Krishna, you say intelligence is better than work based on result

Why then do you insist I engage in this warfare that’s violent  3.1

 Krishna, your words are clear, but I am not

Say what’s best for me to act? 3.2

 Arjuna, there are two ways to realize the Self

One through analysis and the other by faith 3.3

 Not working does not lead you to freedom from desire

Nor by giving up desires do you become perfect 3.4

 Your nature as born forces you to act

Never can you not act, not even for a moment. 3.5

 One who controls the senses and does not act 

But still continues to desire is a hypocrite  3.6

I acknowledge the Indonesian wayang kulit puppet of Arjuna in action from the Net!

In these verses of the third chapter of the Gita, and the next chapter Krishna explains to Arjuna the concepts of Karma Yoga, fulfillment of life’s meaning through action.

Vedic scriptures describe three states of mind. These are the gunas, or attributes. These are satva, rajas and tamas. The entire theory of the traditional Indian medicine of Ayurveda is based on the modification of these attributes in our mind body system.

Satva, is always exemplified as the ultimate attribute to aim for, one of deep passivity or calmness. A scholar, a priest, an intellectual and therefore a brahmin, is considered the typical satvic person.

Rajas is the mode of action and passion. The warrior, the king, the ruler and therefore the kshatriya, is seen as the typical rajasvic person.

Tamas is the mode of complete inaction, laziness and ignorance. The laborer, the uneducated and by conclusion the sudra, is seen to be the typical tamasic person.

No one is completely of one guna. We all have mixed guna attributes and exhibit them at different points in time and space.

Because satva is so exalted and so much aspired for, many pretend to be in the passive, reflective, disengaged mode. Even as the mid churns and the body coils, one puts on a mask of indifference and inaction. All this does is to produce stress within.

Krishna says here clearly that the nature of a living creature is action. Every cell in our body has to be in action for us to live. If the heart becomes passive, we die. If the brain decides not to act, we stop living. Every breath we inhale and exhale is the sign of our desire to live and to act. When the last exhalation happens without an inhalation to flow, we cease to act and we cease to exist.

Krishna calls the person who desires to live but ceases to act or even pretends to cease to act as a hypocrite. Almost every spiritual guru who calls himself or herself a yogi or a renunciate, claiming not to in action, claiming to be sattvic, is a hypocrite. All these people still live in greed and fear, while advising others to shed their wealth to them. I am yet to come across a holy man who has not asked me for money!

This is not quite true. I can name a rare few, Bhagawan Ramana and the Kanchi Paramacharya, but they are the exceptions who proved the rule.

Arjuna is a kshatriya, and in any case born to action. Krishna’s advice is not really to the warrior prince. Krishna merely uses Arjuna as an excuse to tell all those pretenders and hypocrites of this world to stop pretending and to get into action.

As he goes on, Krishna defines what that action ought to be.

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