Category Archives: Religion

Glossary for Bhagavad Gita

Reference: The Bhagavad Gita

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


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.

The one self-existent Spirit, the Absolute. This is the highest metaphysical reality. More practically, Brahma represents the innate impulse that constitutes 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. The term “God” may be used for BRAHMA.

Ātman means, “essence, nature, character, peculiarity”. In this general sense it applies to anything animate or inanimate. In a popular sense, it refers to the abstract essence of an individual. Pure ātman is totally in tune with nature and it is good. The embodied ātman (jivātman) acquires samskāra (impressions in the form of mind acquired through action and experience). These samskāra are carried forward from one life to the next. This brings about evolution. The embodied ātman is what we know as self. The self is essentially activated impressions. The disembodied ātman is non-active impressions that are being carried forward. (see The Bhagavad Gita, verse II:28).

The supreme or universal ātman that is that is the essence of nature and it is universal. See ĀTMAN. The term “God” may be used for PARAMĀTMAN.

The embodied ātman. It is also referred to as dehin. See ĀTMAN.

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. The term “God” may be used for BHAGAVĀN.

Īśvará means, “one who is capable of”, It is used for master, lord, prince, king, mistress, and queen. It may be used for paramātman or “God”.

(8) “I” or “ME” (used by Krishna)
This is the universal 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.

See “I” or “ME” (used by Krishna)

(10) SELF
The word self refers to viewpoint. Some use “self” (lower case) for the human viewpoint, and “Self” (upper case) for the universal viewpoint.

A viewpoint is the frame of reference that a person is using. It is made up of that person’s considerations.

(12) “I”
The viewpoint, identity and individuality of jivatman (embodied atman)

Ātman that carries mental impressions never perishes. It is everlasting (Verse 2:12-13).

Mental impressions generated by sense-objects, and carried by ātman, are temporary and forever changing (Verse 2:14).

Immortality lies in not being fixated on the mental impressions of sense-objects (Verse 2:15).

The objectivity of observation lies in recognizing what is there and what is not (Verse 2:16).



Reference: The Bhagavad Gita


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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.


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.


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.


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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


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


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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.


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)



Reference: The Bhagavad Gita



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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. 



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.



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.



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). 



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. 



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).



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.



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.



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.   



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.



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


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)


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


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)


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)



Reference: The Bhagavad Gita



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.



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.



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.



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”.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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. 


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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.


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.



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.


अर्जुन उवाच:

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.



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.



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.


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.



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.


The Bhagavad Gita

Reference: Religion

The Bhagavad Gita, often referred to as the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the epic Mahabharata. The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna.

A quick reference to translations of a verse of Gita from different sources may be obtained at



0. THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Introduction






20. Sanskrit Dictionary 1

21. Sanskrit Dictionary 2

22. Glossary of Spiritual Terms

23. Glossary for Bhagavad Gita