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Srimad Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 3 Part 1 Parama Saaram by Thirukallam Narasimha Raghavachariar

From: Bharadwaj, Jaganath (
Date: Mon Jun 22 1998 - 12:53:45 PDT

In the first four chapters, the soul, whose description is given in the
second chapter, the goal of attaining its vision and the method to
attain such a vision is described.

In the third chapter, it is explained that one should give up interest
in going to Svarga and other fruits of Vedic karmas.  One should
understand that all actions are being performed by the three modes of
nature or by their controller Sriman Naaraayana.  In other words, we
should understand that all our activities take place only because He
permits it.

Arjuna:	"Kesava!  If you consider Jnaana Yoga to be superior to Karma
Yoga, then  why do you command me to perform this dreadful Karma Yoga?
After all did you not say (in the second chapter verse 49) that Jnaana
Yoga is superior to Karma Yoga?"

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Oh faultless One!  It appears that you did not correctly
understand what I explained to you before.  The right to perform Karma
Yoga or Jnaana Yoga depends upon the qualifications of the aspirant to
liberation.  One who has achieved a state of sinlessness is qualified to
perform Karma Yoga.  One who has earned substantial merit is entitled to
perform Jnaana Yoga.  Therefore, each Yoga is meant for a person in a
particular stage of spiritual development.."

Arjuna:	"Janaardana!  Why should a person not interested in Moksha take
up Karma Yoga?  Why should a person interested in Moksha not take up the
vastly superior path of Jnaana Yoga?"

Sri Krishna:	"Arjuna!  One does not reach the stage of performing Jnaana
Yoga by abandoning duties ordained by the Vedas, i.e. either by never
performing them at all or giving them up after having performed them for
some time.  Only by performing rites ordained by the Saastras, does one
attain siddhi (in the context of the qualification to perform Jnaana
Yoga).  Not otherwise.

"Pay attention to the following as well.  For a human being in this
world, it is not possible to cease action even for a moment.  According
to how much sin and merit (punya) have matured and are giving fruit at a
given moment, the combination of the three modes of nature that affect
the individual is determined.  The proportion of these three modes
determines the nature of the karmas undertaken by an individual.
Therefore, by giving up duties ordained in the scriptures, Jnaana Yoga
cannot be performed.

"Moreover, one who goes directly to Jnaana Yoga without ever having
performed Karma Yoga deceives himself and sets up a mere show for the
rest of the world."

Arjuna:	"Krishna!  In that case, why did you make the statement that
Jnaana Yoga is superior to Karma Yoga?"

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Paartha!  You are destined to continue the Karma Yoga
which is as yet incomplete.  Karma Yoga is superior to Jnaana Yoga.  You
cannot maintain your body without performing any karma.  Only if you
eat, can you sustain the body.  Without sustaining the body, there is no
question of performing Jnaana Yoga.  When you perform Karma Yoga, you
are simultaneously performing Jnaana Yoga.  Therefore Karma Yoga is
superior to Jnaana Yoga."

Arjuna:	"Vaasudeva!  If one earns money and performs karmas like Pancha
Maha Yajna etc, will it not lead to an increase in qualities like
ahamkaara (the false understanding that the soul is independent and free
to pursue any desire), mamakaara (the failure to perceive that
everything living and non living is the property of Sriman Naaraayana
and consequently coveting possessions), desire, hatred and the like,
making it more difficult to give up material attachments?"

Sri Krishna:	"Earning income that is necessary to perform rites ordained
by the Saastras will not bind you to further karma.  Only money earned
exclusively with a view to increasing one's material comforts binds one
into further karma.  Performance of duties ordained by Saastras without
attachment leads to one pleasing one's worshippable deity.  He (one's
worshippable deity) then causes a dissolution of the beginningless karma
that hinders clear perception of the truth.  Clear perception of the
truth makes a vision of the soul possible.  Therefore, those with
spiritual objectives should perform rites like Pancha Maha Yajna and
Vaishvadevam and only eat the grains that remain after such offering."

Arjuna:	"Kanna!  According to the Smrita verse "Karamanaa Badhyate
Jantuh:", man gets bound by karma.  By knowledge, he attains liberation.
 Therefore, the Sannyaasis who have mastered all branches of spiritual
learning do not perform any rites.  How can you therefore, expect me to
accept that the rites which bind one in Karma, are a source of

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Arjuna!  Perform these ordained rites that are intended
to please the demigods realizing that I am the soul of these demigods.
Let those demigods fulfil your requirements, by providing you with
grains, etc.  In this way, everyone takes care of everybody else in a
symbiotic relationship.  Thus leading a life as ordained by scriptures,
in a society of devotees serving each other, people will spend their
time in meditating upon Sriman Naaraayana as the soul in each devotee
and attain liberation.  Grains (wealth) has been provided to us so that
we may perform these rites ordained in the Vedas and offer the demigods
their share of grains.  Whoever fails to do so is absolutely a thief.
He loses his right to liberation.  Not only that.  He could land in hell
for failure to perform these rites."

Arjuna:	"Krishna!  Do learned Bhaagavatas (Sishthas) also acknowledge
Karma Yoga to be an elevated path?"

Sri Krishna:	"Oh Winner of Wealth!  The most learned among Rajarshis
like Janaka and Ashwapati attained a knowledge and perception of their
souls merely by means of karma (doing their duties without aspiration
for its fruits).  Such learned people have concluded that even for one
qualified to practice Jnaana Yoga, karma Yoga is a more efficient method
to attain a perception of the self.  

Moreover, what is practiced by one who has attained fame in learning and
the practice of rites stipulated in the scriptures is identical to what
is practiced by one with very little brains.  One who has attained fame
as a learned Bhaagavata, has to practice without fail the Varnaashrama
dharma that his, by birthright.  If he gives them up, the smooth flow of
the cosmic cycle is upset.  (If the Brahmanas give up their duties, the
prosperity of the Vaishyas, the ability of the kshatriyas to govern
effectively, all get affected.  Besides the children of these fallen
Brahmanas are unlikely to bring into their practice, what their fathers
have given up.)  The sin that accrues as a result of giving up one's
duties and causing other people to stray from their path, will come in
the way of successfully practicing Jnaana Yoga.

Arjuna, for one like Me who is all-knowing and who has no desires to be
fulfilled, there are no duties.  But for the protection of the world, I
practice all the rites ordained in the Saastras.  If I failed to fulfil
my duties, others will give up their duties citing Me as a precedent.
Consequently, they will invite their destruction.  Therefore, I will be
responsible for the spiritual regression of mankind.  You should
therefore practice Karma Yoga, since you have been born as the son of
Paandu, the younger brother of Yudhishthira and have acquired fame as
one who is following in the footsteps of his forefathers."

Arjuna:	"Madhusoodhana!  What is the difference between one who
practices Karma Yoga with knowledge and without knowledge.  Please also
explain how does one go about doing his duties, thinking to himself "I
am not the doer"?"

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Paandava!  One who has not understood the nature of the
soul, or one who considers the body to be the soul, thinks that he has
performed every action.  One who has understood the truth about the
nature of the soul understands that the modes of nature like sattva and
Rajas play out their roles in the result of all the actions that are
performed by the body.  He does not see the involvement of the soul in
the execution of these activities.

Arjuna!  Consider all actions to have been caused by Me.  Submit all
activities of the body and mind as an offering to Me the Supreme Being.
Consider these activities to be a form of My worship.  Do not aspire to
seek the fruits of these activities as such thoughts can only arise from
the presumptuous understanding that the activities of the body are
caused by oneself.  In such a frame of mind fight the war and perform
all other actions."

Note from the author:-  This is called Saatvika tyaaga.