The Bhagavad Gita — Chapter 3

Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita
by Paramahansa Yogananda

The Path of Action — Karma Yoga


But the individual who truly loves the soul and is fully satisfied with the soul and finds utter contentment in the soul alone, for him no duty exists. (17)

Such a person has no purpose of gain in this world by performing actions, nor does he lose anything by their nonperformance. He is not dependent on anyone for anything. (18) [—Commentary]


O Arjuna, as the ignorant perform actions with attachment and hope of reward, so the wise should act with dispassionate nonattachment, to serve gladly as a guide for the multitudes. [—Commentary]


All action is universally engendered by the attributes (gunas) of primordial Nature (Prakriti). A man whose Self is deluded by egoity thinks, "I am the doer."


(33) Even the wise man acts according to the tendencies of his own nature. All living creatures go according to Nature; what can (superficial) suppression avail?

(34) Attachment and repulsion of the senses for their specific objects are Nature-ordained. Beware the influence of this duality. Verily, these two (psychological qualities) are one's enemies!


(36) Arjuna said:

O Varshneya (Krishna), by what is man impelled, even against his will, to perform evil—compelled, it seems, by force? [—Commentary]

(37) The Blessed Lord said:

Born of the activating attribute of Nature (rajo-guna), it is desire, it is anger, (that is the impelling force)—full of unappeasable craving and great evil: know this (two-sided passion) to be the foulest enemy here on earth. [—Commentary]

(38) As fire is obscured by smoke, as a looking glass by dust, as an embryo is enveloped by the womb, so it (wisdom) is covered by this (desire). [—Commentary]

(39) O Son of Kunti (Arjuna)! the constant enemy of wise men is the unslakable flame of desire, by which wisdom is concealed. [—Commentary]

(40) The senses, mind, and intellect are said to be desire's formidable stronghold; through these, desire deludes the embodied soul by eclipsing its wisdom.

(41) Therefore, O Best of the Bharata Dynasty (Arjuna)! first discipline the senses, then destroy desire, the sinful annihilator of wisdom and Self-realization. [—Commentary]


The senses are said to he superior (to the physical body); the mind is superior to the sense faculties; the intelligence is superior to the mind; but he (the Self) is superior to the intelligence.

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