unrighteousness, O Arjuna, then I manifest Myself. (IV-7). For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of the righteousness, I am born from age to age. (IV-8).

When the average viewpoint of humanity really narrows down and the situation becomes unbearable, then someone with a universal viewpoint comes along to lead humanity out of its problems.

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जन्मकर्मचमेदिव्यमेवंयोवेत्तितत्त्वतः।त्यक्त्वादेहंपुनर्जन्मनैतिमामेतिसोऽर्जुन।।4.9।।
वीतरागभयक्रोधामन्मयामामुपाश्रिताः।बहवोज्ञानतपसापूतामद्भावमागताः।।4.10।।

He who thus knows, in their true nature, my divine birth and action, having abandoned the body is not born again; he comes to me, O Arjuna. (IV-9). Freed from attachment, fear and anger, absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, purified by the penance of knowledge, many have attained to My Being. (IV-10)

That universal viewpoint inspires others to broaden their viewpoints and attain their true nature of non-attachment. Thus they can acquire the real knowledge and also attain the universal viewpoint that frees them from all bondages.

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येयथामांप्रपद्यन्तेतांस्तथैवभजाम्यहम्।ममवर्त्मानुवर्तन्तेमनुष्याःपार्थसर्वशः।।4.11।।
काङ्क्षन्तःकर्मणांसिद्धिंयजन्तइहदेवताः।क्षिप्रंहिमानुषेलोकेसिद्धिर्भवतिकर्मजा।।4.12।।

O Partha! As devotees approach Me, so do I accept them; for all men follow My path in every way. (IV-11). Those who desire the fruition of their actions worship the gods; because success is quickly attained by men through action. (IV-12)

The only way forward is the broadening of viewpoint, and the results depend on the manner people do it. Many desirous of results worship gods. But results are attained most rapidly in this world through action. 

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चातुर्वर्ण्यंमयासृष्टंगुणकर्मविभागशः।तस्यकर्तारमपिमांविद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम्।।4.13।।
नमांकर्माणिलिम्पन्तिनमेकर्मफलेस्पृहा।इतिमांयोऽभिजानातिकर्मभिर्नसबध्यते।।4.14।।

The fourfold caste (order) was created by Me according to the modes of nature and action. Though I am the creator, know Me, the immortal Lord, to be a non-doer. (IV-13). Since I have no craving for the fruit of actions, actions do not taint me. He who know Me thus (in reality) is not bound by actions. (IV-14)

The society is organized by the natural order of four main functions: acquisition of knowledge, protection from danger, equitable commerce, and adequate labor. These universal principles of action are simply there. Actions according to these principles simply flow in nature without binding anyone.

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एवंज्ञात्वाकृतंकर्मपूर्वैरपिमुमुक्षुभिः।कुरुकर्मैवतस्मात्त्वंपूर्वैःपूर्वतरंकृतम्।।4.15।।
किंकर्मकिमकर्मेतिकवयोऽप्यत्रमोहिताः।तत्तेकर्मप्रवक्ष्यामियज्ज्ञात्वामोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात्।।4.16।।
कर्मणोह्यपिबोद्धव्यंबोद्धव्यंचविकर्मणः।अकर्मणश्चबोद्धव्यंगहनाकर्मणोगतिः।।4.17।।

Having known this, the ancient seekers of liberation also performed action; therefore do thou also perform action as the ancients did in former times. (IV-15). What is action? What is inaction? As to this even the wise are confused. Therefore, I will explain to thee what action is, by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from its evil effect (worldly bondage). (IV-16). The truth about actions must be known and the truth about forbidden action also must be known; even so the truth about inaction must be known; for mysterious is the nature of action. (IV-17)

The results in this world are attained most rapidly through action. Having known this, the ancient seekers of liberation also performed action. In the same way you will be performing actions, but you must clearly understand the concept of action, inaction and forbidden action.

It is interesting to note that a misunderstanding of action led to the corruption of the division of social activities into a rigid caste system in Hinduism. This is the evil effect of misunderstanding of scriptures that have immense power.

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कर्मण्यकर्मयःपश्येदकर्मणिचकर्मयः।सबुद्धिमान्मनुष्येषुसयुक्तःकृत्स्नकर्मकृत्।।4.18।।
यस्यसर्वेसमारम्भाःकामसङ्कल्पवर्जिताः।ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणंतमाहुःपण्डितंबुधाः।।4.19।।
त्यक्त्वाकर्मफलासङ्गंनित्यतृप्तोनिराश्रयः।कर्मण्यभिप्रवृत्तोऽपिनैवकिञ्चित्करोतिसः।।4.20।।

He, who sees inaction in action and action in inaction, is wise among men, he is a Yogi and he has performed all his duties. (IV-18). He whose undertakings are all free from self-centered projections of the mind and desire and whose actions are burnt in the fire of wisdom, him the seer call wise. (IV-19). Having abandoned attachment to actions and their fruit ever content, without any kind of dependence he does nothing though fully engaged in action. (IV-20)

When one is not attached, the actions flow naturally according to universal principles. Such actions are effortless because they are free from self-centered projections of the mind and desire.  Thus, there is no dependence, and it is as good as doing nothing (inaction) while being fully engaged in the happenings (action). 

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निराशीर्यतचित्तात्मात्यक्तसर्वपरिग्रहः।शारीरंकेवलंकर्मकुर्वन्नाप्नोतिकिल्बिषम्।।4.21।।यदृच्छालाभसन्तुष्टोद्वन्द्वातीतोविमत्सरः।समःसिद्धावसिद्धौचकृत्वापिननिबध्यते।।4.22।।गतसङ्गस्यमुक्तस्यज्ञानावस्थितचेतसः।यज्ञायाचरतःकर्मसमग्रंप्रविलीयते।।4.23।।

Having no desires, with his mind and body fully subdued, giving up all sort of possessions, even performing action necessary only for the maintenance of the body, a karmayogī incurs no sin. (IV-21). Content with what comes to him without desire for fruit, free from the pairs of opposites and envy, even-minded in success and failure, ever though acting, he is not bound. (IV-22). All the actions of a man who is devoid of attachment, who is liberated, whose mind is established in knowledge, who works for the sake of sacrifice, are dissolved. (IV-23)

When one totally is detached, one has become an instrument through whom the nature is operating. Of course, that “instrument” needs to be maintained according to its nature. As mind becomes established in the knowledge of nature, and self-interests are sacrificed for the sake of welfare of the world, there comes about harmony, contentment and equanimity that is not bound by actions. 

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ब्रह्मार्पणंब्रह्महविर्ब्रह्माग्नौब्रह्मणाहुतम्।ब्रह्मैवतेनगन्तव्यंब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना।।4.24।।

For him the ladle with which offering is made is Brahma, the fire is Brahma, the act of offering oblation is Brahma. By Brahma in the form of sacrificer is the oblation poured  into the fire of Brahma. Brahma shall be attained by him who is absorbed in Brahma as the act of such sacrifice. (IV-24)

Ultimate harmony is achieved when everything becomes the pure experience and expression of the innate impulse (Brahma).

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दैवमेवापरेयज्ञंयोगिनःपर्युपासते।ब्रह्माग्नावपरेयज्ञंयज्ञेनैवोपजुह्वति।।4.25।।श्रोत्रादीनीन्द्रियाण्यन्येसंयमाग्निषुजुह्वति।शब्दादीन्विषयानन्यइन्द्रियाग्निषुजुह्वति।।4.26।।सर्वाणीन्द्रियकर्माणिप्राणकर्माणिचापरे।आत्मसंयमयोगाग्नौजुह्वतिज्ञानदीपिते।।4.27।।द्रव्ययज्ञास्तपोयज्ञायोगयज्ञास्तथापरे।स्वाध्यायज्ञानयज्ञाश्चयतयःसंशितव्रताः।।4.28।।अपानेजुह्वतिप्राणप्राणेऽपानंतथाऽपरे।प्राणापानगतीरुद्ध्वाप्राणायामपरायणाः।।4.29।।अपरेनियताहाराःप्राणान्प्राणेषुजुह्वति।सर्वेऽप्येतेयज्ञविदोयज्ञक्षपितकल्मषाः।।4.30।।

Some Yogis perform sacrifice to God alone; while others offer the self as sacrifice by the self in the fire of the supreme. (IV-25). Some offer hearing and other senses as sacrifice into the fires of restraint; others offer sound and other objects of sense in the fires of sense. (IV-26). Some others again offer (sacrifice) all the functions of the senses and those of breath (vital energy) into the fire of the Yoga of self restraint, kindled by knowledge. (IV-27). Others again offer as sacrifice their wealth or their austerities or their Yoga while others of self restraint and rigid vows offer study of the scriptures and knowledge as sacrifice. (IV-28). Others offer as sacrifice the outgoing breath in the incoming, and the incoming in the outgoing, restraining the course of the outgoing and the incoming breaths, solely absorbed in the restraint of the breath. (IV-29). Others who regulate their diet offer life-breaths in life-breaths. All these are knowers of sacrifice and by sacrifice have their sins destroyed. (IV-30)

To attain the union with Brahma (the innate impulse) different methods of sacrifice are followed as referenced above.

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यज्ञशिष्टामृतभुजोयान्तिब्रह्मसनातनम्।नायंलोकोऽस्त्ययज्ञस्यकुतो़ऽन्यःकुरुसत्तम।।4.31।।एवंबहुविधायज्ञावितताब्रह्मणोमुखे।कर्मजान्विद्धितान्सर्वानेवंज्ञात्वाविमोक्ष्यसे।।4.32।।

Those who eat the sacred food that remains after a sacrifice, attain to the eternal Absolute; this world is not for him who performs no sacrifice; how then can he have any other world, O best of the Kurus (Arjuna)? (IV-31). Thus many forms of sacrifice are spread out in the face of Brahma (the Vedas). Know them all as born of action and thus knowing, thou shalt be liberated. (IV-32)

You cannot have a world unless you sacrifice and live with what remains. There are many forms of sacrifice but they are all born out of selfless action.

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श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयाद्यज्ञाज्ज्ञानयज्ञःपरन्तप।सर्वंकर्माखिलंपार्थज्ञानेपरिसमाप्यते।।4.33।।तद्विद्धिप्रणिपातेनपरिप्रश्नेनसेवया।उपदेक्ष्यन्तितेज्ञानंज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिनः।।4.34।।

Knowledge as a sacrifice is superior to any material sacrifice, O harasser of the foes (Arjuna). All actions in their entirety, O Arjuna, culminate in knowledge. (IV-33). Learn that by prostration (humble reverence), by question and by service; the wise who have realized the truth will instruct thee in (that) knowledge. (IV-34)

Sacrifice in the form of knowledge is superior to any material sacrifice because all actions culminate in knowledge (experience). For this sacrifice one must question with a sincere attitude full of reverence and service.   

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यज्ज्ञात्वानपुनर्मोहमेवंयास्यसिपाण्डव।येनभूतान्यशेषेणद्रक्ष्यस्यात्मन्यथोमयि।।4.35।।अपिचेदसिपापेभ्यःसर्वेभ्यःपापकृत्तमः।सर्वंज्ञानप्लवेनैववृजिनंसन्तरिष्यसि।।4.36।।

When thou hast known it, thou shalt not, O Arjuna, again get deluded like this; and by that thou shalt see all beings without exception in the self and then in Me. (IV-35). Even if thou art the most sinful of all sinners, thou shalt undoubtedly cross all sins by the boat of knowledge (wisdom) alone. (IV-36)

Once you know you no longer get deluded in that area, and you start to acquire a broadening viewpoint until you reach the universal viewpoint. You thus overcome the effects of even the worst of your sins.

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यथैधांसिसमिद्धोऽग्निर्भस्मसात्कुरुतेऽर्जुन।ज्ञानाग्निःसर्वकर्माणिभस्मसात्कुरुतेतथा।।4.37।।

As the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, even so does the fire of knowledge all actions to ashes. (IV-37)

A broadening viewpoint helps you overcome ignorance and correct errors.

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नहिज्ञानेनसदृशंपवित्रमिहविद्यते।तत्स्वयंयोगसंसिद्धःकालेनात्मनिविन्दति।।4.38।।

Verily, there is no purifier in this world like knowledge. He who becomes perfected in Yoga finds it in the self in course of time. (IV-38)

Knowledge is the ultimate purifier.

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श्रद्धावाँल्लभतेज्ञानंतत्परःसंयतेन्द्रियः।ज्ञानंलब्ध्वापरांशान्तिमचिरेणाधिगच्छति।।4.39।।

He who has faith, who is devoid to it (i.e., knowledge) and who has subdued his senses, gains knowledge (wisdom) and having gained knowledge he attains at once the supreme peace. (IV-39)

The purification brings about peace.

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अज्ञश्चाश्रद्दधानश्चसंशयात्माविनश्यति।नायंलोकोऽस्तिनपरोनसुखंसंशयात्मनः।।4.40।।

The man who is devoid of discriminative insight, who has no faith, who is of a doubting nature, perishes. For the doubting soul there is neither this world nor the world beyond, nor any happiness. (IV-40)

As long as there is doubt there is something to be clarified.

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योगसंन्यस्तकर्माणंज्ञानसंछिन्नसंशयम्।आत्मवन्तंनकर्माणिनिबध्नन्तिधनञ्जय।।4.41।।

He who has renounced all actions by Yoga, whose doubts have been destroyed by knowledge and who is self-possessed—actions do not bind him, O winner of wealth (Arjuna). (IV-41)

Yoga helps you renounce all actions, Knowledge helps you overcome all doubts.

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तस्मादज्ञानसंभूतंहृत्स्थंज्ञानासिनाऽऽत्मनः।छित्त्वैनंसंशयंयोगमातिष्ठोत्तिष्ठभारत।।4.42।।

Therefore, having cut as under with the sword of knowledge (wisdom) this doubt in thy heart that is born of ignorance, resort to Yoga and stand up (for the fight), O Bhārata (Arjuna), (IV-42)

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THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Chapter 3

Reference: The Bhagavad Gita

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Chapter 3 Summary

(1) All aspects of Yoga go hand in hand. Jnana yoga is not devoid of action and Karma yoga is not devoid of renunciation. Only the spheres of activity are different.

(2) Don’t just sit and think. Let actions flow naturally from well controlled thinking.

(3) Well-controlled thinking means all senses under control without any attachments or fixations.

(4) Perform your allotted duty. This includes maintaining your body properly.

(5) The nature provides us with everything to sustain ourselves; and we must do everything to sustain the nature back.

(6) Yajna (sacrifice) means the performance of duty in order to foster and nourish other people for their advancements.

(7) A person who is complete in himself is extroverted and does not need to act for any self-interests.

(8) Whatever such a person does, sets an example for others to follow. Therefore, such actions must be done to inspire others.

(9) Such actions actually flow out by the modes of nature. There is no doer. This is the universal principle.

(10) Natural actions have discriminative insight, which is free from desire, the sense of mine and mental strain. 

(11) Passions, which generate attachment and aversions, are impressed upon a  person’s senses corrupting his nature.

(12) This desire, motivated by the basic impulse, overpowers the knowledge and discernment of the wisest among man. 

(13) To conquer desire, you have to conquer yourself.  It is not easy, but it must be done in a manner that is free of strain.

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CHAPTER 3

अर्जुनउवाच:
ज्यायसीचेत्कर्मणस्तेमताबुद्धिर्जनार्दन।तत्किंकर्मणिघोरेमांनियोजयसिकेशव।।3.1।व्यामिश्रेणेववाक्येनबुद्धिंमोहयसीवमे।तदेकंवदनिश्िचत्ययेनश्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम्।।3.2।।

Arjuna said:
If you think knowledge is superior to action, O Janardana (Krishna), why then do you urge me to do this savage deed, O Kesava (Krishna), (III-1). With an apparently confused utterance you seem to bewilder my mind; therefore, tell me definitely the one principle by which I may attain the highest good or bliss, (III-2)

I think Jnana yoga is a steep climb. Karma Yoga provides a ladder.

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श्रीभगवानुवाच:
लोकेऽस्मिन्द्विविधानिष्ठापुराप्रोक्तामयानघ।ज्ञानयोगेनसांख्यानांकर्मयोगेनयोगिनाम्।।3.3।।नकर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यंपुरुषोऽश्नुते।नचसंन्यसनादेवसिद्धिंसमधिगच्छति।।3.4।।

The blessed Lord said:
O sinless Arjuna, in this world a twofold path has been enunciated by Me before, the path of Knowledge for men of renunciation (Sankhya Yogi) and the path of Action for men of action (Karma Yogi), (III-3). Not by non-performance of actions does a man attain actionlessness; nor by mere renunciation does he attain perfection, (III-4).

Both Jnana Yoga (path of Knowledge) and Karma Yoga (path of Action) overlap each other. Only the focus is different.

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नहिकश्िचत्क्षणमपिजातुतिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत्।कार्यतेह्यवशःकर्मसर्वःप्रकृतिजैर्गुणैः।।3.5।।
कर्मेन्द्रियाणिसंयम्ययआस्तेमनसास्मरन्।इन्द्रियार्थान्विमूढात्मामिथ्याचारःसउच्यते।।3.6।।यस्त्विन्द्रियाणिमनसानियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन।कर्मेन्द्रियैःकर्मयोगमसक्तःसविशिष्यते।।3.7।।

For no one can remain even for a moment without performing action; everyone is made to act hopelessly by the impulses born of nature, (III-5). He who, restraining the organs of action, sits thinking of the sense objects in mind, he of deluded understanding is said to be a hypocrite, (III-6). But he who controlling the senses of the mind, O Arjuna, engages in the path of action with all the organs of action and sense, without attachment is superior, (III-7)

Here we have the innate impulse that is manifested as energy. This energy has to be directed intelligently. It cannot be avoided, denied, resisted or suppressed. Because, if you do that, your attention will get fixated on it. You must direct it through intelligent action, which is performed without attachment.

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नियतंकुरुकर्मत्वंकर्मज्यायोह्यकर्मणः।शरीरयात्रापिचतेनप्रसिद्ध्येदकर्मणः।।3.8।।यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्रलोकोऽयंकर्मबन्धनः।तदर्थंकर्मकौन्तेयमुक्तसंगःसमाचर।।3.9।।

Do thou perform thy allotted duty, for action is superior to inaction and even the maintenance of the body would not be possible for thee by inaction, (III-8). The world is bound by actions other than those performed for the sake sacrifice. Therefore, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), perform action for that sake becoming free from all attachment, (III-9).

Only those actions do not bind you, which are performed as a sacrifice. Such actions are done without self-interest keeping the welfare of everybody and the environment in mind. This is the definition of “action without attachment”.

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सहयज्ञाःप्रजाःसृष्ट्वापुरोवाचप्रजापतिः।अनेनप्रसविष्यध्वमेषवोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक्।।3.10।।देवान्भावयतानेनतेदेवाभावयन्तुवः।परस्परंभावयन्तःश्रेयःपरमवाप्स्यथ।।3.11।।

At the beginning of creation the Creator created mankind attended with sacrifice and said, “By this shall ye propagate; let this provide you all the necessary requisites for sacrifice, (III-10). By this foster ye the gods and let the gods foster you; thus fostering each other you shall attain to the supreme good, (III-11).

Here we have the theory of EXCHANGE. The nature provides us with everything to sustain ourselves; and we must do everything to sustain the nature back. We have to take responsibility for our ecosystem. This includes other human beings as well. If we do not include the welfare of others in our actions we are not going to survive well.

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इष्टान्भोगान्हिवोदेवादास्यन्तेयज्ञभाविताः।तैर्दत्तानप्रदायैभ्योयोभुङ्क्तेस्तेनएवसः।।3.12।।
यज्ञशिष्टाशिनःसन्तोमुच्यन्तेसर्वकिल्बिषैः।भुञ्जतेतेत्वघंपापायेपचन्त्यात्मकारणात्।।3.13।।

Fostered by sacrifice the gods will give you all the necessary ingredients. He who enjoys these objects without utilizing them in the service of others, is verily a thief, (III-12). The righteous who eat the remnants of the sacrifice are released from all sins; but those sinful ones who cook food for their own sake verily eat sin, (III-13).

The Vedic ritual of yajna is symbolism for sacrifice, which means acting without self-interest keeping the welfare of everybody and the environment in mind. Those who do so are released from all sin. Those who act with self-interest only incur sin. These verses tell us what keeps one enmeshed in rebirth cycle. These are the actions motivated by self-interest and not done with the welfare of other aspect of life in mind. Here we have the broad morality that rises to the level of a universal principle.

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अन्नाद्भवन्तिभूतानिपर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः।यज्ञाद्भवतिपर्जन्योयज्ञःकर्मसमुद्भवः।।3.14।।कर्मब्रह्मोद्भवंविद्धिब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम्।तस्मात्सर्वगतंब्रह्मनित्यंयज्ञेप्रतिष्ठितम्।।3.15।।

From food creatures come into being; from rain food is produced; from sacrifices arises rain and sacrifice is born of action, (III-14). Know thou that action has its origin in Brahma (the Veda) and Brahma springs from the imperishable. Therefore, the all-pervading infinite (God) ever rests in sacrifice, (III-15).

Here we have a bit of science. The ecosystem maintains its balance in a large part by actions of Man. It is the natural impulse in Man to act without self-interest keeping the welfare of everybody and the environment in mind. Therefore, it is unnatural not to follow this impulse, and that has consequences.

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एवंप्रवर्तितंचक्रंनानुवर्तयतीहयः।अघायुरिन्द्रियारामोमोघंपार्थसजीवति।।3.16।।यस्त्वात्मरतिरेवस्यादात्मतृप्तश्चमानवः।आत्मन्येवचसन्तुष्टस्तस्यकार्यंनविद्यते।।3.17।।नैवतस्यकृतेनार्थोनाकृतेनेहकश्चन।नचास्यसर्वभूतेषुकश्िचदर्थव्यपाश्रयः।।3.18।।

He, who does not, in this world, follow the wheel thus set in motion, who is of sinful nature, sensual in his delight, live in vain, (III-16). But for that man who rejoices only in the self, who is satisfied with the self and who is content in the self alone, verily there exists no work that needs to be done, (III-17). For him there is no interest whatsoever in performance of an action, or its non-performance, nor does he depend on any creature for any interest of his. (III-18).

A person should be complete in oneself so that he does not have to depend on others emotionally or otherwise. Sinful nature is quite dependent, as it is introverted, acts for its own interests, and engaged in sensual delights for distraction. A person who is complete in himself is extroverted and does not need to act for himself.

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तस्मादसक्तःसततंकार्यंकर्मसमाचर।असक्तोह्याचरन्कर्मपरमाप्नोतिपूरुषः।।3.19।।कर्मणैवहिसंसिद्धिमास्थिताजनकादयः।लोकसंग्रहमेवापिसंपश्यन्कर्तुमर्हसि।।3.20।।

Therefore, even without attachment, perform duty bound action efficiently that has to be done; for by performing action without attachment man attains the Supreme, (III-19). It was by action alone that Janaka and others attained perfection. Thou shouldst perform selfless action also for the welfare of the world, (III-20).

It is your duty to act. Carry out your actions selflessly for the sake of the welfare of the world. 

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यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः। स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते।।3.21।।
न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन। नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि।।3.22।।

Whatsoever a great man does, the same is done by others as well. Whatever standards he sets, the world follows the same, (III-21). There is nothing in the three worlds, O Arjuna, that should be done by Me, nor is there unattained that should be attained; yet I engage Myself in action, (III-22).

Even when you are not compelled to do anything, nor anything is left for you to attain, you must continue to act, because you may set standards for others to follow.

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यदिह्यहंनवर्तेयंजातुकर्मण्यतन्द्रितः।ममवर्त्मानुवर्तन्तेमनुष्याःपार्थसर्वशः।।3.23।।उत्सीदेयुरिमेलोकानकुर्यांकर्मचेदहम्।सङ्करस्यचकर्तास्यामुपहन्यामिमाःप्रजाः।।3.24।।

For were I not to act without ceasing, O Arjuna, people would be glad to do likewise, (III-23). And if I were to refrain from action, the human race would be ruined; I should lead the world to chaos, and destruction would follow, (III-24).

Actions must be performed to evolve this world forward, else it would decline and perish.

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सक्ताःकर्मण्यविद्वांसोयथाकुर्वन्तिभारत।कुर्याद्विद्वांस्तथासक्तश्िचकीर्षुर्लोकसंग्रहम्।।3.25।।नबुद्धिभेदंजनयेदज्ञानांकर्मसङ्गिनाम्।जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणिविद्वान्युक्तःसमाचरन्।।3.26।।

As the ignorant men act from attachment to action, O Bharata (Arjuna), so should the wise act without attachment, wishing the welfare of the world, (III-25). Let no wise man established in the self unsettle the minds of ignorant people who are attached to action; he should set others to act, himself performing his duties with devotion, (III-26).

Do not not perturb the minds of those, who are attached to action; instead inspire them with your non-attached actions.

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प्रकृतेःक्रियमाणानिगुणैःकर्माणिसर्वशः।अहङ्कारविमूढात्माकर्ताऽहमितिमन्यते।।3.27।।

All actions are performed in all cases by the modes of nature. He whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks, “I am the doer.” (III-27)

The environment, the mind and the body work together as a natural system to produce action. There is no “I” determining the actions. That “I” may be like a “center of mass” of an object, but it is theoretical and not real.

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तत्त्ववित्तुमहाबाहोगुणकर्मविभागयोः।गुणागुणेषुवर्तन्तइतिमत्वासज्जते।।3.28।।

Having the true knowledge of the respective spheres of modes and actions, the great soul does not get attached with them, O mighty armed, by holding that it is modes which are moving among the modes. (III-28)

There are patterns within patterns and actions and reactions. This complicated procedure is performed naturally through associations in the data matrix of the mind. Only problem is that this data matrix may get corrupted by past karmas (violation of universal principles) and traumas.

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प्रकृतेर्गुणसम्मूढाःसज्जन्तेगुणकर्मसु।तानकृत्स्नविदोमन्दान्कृत्स्नविन्नविचालयेत्।।3.29।।

Those who are deluded by the modes of nature remain attached to those modes and actions. The man of perfect knowledge should not unsettle the minds of the ignorant who know only a little. (III-29)

The wise people should not distract the faith or conviction or belief of ignorant persons who are attached to the world. If they unsettle their minds they will give up actions and become victims of inertia. The wise ones should turn the minds of the ignorant by giving them gradual instructions on Karma Yoga (Yoga of selfless action) and its benefits.

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मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा। निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः।।3.30।।
ये मे मतमिदं नित्यमनुतिष्ठन्ति मानवाः। श्रद्धावन्तोऽनसूयन्तो मुच्यन्ते तेऽपि कर्मभिः।।3.31।।
ये त्वेतदभ्यसूयन्तो नानुतिष्ठन्ति मे मतम्। सर्वज्ञानविमूढांस्तान्विद्धि नष्टानचेतसः।।3.32।।

Surrendering all actions to Me, with the discriminative insight being free from desire, the sense of mine and mental strain, do your duty of waging the war. (III-30). These men who constantly follow the teaching of Mine as declared in the previous verse with faith and without caviling, are also released from the bondage of actions. (III-31). But those who Carp at My teaching and do not follow it, deluded of all knowledge, and devoid of discrimination, know them to be doomed to destruction, (III-32)

These verses simply exhort a person to do his duty selflessly. The person should not allow his desire, the sense of mine, or mental agitation to interfere in the execution of his duty. These verses beseech the person to have faith in this teaching.

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सदृशंचेष्टतेस्वस्याःप्रकृतेर्ज्ञानवानपि।प्रकृतिंयान्तिभूतानिनिग्रहःकिंकरिष्यति।।3.33।।इन्द्रियस्येन्द्रियस्यार्थेरागद्वेषौव्यवस्थितौ।तयोर्नवशमागच्छेत्तौह्यस्यपरिपन्थिनौ।।3.34।।श्रेयान्स्वधर्मोविगुणःपरधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात्।स्वधर्मेनिधनंश्रेयःपरधर्मोभयावहः।।3.35।।

Even a wise man acts in accordance with his own nature. Beings follow their nature. What can restraint do? (III-33). Attachment and aversion for the objects of the senses abide in the senses. Let no one come under their sway, for they are his waylayers (foes), (III-34). Better is one’s own duty, though devoid of merit, than the duty of another well discharged. Better is death in one’s own duty; the duty of another is fraught with fear (is dangerous), (III-35)

Again, performing of one’s own duty is emphasized and not just any duty. In other words, a person should follow his own nature in what he must do, without letting his senses distract him.

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अर्जुन उवाच:
अथकेनप्रयुक्तोऽयंपापंचरतिपूरुषः।अनिच्छन्नपिवार्ष्णेयबलादिवनियोजितः।।3.36।।

Arjuna said:
But by what is a man impelled to commit a sin, as if by force, even against his will. O Varsneya (Krsna)? (III-36)

That is a very intelligent question because man is impelled to commit sin against his nature. There must be something that overpowers a person’s very nature.

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श्रीभगवानुवाच:
कामएषक्रोधएषरजोगुणसमुद्भवः।महाशनोमहापाप्माविद्ध्येनमिहवैरिणम्।।3.37।।

The blessed Lord said:
It is desire, it is wrath, born of the mode of passion, all devouring and most sinful. Know this to be the enemy here. (III-37)

The flaw in man must go quite deep to overpower his nature. Therefore, desire in man is something very natural but, somehow, it gets corrupted and misdirected.

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धूमेनाव्रियतेवह्निर्यथाऽऽदर्शोमलेनच।यथोल्बेनावृतोगर्भस्तथातेनेदमावृतम्।।3.38।।आवृतंज्ञानमेतेनज्ञानिनोनित्यवैरिणा।कामरूपेणकौन्तेयदुष्पूरेणानलेनच।।3.39।।

As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror by dust, and as an embryo by placenta, so is this (knowledge) covered by that (desire). (III-38). O Arjuna, wisdom is enveloped by this constant enemy of the wise (discerning soul) in the form of desire which is insatiable like fire. (III-39).

This desire, motivated by the basic impulse, overpowers the knowledge and discernment in man. This is an insatiable enemy that  even the wisest is faced with.

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इन्द्रियाणि मनो बुद्धिरस्याधिष्ठानमुच्यते। एतैर्विमोहयत्येष ज्ञानमावृत्य देहिनम्।।3.40।।
तस्मात्त्वमिन्द्रियाण्यादौ नियम्य भरतर्षभ। पाप्मानं प्रजहि ह्येनं ज्ञानविज्ञाननाशनम्।।3.41।।

The senses, the mind and the intellect are said to be its seat. Veiling wisdom by these (senses, mind and intellect), it deludes the embodied (soul). (III-40). Therefore, O best of Bharatas (Arjuna), controlling the senses first, slay this sinful destroyer of wisdom and realization. (III-41).

Desire precipitates through senses. Therefore, senses must be controlled first.

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इन्द्रियाणिपराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्यःपरंमनः।मनसस्तुपराबुद्धिर्योबुद्धेःपरतस्तुसः।।3.42।।एवंबुद्धेःपरंबुद्ध्वासंस्तभ्यात्मानमात्मना।जहिशत्रुंमहाबाहोकामरूपंदुरासदम्।।3.43।।

They say that the senses are greater (than the gross body); greater (excellent, powerful, illuminator, extensive and subtle) than the senses is the mind; greater than the mind is the intellect, but greater than the intellect is that (the desire). (III-42). Thus knowing that desire is beyond intellect, subduing the self by the self, slay thou, O mighty-armed (Arjuna), the tough enemy in the form of desire which is hard to conquer. (III-43)

Desire is beyond the senses, mind and intellect. It is at the very heart of self. To conquer desire, self has to conquer itself. It is not easy, but it has to be done.

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