One who controls the mind and senses from desires

But acts with no attachment to outcome is far better  3.7

 Do what nature ordains for you, it’s better than not to act

How can you even look after your body needs if you don’t act 3.8

 Act with no thought of outcome, as a sacrifice, to avoid attachment

Act focused on the Self and be free from all attachment 3.9

 The Creator created mankind as a sacrifice, saying

Go forth and multiply, may you get all you wish  3.10

 Keep the divine beings happy with sacrifice, may they nurture you

Nurturing one another, may you all prosper  3.11

 Nurtured by your sacrifice, the divine shall provide you all

He is but a thief who takes but returns nothing at all  3.12

 The good who eat what is left of their sacrifice are without sin

The selfish ones who cook for them alone eat their own sin  3.13

I acknowledge the Chess King portrait from the Net!

The word sacrifice has many connotations. From the chess game interpretation to brutal religious practices that included humans, sacrifice was used and misused over millennia.

The great mystic Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said that the essence of Gita is tyag, the Sanskrit word meaning sacrifice.  Krishna here says that the Creator intended mankind as a sacrifice and the meaning of our lives is to devote ourselves to nurturing others. He implies that this is what nature has ordained for us.

If we look at our own mind body system, we find that there are parts of our cellular system that devote themselves to self-sacrifice to protect the rest of the system. In every society, the function of the warrior clan is to offer themselves as sacrifice to protect the rest. Here Krishna is talking to the ultimate warrior, Arjuna.

In the earlier verses, Krishna said that to suppress desires and pretending inaction is the sign of a hypocrite. Here he defines more clearly what action we should engage in. He talks about sacrificing first what we derive from action and then benefiting from what is left.

Leaving aside the implications of divine beings, what this means is that we cultivate an attitude of disengagement from the results of our actions. Once we believe that whatever results from our actions is  not ours to own and enjoy,  we can distance ourselves from obsessing about the results. This is Krishna’s goal.

In the Vedic tradition, sacrifices offered to divine beings always benefited human beings. A wealthy man or a King gave away  possessions to others not so well endowed. Every major religions has a similar practice of giving away a part of one’s earnings and wealth to the needy.

Krishna reverses the concept here. He says work hard, produce, give away all you’ve produced first and enjoy what’s left. Just imagine what our world would be if every one of us were to practice this!