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You are here: Religion Gita Geeta Chapter 3 - The Way of Action

Geeta Chapter 3 - The Way of Action

Arjuna said:

  1. If, O, Janardana, you consider knowledge superior to action, why then you urge me to engage in this terrible action?

  2. You are, as it were, puzzling my mind by these seemingly involved expressions; therefore, tell me definitely the one discipline by which I may obtain the highest good.

Sri Bhagavan said:

  1. Arjuna, in this world two courses of sadhana have been enunciated by Me in the past. In the case of the Sankhyayogi, the sadhana proceeds along the path of knowledge, whereas in the karmayogi, it proceeds along the path of action.

  2. Man does not attain freedom from action without doing work; by merely giving up action no one attains to perfection.

  3. Surely none can ever remain inactive even for a moment, for everyone is helplessly driven to action by nature-born qualities.

  4. He who outwardly restraining the organs of sense and action sits mentally dwelling on the objects of senses, that man of deluded intellect is called a hypocrite.

  5. On the other hand, he who controlling the organs of sense and action by the power of his will, and remaining unattached, undertakes the yoga of action through those organs, he excels.

  6. Therefore, you perform your allotted duty, for action is superior to inaction. Desisting from action, you cannot even maintain your body.

  7. Man is bound by his own action except when it is performed for the sake of sacrifice. Therefore, you perform your duty, free from attachment, for the sake of sacrifice alone.

  8. Having created mankind along with attitude sacrifice at the beginning of creation, the creator, Brahma, said, “you shall prosper by this; may this yield the enjoyment you seek”.

  9. Treat the nature tenderly, and nature in return will cherish you, thus treating each other with respect, you shall gain the highest good.

  10. The nature, cherished by yajna, will give you desired-for objects. So he, who enjoys objects given by Nature without offering to it, is a thief.

  11. The virtuous, eating the remnants of yajna, are freed from all sins: but those who cook food only for themselves, are sinners and comit sin.

  12. All. Beings are evolved from food; production of food is dependent on rain; rain ensues from sacrifice, and sacrifice is rooted in prescribed action.

  13. Know that prescribed action has its origin in the Vedas, and the Vedas proceed from the indestructible God hence the all-pervading infinite is always present in sacrifice.

  14. Arjuna, he who does not follow the wheel of creation thus set going in this world is sinful and sensual, he lives in vain.

  15. He however, who is devoted to the Self and is satisfied with the Self, and is content in the self, has no obligatory duty.

  16. In this world such great soul has no use, whatsoever, for things done nor for things not done; nor has he selfish dependence of any kind on any being.

  17. Therefore, go on efficiently doing your duty without attachment. Man attains the supreme by doing work without attachment.

  18. It is through action alone that janaka and other wise men reached perfection. Having a view to guide the world you should take appropriate action.

  19. For whatsoever the superior person does, others follow that. What he demonstrates by action, that becomes guiding factor to the people.

  20. Arjuna, there is nothing in all the three worlds for me to do, nor is there anything worth attaining or unattained by me, yet I continue to work.

  21. Should I not work without relaxation, O son of Prtha, men would, in every way follow on my path.

  22. If I do not do work, these worlds would perish. I shall be the cause of the admixture of races, and ruin these beings shall be ruined.

  23. Arjuna, the unwise act with attachment, but the wise man should act, without attachment, for the guidance of the world.

  24. A wise man established in the self should not unsettle the understanding of the ignorant attached to action, but should guide them to perform all their duties, duly performing his own duties.

  25. All actions are being performed by the modes of prakrti. The fool, whose mind is deluded by egoism, thinks; I am the doer.

  26. He, however, who has true insight into the respective spheres of Gunas and their actions, holding that it is the senses that move among the objects, does not get attached to them, Arjuna.

  27. Men of perfect knowledge should not force people of dull wit and imperfect knowledge, who deluded by the Gunas of prakrti attach to the functions of the Gunas.

  28. Renouncing all actions to Me, with mind centered on the self, getting rid of hope and selfishness, fight-free from mental fever.

  29. Those men who constantly practice this teaching of Mine, full of faith and without finding faults, they too, are freed from bondage of work.

  30. But those who find fault in this teaching of Mine do not practice it, deluded in all knowledge, and devoid of discrimination, shall to be ruined.

  31. All beings follow natural tendencies; even a wise man acts in accordance with his own nature. External restraint is ineffective against impelling force of tendencies.

  32. Attachment and aversion of the senses for their respective objects are natural; let none come under their influence; they are his enemies.

  33. Better is one’s own Dharma, imperfect, than the Dharma of another well performed. Better is death in one’s own Dharma: the Dharma of another is fraught with fear.

Arjuna said:

  1. Now impelled by what, Krsna, does man commit sin even involuntarily, as though driven by force?

The Blessed Lord said:

  1. It is desire- it is anger, born of the Rajo-guna; of great craving, and of great sin, know this as the foe.


38. As a flame is covered by smoke, mirror by dirt, and embryo by amnion, so is the Knowledge covered by it (desire).

    1. And knowledge stands covered by this eternal enemy of the wise, known as desire, which is insatiable like fire.

    2. The senses, the mind, and the intellect are said to be its abode: through these it deludes the embodied by veiling his wisdom.

    3. Therefore, Arjuna, you must control your senses, and then kill this evil thing which obstructs knowledge and realization.

    4. The senses are said to be superior to the body, the mind is superior to senses; the intellect is superior to the mind; and He the self is superior to intellect.

    5. Thus, Arjuna, knowing Him that is superior to the intellect, and restraining the self by the Self, destroy, the un-conquerable foe, that is, desire.



The end of third chapter, designated as The Way of Action.