Karma Yoga is one of the prime lessons that Lord Krishna gave to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Accordingly, Karma Yoga by Krishna is nothing but working or discharging one’s duties in the service of the Lord.
The concept of Karma Yoga states that to perform the duties that are given to us based on our material position, we need to perform our duties without any attachment to the result. That is, no matter how challenging it is, we need to discharge our duties considering that these have been given to us by the Lord.
One must remember that human life is a chance given to us to cleanse our hearts by performing sacrifices for the service of the Lord so that we can go back to the kingdom of God.
People who choose inaction commit the biggest sin for they are going against the very purpose for which we are sent on this planet. The purpose of human life is to seek God and that can be realized only when we perform our duties in his service without any attachment to result, without claiming to be the proprietors ourselves, and free from all the laziness.
It is because performing the actions that have been given to us helps us purify our soul and puts us on the path of Self-Realization which eventually leads to seeking the Lord.
In this article, you will learn what is Karma Yoga according to Bhagavad Gita, Karma Yoga Jnana Yoga Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga Philosophy, the essence of Karma Yoga, and Karma Yoga By Krishna.
Karma in Bhagavad Gita
Verse 1, Verse 2, Verse 3, And Verse 4: No One Can Attain Kingdom of God By Quitting Duty Nor By Abandoning Material Life
Seeing his grandfathers, teachers, and brothers on the opposite side in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Arjuna is disturbed and refuses to fight. He thinks that quitting the battlefield and resorting to begging by becoming a sage is any day better than fighting against his relatives.
This is because Arjuna misunderstands the concept of working in the service of the Lord, that is, consciousness or self-realization. He thinks that withdrawing from the battlefield, taking a private corner, and enchanting the name of Krishna throughout life is what is conscious living.
He takes this to be the spiritual advancement of knowledge. Furthermore, he believes that retiring from active life and following strict rituals as mentioned in the scriptures privately is what is consciousness.
Basically, Arjuna wanted to avoid fighting by using this understanding of consciousness as an excuse that Lord Krishna condemned by explaining to him the concept of Karma Yoga.
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Karma Yoga By Krishna
According to Gita Karma Yoga, abandoning material life is acceptable only when one has performed the duty given to him according to his material position, that is, soldier, doctor, entrepreneur, sage, etc.
These duties are given to material men so that by performing them, they are able to purify their hearts. Therefore, without discharging one’s given duties, such purification of the heart cannot take place. And without such purification, men cannot achieve success by suddenly resorting to renouncing life.
It is commonly understood that retiring from one’s given duties that are typically results-oriented and renouncing life, one can become as good as the Lord himself.
But according to Karma Yoga by Krishna, this principle of living life does not exist. Lord Krishna says that without performing one’s duties, that is, without purifying one’s heart, renouncing life is just a disturbance in the social order.
Thus, contrary to the common belief, simply retiring from work and renouncing life cannot make you seek the truth, that is, the supreme power.
Verse 5: No One Can Escape From Performing His Duty, Not Even For a Single Moment
As per Gita Karma Yoga, one must always remember that you are not your material body but your soul. In other words, without the spirit soul, the material body is just a dead corpse for it is the spirit soul that makes your body move.
Now, this spirit soul is always active and cannot stop even for a single moment. Therefore, this being the nature of the spirit soul, it must always be working or engaged in the service of the Lord.
If it is not engaged in the good work of the consciousness, it will get entangled in the work that is imposed by the material world. Once the spirit soul gets impacted by the material energy, it takes various material forms.
Thus, to purify the spirit soul from such material attachment, it is mandatory to perform the duties given to men according to their qualities. As per Krishna Karma Yoga, if you perform your duty consciously, taking it as if it is given to you by the Lord, even if you are not able to carry out your duties properly, no evil can cause harm to you.
However, if you only carry out the rituals mentioned in the scriptures to purify your soul without carrying out your duty in consciousness, it would not do any good to you.
Therefore, performing one’s duties leads to purification of the soul and such purification is necessary to achieve consciousness, self-realization, and ultimately the supreme power.
Verse 6: You Are A Pretender If You Prevent Your Senses of Action But Your Mind Is Still Fixed On The Material Objects
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that there are many people who act as pretenders. These pretenders are the ones who show the world that they are into meditation. However, their mind is actually fixated on doing things for a material sense enjoyment.
Such people speak about the spirit soul and material body to cheat their followers. As per Karma Yoga by Krishna, if you perform your duties consciously given to you according to your material position, you are put on the path of purification of your heart.
But if you try to be a sage and at the same time seek material satisfaction, you are the greatest cheater, even though if you talk about philosophical things like spirit soul being your very identity rather than your material body.
Furthermore, such a person will always have an impure mind and thus his knowledge and his display of meditation would hold no value.
Verse 7: An Honest Man Who Tries To Control His Senses And Practices Karma Yoga Without Any Attachment To The Material World Is The One Who Is Superior
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that there is no point in becoming a fake spiritualist who portrays to meditate but in the mind is fixated on doing work for a sense of enjoyment. It is much better to execute one’s own duties and seek the purpose of life which is to free oneself from all the materialities and seek the kingdom of God.
The ultimate purpose of all human life is to seek the supreme or Lord Krishna. He further says that a soldier like Arjuna can achieve this purpose by working in service of Krishna, that is, working in pure consciousness by realizing Self.
As per the scriptures, in order to gain self-realization, one needs to live a controlled life and continue performing his duties without any attachment to the material world. An honest man who adopts this path is far better placed as compared to a pretender who portrays to be a spiritualist just to seek the common people.
According to Krishna Karma Yoga, a sweeper in the street is far better than a fake meditator who meditates only for earning a living.
Verse 8: Do Your Duty For It Is Far Better Than Not Working. You Cannot Even Maintain Your Physical Body If You Do Not Work.
As mentioned above, there are many fake spiritualists who portray themselves to be belonging to a royal bloodline. They are false meditators who cheat innocent men by portraying that they have given up everything in life for spiritual advancement.
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that he does not want him to become one of such pretenders. Instead, he wanted Arjuna to perform his duty as a soldier.
According to the qualities of material nature, Arjuna was a military General and it was better for him to discharge his duties as a soldier. This would eventually purify his heart and liberate him from all the material impurities.
Giving up on life for maintaining one’s material body is not suggested by Krishna Karma Yoga and is therefore not recommended by any of the scriptures. In order to maintain your physical body, you would have to do some work.
You cannot give up on work abruptly without cleansing your heart through performing one’s duty. Whosoever is part of the material world is certainly materially contaminated. It is because he gets impacted by the material world and does work to satisfy his material senses.
As per Karma Yoga Gita, such material tendencies need to be done away with. This can only be achieved if you perform your duties given to you as per your material position.
Therefore, one should never try to become a spiritualist by giving up work and becoming a drag on the other people via living at the cost of them.
Verse 9: If You Want To Be Free From The Bondage of the Material World, You Must Perform Your Duty For Satisfaction of The Lord and Not For Your Own Material Satisfaction.
We are given our duties based on our material position and we need to perform these duties in order to maintain our physical body. The duties are such that performing them makes us achieve the purpose of life, that is, seeking the supreme power Lord Krishna.
All the sacrifices that we perform in life are done for the satisfaction of the Lord. Thus, you need to perform your work only for the satisfaction of Krishna. Any other work that you would do in this material world would make you a slave of the material life.
In other words, be it good work or bad work, each has reactions that cause material bondage. But if you perform work for the satisfaction of Krishna, it liberates you from all material bondage.
This is what is called the art of doing work which initially requires an expert to guide you to perform work in such a manner. Thus, it is advised to work sincerely under the direction of a true devotee of Krishna or directly under the guidance of Krishna himself.
Thus, everything that you do should be done for the satisfaction of Krishna and not for the satisfaction of your material senses. Doing work under such consciousness would not only set you free from the reactions of work but will also eventually put you in the service of the supreme power.
This will ultimately lead you to seek the purpose of life, that is, seeking the Lord.
Verse 10: Material Life is a Chance Given To Men and Women To Seek Truth, That is, The Supreme Power
Lord Vishnu, the creator of the material life, blessed men and women with such life so that they could take it as an opportunity to go back to the Supreme Power who created them.
As living entities, we get impacted by material life and as a result, have a tendency to forget the relationship that we share with the Lord. We forget that we are merely the servants and the Lord Vishnu is the master.
It is important to know that we are given the material form of life to discharge the duties given to us not for the satisfaction of our material senses but for the satisfaction of the Lord.
The principles have been laid down in the Vedas to help men and women understand this relationship of servant and master. We need to understand that Lord Vishnu is the creator of everything in this universe and he is the one who protects all.
He gave us this material life to learn how to perform sacrifices for the satisfaction of Lord Vishnu. And while performing these sacrifices, men and women are able to live in this material world without any fear or stress, finish their duties as given to them, and then finally seek God.
This is the whole idea of material life. Thus, by performing one’s duties, material souls can eventually become conscious, realize self, and fall on the path of spirituality.
Bhagavad Gita suggests that in the era of Kali, chanting the name of the Lord is one practice that can set free men and women from the bondage of the material world.
Verse 11: DemiGods Become Happy By Sacrifices Made By Men and Women. Thus, Such Cooperation Between Men and Demigods Brings Wellbeing For Everyone.
Demigods are the ones who have the power to control and manage all the material matters. They are the ones who provide air, water, light, and all the other resources that are necessary for maintaining all human life, that is, the body and the soul.
Demigods are like infinite assistants in different parts of the body of the Supreme Power. Their joys and disapprovals depend on the sacrifices that are performed by the living entities.
Some of the sacrifices made satisfy specific Demigods. However, in performing such sacrifices, men and women ultimately are serving Lord Vishnu. It is Vishnu or Krishna who enjoys or benefits from the sacrifices made by men and women. Thus, sacrifices are made by men and women only to satisfy Lord Vishnu.
When men and women perform the sacrifices sincerely, the different Demigods forming the various parts of the body of the Supreme Power are pleased. Therefore, they are responsible for providing different resources, become happy, and ensure that there is no scarcity in the supply of such natural resources.
Thus, performing these sacrifices have many advantages that eventually set men and women free from the bondage of the material world. When one carries out these sacrifices, every activity he or she does becomes purified.
For instance, sacrificial performances purify the food that one eats. Eating pure food leads to purifying memory. And the pure memory then can understand the path of liberation.
Therefore, putting all these together, one becomes conscious, achieves self-realization, which is extremely important to live in today’s world.
Verse 12 And Verse 13: If You Enjoy The Blessings Given To You By the Demigods By Performing the Sacrifices Perfectly, Without Offering Them To The Demigods, You Are a Thief.
As mentioned above, demigods have been given the power to supply natural resources on behalf of the Lord. Thus, they need to be pleased by performing sacrifices.
Thus, as per the different material qualities of men and women, different kinds of sacrifices need to be performed. As mentioned above, demigods are the ones who are entitled to provide us everything that we need to sustain human life.
- Food that we eat like grains, fruits, etc
- Natural elements that we require, for example, sunlight, air, water, etc.
- Raw materials that we need for our manufacturing units including metals like sulfur, mercury, etc.
All such resources have been given to us so that we use them properly to maintain our physical body, keep ourselves healthy, only for the purpose of self-realization.
As stated earlier, the goal of human life is to realize self so that one can set himself free from the bondage of the material world. Such a goal can be achieved only if we sincerely perform the sacrifices.
However, if we forget this purpose of life and utilize the resources given to us by the demigods for our own sense pleasures, we become entangled in this material world which ultimately takes us away from achieving our purpose.
Thus, we become thieves and are thus punished by this material nature. Thieves have no purpose in life. They simply undertake activities for their own material pleasures.
Verse 14: All Living Entities Survive On The Food Grains Produced By the Rains. Rains Are Showered Only When Men and Women Perform Sacrifices That Arise From The Duties Given To Them.
As mentioned earlier, the Supreme Lord is the master of all the demigods and is the one who benefits out of all sacrifices. Demigods serve as different limbs of the body of the Supreme Lord.
The demigods such as Indra, Varuna, Chandra are the ones who are appointed by the Lord himself to take care of all the material matters.
As per Vedas, one needs to perform certain sacrifices so that these demigods can be satisfied and made happy as they provide natural resources like air, sunlight, water, etc. important for the production of foodgrains.
If you chant the name of Lord Krishna, you ultimately remember these demigods as they form different parts of Lord Krishna. Hence, there is no need to worship them separately.
Men and women who are true devotees of Lord Krishna first offer food to him and then eat the food themselves. By doing so, they not only get rid of their past sins but also become free from all the impurities.
Just as a vaccine protects men and women from an epidemic, likewise, food first offered to Krishna and then consumed by men and women protects them from all material impurities.
Thus, true devotees who are on the path of realizing the conscious eat only the food that is offered to Krishna. Such devotees are able to get rid of their past sinful actions which act as obstacles on the path of self-realization.
Those who do not perform such actions prepare their body to take the form of pigs and dogs in the next life as a reaction to sinful actions committed in this life.
Therefore, one who offers food to the Lord and then consumes the offered food himself gets free from all the material impurities. Whereas, one who does not do so becomes materially contaminated.
Thus, Bhagavad Gita concludes that we need to rely on the production of the field and not the factories to maintain our physical body for realizing self. Field production takes place only with the help of sufficient natural resources like rain, air, sunlight, etc controlled by the demigods.
These servants are the Lord are satisfied only by the sacrifices made by humans. Therefore, if we do not perform these sacrifices, we will always find ourselves in the scarcity of these natural resources.
Verse 15: One Can Attain Spirituality Only By Performing Acts of Sacrifice. Vedas Describe Certain Controlled Activities and These Vedas Come From The Supreme Lord Himself.
As stated earlier, doing work for the satisfaction of the Lord only is what is suggested by Karma Yoga according to Bhagavad Gita. And if all the living entities need to carry out work in this human life for the satisfaction of the Lord Only, one must take the guidance from the Vedas.
Vedas carry the guidelines for how work needs to be done by all living entities. Any work done without such guidance is categorized as sinful. Thus, if living entities need to be free from the reaction of work, they need to act as per the direction of the Vedas.
It is said that the guidance given in the Vedas arises directly from the breath of the Lord. thus, all the core Vedas, that is, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda arise from the Lord himself.
Since the Lord is present everywhere, he has the power to speak via breathing air and bring the human form to life through his eyes. As per the scriptures, God simply gazed at the material nature and brought to life all living entities.
After bringing the living entities into existence in the womb of the material nature, he then laid out directions in the form of Vedic scriptures as to how these material entities can come back to the Lord which is their home.
As living entities, we are all desperate for seeking pleasures for material enjoyment. But the guidelines are given in the Vedas that you can meet your material desires and return to the kingdom of God after enjoying such pleasures.
Human life is given to us as an opportunity to free ourselves from the material bondage. Thus, living entities need to learn to make sacrifices consciously to be free from all material impurities.
Verse 16: One Who Does Not Follow Or Learn To Make Sacrifices in Human Life Commits A Sin. If People Live Only For The Satisfaction of Their Senses, They Are Living A Wasteful Life.
Lord Krishna disapproves of the idea of working hard for the satisfaction of material senses. If you need to enjoy this material world, you need to make sacrifices.
Lord Krishna further states that those who do not exercise self-control are leading a very dangerous life. If we go by the Law of Nature, the purpose of human life is to attain self-realization.
Self-Realization can be attained in any of the following ways:
- Karma Yoga
- Jnana Yoga
- Bhakti Yoga
These three are the subject matters of Bhagavad Gita. Those living entities who are free from the vices of the material world do not need to strictly perform the sacrifices. However, those who are stuck with doing work for the satisfaction of senses need to purify their heart by performing the sacrifices.
Now, those who are not working consciously, that is, those who are not working for the satisfaction of God but for the satisfaction of their senses are involved in sensory consciousness.
Such living entities need to do pure work without any material attachment to the result. The system of performing sacrifices is designed in such a way that these living entities who are working for their sense-enjoyment are able to fulfill their desires without getting stuck in the reaction of the sense-satisfactory work.
We need to remember that it is the Lord via the demigods is responsible for the wellness of this world and not the efforts made by the living entities. Therefore, these sacrifices are meant to please the demigods as described in the Vedas.
So in a way, when the living entities champion the performance of sacrifices, they are certain to attain consciousness. But by performing these sacrifices if still, living entities are not able to attain consciousness, that is, they are performing these sacrifices unconsciously, they are simply trying to be morally good.
Therefore, you as a living entity should not restrict yourself only up to the point of moral codes. Rather, you need to go beyond them to attain consciousness.
Verse 17 And Verse 18: One Who Lives A Life of Self-Realization Is Not Obligated To Follow The Guidelines Stated In The Vedas
A person who has achieved self-realization or who undertakes the work to satisfy the Lord does not have any duty because he is working under consciousness. All the impurities are cleansed which typically happens after performing a number of sacrifices.
Thus, with such a pure heart and under pure consciousness, the living entity is clear about his position as a servant to the Supreme Lord. So, he is not obligated to follow the Vedic principles since he is himself clear about his duty to the Supreme Lord.
Such a conscious person would not be attached to the material activities of the world. Thus, such a person does not seek satisfaction in material activities like wine, women, etc.
Verse 19: One Should Work Without Any Material Attachment To The Results Because Working In Such A Way Makes You Attain The Supreme Lord
God is the supreme power for the devotees and liberation (moksha) for the spiritualists. Any person working consciously without any attachment to the result of the work is the one who is slowly moving towards seeking the purpose of life.
Lord Krishna guides Arjuna to fight in the battlefield of Kurukshetra only for Krishna as the Lord wanted Arjuna to fight. Arjuna was getting confused between his duty and material attachment to his cousins, grandfather, and teachers whom he was supposed to fight against.
He wanted to leave the battlefield for according to him taking to non-violence and becoming a sage were the signs of becoming a good man. But Lord Krishna told Arjuna that showing compassion towards his cousin brothers, grandfather, and teachers and being non-violent was nothing but personal attachment.
He was advised to fight without any attachment to the result on behalf of Lord Krishna. Thus, according to Lord Krishna, acting on behalf of the Lord without any attachment to the result of the work is the work of the highest order.
The Vedic rituals such as performing sacrifices are done to purify oneself of all the impure activities that are undertaken to satisfy the material senses. A person who works consciously on behalf of the Lord without any attachment to the result of the work sets himself free from the reaction of the work whether the result is good or bad.
Verse 20: Even If You Have Attained Self-Realization, You Still Need To Do Your Work To Educate The Common People
Lord Krishna gives the example of King Janaka, father of Sita and father-in-law of Ram. King Janaka had attained Self-Realization and therefore had no obligation to undertake the duties as given in the Vedas.
He still performed the duties given to him in order to teach the common people. King Janaka was a true devotee of Lord Ram and thus was spiritually advanced. He still carried out his duties as he was the King of Mithila – a place in the state of Bihar in India.
This he did in order to teach his subjects how they should carry out their duties. Likewise, there was no need for Lord Krishna and Arjuna to fight in the battle of Kurukshetra but they did so in order to teach common people that there are certain situations in life when it becomes necessary to become violent as all the friendly efforts fail.
Before the battle of Kurukshetra took place, Lord Krishna along with people from Kuru Dynasty to avoid the war. But, the other side was determined to fight.
Therefore Lord Krishna explains Arjuna that where necessary, it is good to fight. People who have realized the Self are not interested in the activities of the world but they still perform their duty to teach the common public how to live and how to act.
Therefore, Self-Realized people act in such a way so that others follow them.
Verse 21: Common People Follow What Great Men Do. Thus, Common Men Follow The Standards Set By The Great Men.
An outstanding leader cannot teach the common man if he himself does not practice the principles laid down in the scriptures. A perfect teacher is the one who teaches the common public via practical behavior.
You cannot teach people if you yourself do not practice the principles as directed in the Vedic scriptures. For instance, you cannot teach people to be a Karma Yogi if you yourself do not exhibit the qualities of Karma Yoga.
Likewise, you cannot teach people to be honest if you do not believe in honesty as a value. Therefore, if we want to adopt the path of self-realization, we must follow the great devotees.
People in the roles of King, Head of the State, Father, Teacher, etc are all taken as leaders by nature of the common people. These natural leaders have a big responsibility towards the people dependent on them.
Thus, they must be well-versed with these moral codes and standard books that lay down the spiritual code of conduct.
Lord Krishna is the controller of the universe was not bound by any duty yet he discharged his duties as a soldier on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The supreme power, that is Lord Krishna, is the controller of the universe. He is above all the planetary leaders.
It is Lord Krishna under whose control the entire world functions. When it comes to living entities, they are not supreme for all the powers they have, have been given to them by the Lord.
The demigods too worship the supreme power. Likewise, all the material entities worship him. He is the cause of all the causes. The Lord is the one who is supreme. There is no one above him.
Also, the Lord does not have a body like an ordinary living being. Further, there is no difference between his spirit and the matter, that is, his body and the soul.
And when it comes to his senses, any one of his senses can perform the function of the other. Furthermore, he has infinite capacities and is the greatest of all.
Since the Lord is the perfect ideal, he need not perform any duty. Living entities get the result of the work that they perform and hence been given the respective duties.
But, the Supreme Lord is the one who has nothing to achieve and he does not want anything for he already possesses everything. He is full, he is complete, and he is absolute. Thus, Lord Krishna does not have any duty to perform.
Yet Lord Krishna discharged his duties as the leader of the soldiers on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This is because as a soldier, he was bound by his duty to serve the people and protect those in the problem.
No doubt Lord Krishna is above all the scriptures, he still carried out his duty and did not do anything against the principles laid down in the scriptures.
Lord Krishna further tells Arjuna that he has come down on this planet to lay down the principles of religion. If he would not follow them and set an example for the people, the common people would also do the same.
Therefore, whether a soldier is at home or out of home, he is bound to perform his duty and that is what Lord Krishna wanted to tell the common people when he performed his duty as the leader of the army.
Verse 22, Verse 23, And Verse 24: Lord Krishna Said To Arjuna That If The Lord Did Not Perform His Duty, This World Would Be Devastated. Furthermore, God Would Be Responsible For Creating an Unwanted Population Which Would Lead To Destroying The Peace of the Human Beings.
The unwanted population according to Lord Krishna is the one that leads to the destruction of the peace of the living entities. To keep such an unwanted population away from disturbing the peace of society, there are certain rules that must be followed.
That is, if men and women abide by these rules and regulations, they would automatically bring peace and organization that would help them in advancement in spiritual life.
When Lord Krishna came to planet earth, he dealt with these rules to make people understand how important it was to follow these rules. Lord being the controller of the universe did not want to mislead the living entities by not following these rules.
For if he did so, the responsibility of the havoc or the devastation would lie on the shoulders of the Lord. It is said that whenever people disregard these principles, the Lord himself comes down on earth to correct the misdeeds taking place in society.
But following the footsteps of the Lord is not the same as imitating him. We need to remember that we are his servants and we can only follow his instructions and cannot be at power with him.
Verse 25: Learned Men Perform Actions Without Attachment To The Material World Whereas Ignorant Men Carry Out Their Duties By Attaching Themselves to the Results.
There is a difference between a person who has attained consciousness and one who has not. The conscious person carries out activities in the material world not for the satisfaction of his senses, but for the satisfaction of the Lord.
An ignorant person, thus however works in the material world by attaching himself to the result of the work. Therefore, a conscious person needs to set an example for the common people in order to make them understand how one is required to act and engage his senses in the service of Krishna.
Verse 26: A Learned Man Should Not Disturb The Ignorant Men In Their Activities, That is, He Should Not Force Them To Stop Work. Instead, Learned Man Should Himself Act In Such A Way So That The Ignorant Men Learn From His Actions As To How One Should Act in the Service of God.
Everything mentioned in the Vedas such as the rituals, sacrifices, etc has been laid out for living entities to seek the purpose of life, that is, attaining Krishna. Living entities do not have an understanding of anything except doing work for the satisfaction of the material senses.
That is, they undertake work by attaching themselves with the result of such work. But if these result-oriented activities and sense-satisfactory actions are controlled by the directions given in the Vedic scriptures one can be put on the path of self-realization.
Thus, the ones who are learned and self-realized do not disturb others in discharging their duties. They simply act so that they can set an example that how these fruitive activities can be undertaken in the service of the Lord.
Therefore, these learned men act in such a way that ignorant persons working for sense gratification are able to learn how to act. Such learned men also do not need to follow the Vedic rituals for they are self-realized. And this Self-Realization itself gives them the outcome which one gets by discharging his duties.
Verse 27: The Soul Residing In Us Comes Under The Influence of the False Ego And Starts Assuming That We Are The Ones Responsible For All The Activities. Whereas It Is The Lord Who Is The Master of Our Senses and Material Body.
There is a difference between a person who is spiritually conscious and materially conscious. The person in material consciousness thinks that he is behind everything happening in his life. That is, he is the cause of all the causes.
Such a person forgets that the physical body came into existence from the material nature which is under the direct control of the Lord. A materially conscious person does not know that the living entities are being controlled by Lord Krishna.
Such a person, under the influence of false ego, takes all the credit for doing everything on his own which reveals his ignorance. He forgets that the physical body is created out of material nature which is directly supervised by the Lord.
Thus, all his senses need to be engaged in the service of the Lord. He forgets that God is the master of all the senses of the material body. Such a person makes the wrong use of the senses by doing work for the satisfaction of the senses.
Furthermore, he comes under the false ego and forgets his relationship with Lord Krishna being the master and he himself is the servant of the Lord.
Verse 28 And Verse 29: One Who Has The Knowledge of the Absolute Truth, that is, The Lord, Does Not Do Work For Satisfaction of the Senses. This Is Because He Understands Clearly The Difference Between Working For The Service of the Lord and Working For Results.
The one who has the knowledge of the absolute truth, that is, the knowledge of the Supreme Power understands that he is merely the servant and the Lord is his master. He knows that he is the part and parcel of the Lord.
Further, he knows that the Lord is the absolute truth who has complete knowledge. Also, he knows that he is somehow stuck in this material understanding of life. Such a person understands that under pure consciousness, he needs to direct all his activities in the service of the Lord.
Thus, while discharging his duties in the service of the Lord, he becomes unattached to all the material activities for he knows that such activities are temporary in nature. Also, he knows that the Lord is the controller of the material life given to him and thus does not get irritated by the reactions of the material work.
Rather, he takes the reactions of the work undertaken as the blessings of the almighty. According to Bhagavad Gita, one who understands the three aspects of the absolute truth, that is, the Soul (Brahman), Supersoul (Paramatma), and the Supreme Personality of Godhead (Lord Krishna) understands that his position is that of a servant and the Lord is his master.
Verse 30:You Must Thus Work In The Service of the Lord, Have Full Knowledge of the Absolute Truth Without Any Attachment To Any Profit, Without Considering Yourself To Be The Proprietor, Free From All The Laziness And Thus Fight.
This is the entire purpose of Bhagavad Gita. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that he needs to perform his duties as a part of his military discipline if he needs to work like a knowledgeable, conscious person.
He might have to face certain challenges while discharging his duty but regardless of all, he needs to carry out his duties by placing trust in Krishna. This is because as living entities we are servants to the Lord and we cannot be happy on our own, that is, without the cooperation of the Lord.
Arjuna was commanded by Krishna to fight on the battlefield of Kurukshetra as if the Lord was the leader of the military. Thus, one needs to sacrifice everything in order to maintain the prestige of the Lord and do our duty without claiming to be the proprietor ourselves.
Arjuna was not supposed to analyze the command given to him by Lord Krishna. All he was expected to do was to follow his order. Therefore, the knowledgeable person who depends on the Lord without any personal consideration is the one who attains consciousness. He understands that as living entities, we need to simply follow the instructions of the Lord and not expect any results out of the work that we do.
Such a person knows that everything belongs to the Lord and not to any individual entity. He doesn’t claim to be the proprietor himself and in situations where there is any hesitation in executing the order of the Lord, such a hesitation needs to be done away with without any compassion for the bodily relationships that one shares with anyone such as friends, relatives, family members, etc.
This makes one free from all the laziness and puts him on the path of liberation.
Verse 31 And Verse 32: Those Who Follow The Instructions of Lord Krishna Without Any Hesitation Become Free From The Bondage of the Material World.
The teachings of Lord Krishna are laid down in the Vedic scriptures. These Vedic scriptures are eternally true. Therefore, all the teachings prescribed in the Vedas are also true and one must trust these teachings without any hatred towards the Lord.
There are many philosophers who give their opinion on Bhagavad Gita but do not believe in the teachings of Lord Krishna. However, there are common men who place trust in the instructions given by Lord Krishna and thus fall on the path of liberation to be free from the Law of Karma.
Verse 33: Even Very Learned Men Get Attached to the Material World And Fall in the Clutches of Material Nature. Without Being Krishna Conscious, One Cannot Be Set Free From The Clutches of the Material World.
You need to attain pure consciousness in order to get liberated from the clutches of material nature. Simply having the theoretical knowledge of the spirit soul being different from the body, it is difficult to set yourself free from the bondage of the material world.
Many people call themselves as spiritualists on the outside, but inside, they are still under the influence of the material nature which they have been unable to overcome.
Thus, you may be very knowledgeable academically but unless you seek pure consciousness, you cannot set yourself free from the entanglement of the material world. So, without attaining pure consciousness, you should never think of giving up on your duties and become a spiritualist.
Being in your material position, you should try to attain consciousness through proper guidance by a superior authority.
Verse 34: One Should Not Come Under The Influence of Attachment And Hatred Because They Come In The Way Of Self-Realization. There are Guidelines To Control Attachment and Hatred With Regards To Senses and Their Objects.
As per Bhagavad Gita, people who are conscious do not engage themselves in doing work for the satisfaction of the senses. However, those who are not conscious need to follow certain principles as revealed in the scriptures so as to realize the Self.
Doing things for the enjoyment of senses in an uncontrolled manner is the reason for entangling oneself in the material world. Those who follow the principles as laid down in the scriptures are free from material bondage.
The material body has various material needs including food, water, physical relationship with partners, etc. These are necessary for the survival of a living entity. But they should be undertaken in a controlled manner.
But one should not depend on exercising such control because if you try to practice controlling your senses by following certain rules, this also can deviate you from the path of self-realization.
Because we have an attachment to the material world, there exists the desire for doing things for sense enjoyment. Thus, if we try to control our senses following certain rules, we still have a chance to make mistakes, that is, we can do work for the satisfaction of our senses.
Therefore, attaching yourself with the idea of controlled sense enjoyment is also not good. Attachment to the material world can only be avoided if we do service for the Lord. That is we work by not attaching ourselves from all kinds of sensory activities.
Verse 35 And Verse 36: We Should Not Try To Imitate Or Involve Ourselves In Carrying Out The Duty of Others. Instead Given Our Material Position, It Is Always Better To Perform The Duties Given To Us Even Though We May Do Them Poorly.
You should always discharge the duties given to you in the service of the Lord instead of carrying out those duties that are meant for others. The material nature gives us our respective duties based on our material position.
Likewise, spiritual duties are the ones that are given to us by the spiritual master for the service of the Lord. Thus, be it spiritual or material, one needs to stick to his duties until death rather than discharging the duties meant for others.
For example, a sage can be non-violent but a soldier is the one who is permitted to be violent. Lord Krishna explains Arjuna that since he is a soldier, it is far better for Arjuna to die fighting on the battlefield of Kurukshetra rather than act as a sage and follow the path of non-violence.
By performing one’s given duties only can one purify his heart and this happens gradually and not suddenly. However, a person who is conscious and does work in the service of the Lord can act as a sage if he is a soldier or acts like a soldier if he is a sage.
But one who is on the material platform, that is, materially impacted, cannot do so till the time he does not become conscious. Such a man needs to carry out his duties according to his material position and also needs to carry out work in the service of the Lord.
Verse 37: It Is Lust That Arises From One’s Attachment From The Material World. This Lust Then Gets Converted Into Anger Which Is The Biggest Enemy of This World.
When any living entity gets in touch with material creation, his love for the Lord gets converted into lust. Further, when this lust is not satisfied, it transforms into anger. The anger further turns into an illusion that leads to the continuation of the material existence.
Thus, given this, we can say that it is the lust which is the biggest enemy of any living entity and it is this lust which is due to which the living entity gets stuck in the material bondage.
Anger thus leads to ignorance. Such a passion must be lifted to the mode of goodness rather than being devalued to ignorance by following the directions of living and acting as described in the scriptures.
This is the way one can be saved from the devastation of the anger. The Lord expanded and resided in infinite living entities for his enjoyment. Thus, we as living entities are parts and parcels of the Lord and his enjoyment.
We also have freedom in part but when we misuse this freedom by turning our attitude of service to the Lord into doing work for a sense of enjoyment, we come under the influence of lust.
God has given us this beautiful gift of life and provided us with the benefit of fulfilling our lustful capacities. When we get totally confused by undertaking these lustful activities for long, we begin to question our real position relative to the Lord.
This questioning is the first step towards the path of self-realization. We start inquiring who the Supreme Lord is. This is when you are reminded that the Supreme is the creator of all.
Therefore, lust also originates from the Supreme. If this lust is turned into a love for the Supreme, that is, doing everything for the Lord, then both lust and anger get spiritualized. That’s why Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to show his anger towards the enemies for the satisfaction of the Lord.
Given this, Bhagavad Gita says that if lust and anger are engaged in the service of the Lord, they turn into our friends instead of our enemies.
Verse 38: We As Living Entities Are Covered With Different Degrees of Lust Much Like The Fire Covered With Smoke, Mirror Covered By Dust, And An Embryo Covered By The Womb.
There are three degrees to which a living entity’s consciousness is covered. This covering is nothing but the lust that exists in three different forms like smoke in the fire, dust on the mirror, and womb covering an embryo.
When a living entity shows his consciousness slightly, he is compared to smoke covering the fire. While the fire is mandatory where there is smoke, one cannot see the fire in the early stages. Thus, a person who is slightly conscious is compared to the smoke covering the fire.
The dust on the mirror portrays a cleansing process of the mirror of the mind by adopting various spiritual methods such as chanting the name of the Lord. Finally, the embryo covered by the womb showcases a helpless state. This is because the child in the womb cannot move.
Thus, such a living is compared to the trees. Trees also are living entities. They have been put in this helpless state by showcasing of lust to such an extent that they do not have any consciousness.
The mirror covered by the dust is compared to the birds and the beasts and the fire covered with smoke is compared to human beings.
Thus, human beings can revive consciousness and if he works a little, this fire of spiritual life can be ignited in human life. If you carefully handle the smoke in the fire, you can continue the fire to be ignited.
Thus, human life is an opportunity given to us to set ourselves free from this material bondage. In this human life, one can overcome his biggest enemy lust by attaining consciousness under the instruction of Krishna.
Verse 39: Lust Overcomes The Pure Consciousness of a Wise Man. And This Lust Keeps Burning Like a Fire As It Is Never Satisfied.
If you keep adding fuel to the fire, you can never put off the fire. Similarly, no matter how much you work for your sense of enjoyment, lust can never be satisfied.
It is said that in this material world, one does everything to seek sexual satisfaction. Those who do not follow the regulations as laid down in the scriptures, they are chained by this sexual pleasure.
If we continue to let the development in materialization happen based on the satisfaction of the senses, it would mean increasing the material existence of a living entity. That is why lust is called an enemy and one who is under its influence is called an ignorant because it is this lust that keeps you in this material world.
You might think that doing things for the enjoyment of the senses brings you happiness but this feeling of happiness is nothing but the enemy of the one who engages in the sense of enjoyment.
Verse 40: Lust Takes Over All The Strategic Positions of A Human Body, That Is, Mind, Intelligence, And The Senses. This Lust Then Eventually Overcomes Your Spirit Soul And Gets You Swayed Away By It.
When it comes to the biggest enemy of the living entity, that is the lust, it captures all the strategic points of a human body.
Thus, if you need to find this enemy, you would first have to be aware of those strategic points that it takes over.
The mind is one place from where all the sensory activities originate. Thus, the moment you hear about these sense objects, your mind becomes full of sense satisfaction ideas. Therefore, lust takes over your mind and your senses.
Next comes the intelligence which becomes the capital of all the lustful capacities. Intelligence is the adjacent neighbor of your spirit soul. When this intelligence is overcome by lust, it convinces even your spirit soul to take a false ego and consider itself as matter.
Therefore, the spirit soul begins to recognize itself as matter and starts believing that it is mind and senses and not the spirit soul. Hence, the spirit soul too becomes used to enjoying the material senses and misunderstands this enjoyment to be happiness.
Verse 41: One Must Kill Lust By Controlling Senses For It Is The Destroyer of Knowledge and Self-Realization.
Lord Krishna advised Arjuna to control his senses from the beginning of the battle of Kurukshetra. This was suggested by Lord to Arjuna because controlling senses would help him overcome lust which is the biggest enemy of the living entity.
Lust is the biggest enemy because it deviates you from the path of self-realization and the knowledge of the Self. Jnana is defined as the knowledge of Self being different from Non-Self.
In other words, Jnana is the knowledge that a living entity is his spirit soul and not the material body. Vijnana is defined as the knowledge of the position of the spirit soul in relation to the Supreme Soul. That is, spirit soul being a servant to the Supreme Soul.
Bhagavad Gita provides us with the knowledge of the Self and the Supreme Self. It states that we as living entities are parts and parcels of the Lord. Thus, we are mere servants who have been given this gift of life to work in the service of the Lord.
This is what Bhagavad Gita defines as Krishna Consciousness and states that one must attain Krishna Consciousness and act under such consciousness.
Lust is nothing but a corrupted image of the love of God. If one attains Krishna Consciousness from the very beginning itself, the natural love of God cannot degrade into lust.
Krishna Consciousness is so powerful that a person who realizes such consciousness late in his life too can become the lover of God by following the principles laid down. Thus, at any stage of your life, you can attain such a consciousness, control your senses, and thus convert lust into the love of God.
Verse 42 And Verse 43: Soul Is Superior To All The Parts of the Body. If The Soul Is Engaged In Consciousness, the Subordinates Will Follow.
Your senses act as exit points for various activities of lust. Lust is contained in the body but it is shown way out through these senses. Hence, senses are superior to the body.
When you are in Krishna Consciousness, the outlets so-called the senses are out of work. While in such consciousness your spirit soul is directly connected with the Supreme Lord and the hierarchy of the bodily functions comes to an end. Of course, the body cannot function without the functioning of the senses.
Then comes the mind which is active even when the body is at rest. Above mind in the hierarchy comes the intelligence and above the intelligence is the soul.
If the soul is engaged with the Supreme Lord, the subordinates such as senses, mind, and intelligence too would get engaged.
As stated above, the Soul is superior to all the layers of the body, that is, senses, mind, and intelligence. If the Soul is engaged in the service of the Lord, there is no chance that any other layer such as senses, mind, and intelligence can get engaged in the material world.
Therefore, if we understand the position of the Soul, we are able to find solutions to the problems in the material world. Thus, living entities through intelligence need to understand the position of the Soul and then engage the mind in the service of the Lord.
Thus, you need to make your mind stronger through your intelligence. So if you are engaging your intelligence in the service of the Lord, your mind becomes stronger and even though the senses are stronger in nature, much like the serpents, they would not be powerful.
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