Yoga of Action

Third Discourse

Arjuna said : If it be thought by Thee that knowledge is superior to action, O Janardana, why dust Thou, O Keshava, enjoin on me this terrible action? With these perplexing words Thou only confusest my understandings therefore tell me with certainty the one way by which I may reach bliss.

The Blessed Lord said: In this world there is a twofold path, as I before said, O sinless one: that of yoga by knowledge, of the Sankhyas; and that of yoga by action, of the Yogis.

Man winneth not freedom from action by abstaining from activity, nor by mere renunciation doth he rise to perfection.Nor can anyone, even for an instant, remain really actionless; for helplessly is everyone driven to action by the qualities' born of nature. Who sitteth, controlling the organs of action, but dwelling in his mind on theobjects of the senses, that bewildered man is called a hypocrite. But who controlling the senses by the mind,
O Arjuna, with the organs of action without attachment, performeth yoga by action,' he is worthy.

Perform thou right action; for action is superior to inaction, and, inactive, even the maintenance of thy body would not be possible. The world is bound by action, unless per formed for the sake of sacrifice; for that sake, free from attachment, O son of Kunti, perform thou action.

Having in ancient times emanated mankind together with sacrifice, the Lord of emanation' said: By this shall ye propagate; be this to you the giver of desires. With this nourish ye the Shining Ones and may the Shining Ones nourish you; thus nourishing one another, ye shall reap thesupremest good. For, nourished by sacrifice, the Shining Ones shall bestow on you the enjoyments you desire.' A thief verily is he who enjoyeth what is given
by Them without returning Them aught. The righteous, who eat the remains of the sacrifice, are freed from all sins; but theimpious, who dress food for their own sakes, they verily eat sin.


From food creatures become: from rain is the production of food; rain production from sacrifice ariseth out of action. Know thou that from Brahma' action groweth, and Brahma from the Imperishable cometh. Therefore the ETERNAL, the all permeating, is ever present in sacrifice.

He who on earth doth not follow the wheel thus revolving, sinful of life and rejoicing in the senses, he, O son of Pritha, liveth in vain. But the man who rejoiceth in the SELF, with the SELF Is satisfied, and is content in the SELF,for him verily there is nothing to do.

For him there is no interest in things done in this world, nor any in things not done, nor doth any object of his depend on any' being. Therefore, without attachment, constantly perform action which is duty, for, by performing action without attachment, man verily reacheth the Supreme.

Janaka and others indeed attained to perfection by action,then having an eye to the welfare of the world also, thou shouldst perform action. Whatsoever a great man doeth, that other men also do; the standard he setteth up, by that the people go.There is nothing in the three worlds? O Partha, that should be done by Me, nor anything unattained that might be attained; yet I mingle in action.For if I mingled not ever in action unwearied, men all around would follow My path, O son of Pritha.

These worlds would fall into ruin, if I did not perform action; I should be the authorof confusion of castes, and should destroy these creatures. As the ignorant act from attachment to action, O Bharata, so should the wise act without attachment, desiring the welfare of the world.Let no wise man unsettle the mind of ignorant people attached to action; but acting in harmony with Me let him render all action attractive.

All actions are wrought by the qualities of nature only.
The self, deluded by egoism thinketh :

` I am the doer.'

But he,O mighty armed, who knovveth the essence of the divisions of the qualities and functions,
holding that `the qualities move amid the qualities' is not attached.Those deluded by the qualities
of nature are attached to the functions of the qualities.The man of perfect knowledge should
not unsettle the foolish whose knowledge is imperfect.

Surrendering all actions to Me I with thy thoughts resting on the supreme SELF,
from hope and egoism freed, and of mental fever cured, engage in battle.Who
abide ever in this teaching of Mine, full of faith and free from cavilling, they too
are released from actions.Who carp at My teaching and act not thereon,
senseless, deluded in all knowledge,know thou these mindless
ones as fated to be destroyed.

Even the man of knowledge behaves in conformity with his own nature; beings follow nature; what shall restraint avail? Affection and aversion for the objects of sense abide in the senses; let none come under the dominion of these two;they are obstructors of the path. Better one's own duty' though destitute of merit, than the duty of another, well discharged. Better death in the discharge of one's own duty;' the duty' of another is full of danger.

Arjuna said: But dragged on by what does a man commit sin,
reluctantly indeed, O Varshneya as it were by force constrained?

The Blessed Lord said:
It is desire, it is wrath, begotten by the quality of motion; all consuming, all polluting,know thou this as our foe here on earth.As a flame is enveloped by smoke, as a mirror by dust,as an embryo is wrapped by the amnion, so This' is enveloped by it. Enveloped is wisdom by this constant enemy of the wise in the form
of desire which is insatiable as a flame.The senses, the mind and theReason are said to be its seat; by these enveloping wisdom,it bewilders the dweller in the body.

Therefore, O best of the Bharatas, mastering first the sense:do thou slay this thing of sin, destructive of wisdom and knowledge. It is said that the senses are great; greater than the senses is the mind;'greater than the mind' is the Reasons but what is greater than the Reason, is He .Thus understanding Him as greater than the Reason, restraining the self by the SELF,slay thou, O mighty armed, the enemy in the form of desire, difficult to overcome.


8th Discourse


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