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BG 3 (1968)

From Vanisource

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



1:     ARJUNA SAID: O Janardana, O Kesava, why do You urge me to engage in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work?


THE SUPREME PERSONALITY of Godhead Sri Krishna has very elaborately described the constitution of the soul in the previous chapter, with a view to delivering His intimate friend Arjuna from the ocean of material grief. And the path of realization has been recommended: Buddhiyoga, or Krishna consciousness. Sometimes this Krishna consciousness is misunderstood to be inertia, and one with such a misunderstanding often withdraws to a secluded place to become fully Krishna conscious by chanting the holy Name of Lord Krishna. But without being trained in the philosophy of Krishna consciousness, it is not advisable to chant the holy Name of Krishna in a secluded place, where one may acquire only cheap adoration from the innocent public. Arjuna thought of Krishna consciousness or Buddhiyoga, intelligence in spiritual advancement of knowledge, as something like retirement from active life, the practice of penance and austerity at a secluded place. In other words, he wanted to skillfully avoid the fighting by using Krishna consciousness as an excuse. But as a sincere student, he placed the matter before his Master, and questioned Krishna as to his best course of action. In answer, Lord Krishna elaborately explained Karmayoga, or work in Krishna consciousness, in this Third Chapter.

2:     My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively what is most beneficial for me.


IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER, as a prelude to The Bhagavad Gita, many different paths were explained, namely Samkhyayoga, Buddhiyoga, controlling the senses by intelligence, work without fruitive desire, the position of the neophyte, etc. This was all presented unsystematically. A more organized outline of the path would be necessary for action and understanding. Arjuna, therefore, wanted to clear up these apparently confusing matters so that any common man could accept them without misinterpretation. Although Krishna had no intention of confusing Arjuna by any jugglery of words, Arjuna could not follow the process of Krishna consciousness—either by inertia or active service. In other words, by his questions he is clearing the path of Krishna consciousness for all students who are serious about understanding the mystery of The Bhagavad Gita.

3:     The Blessed Lord said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who realize the self. The contemplative are inclined to understand it by empirical philosophical speculation; and the active are inclined to know it by devotional service.


IN THE SECOND CHAPTER, verse thirty-nine, the Lord has explained two kinds of procedure—namely Samkhyayoga and Karmayoga, or Buddhiyoga. In this verse, the Lord explains the same more clearly. Samkhyayoga, or the analytical study of the nature of spirit and matter, is the subject for persons who are inclined to speculate and understand things by experimental knowledge and philosophy. The other class of men work in Krishna consciousness, as is explained in verse sixty-one of the same Second Chapter. The Lord has explained, also, in verse thirty-nine, that by working under the principles of Buddhiyoga, or Krishna consciousness, one can be relieved from the bonds of action, and furthermore there is no flaw in the process. The same principle is more clearly explained in verse sixty-one—that this Buddhiyoga is to depend entirely on the Supreme (or, more specifically, on Krishna)—and in this way all the senses can be brought under control very easily. Therefore, both the Yogas are interdependent, as religion and philosophy. Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism; while philosophy without religion is mental speculation. The ultimate goal is Krishna, because the philosophers who are also sincerely searching after the Absolute Truth come in the end to Krishna consciousness. This is also stated in The Bhagavad Gita. The whole process is to understand the real position of the self in relation to the Superself. The indirect process is philosophical speculation, by which, gradually, one may come to the point of Krishna consciousness; and the other process is by directly connecting with everything in Krishna consciousness. Out of these two, the path of Krishna consciousness is better, because the philosophical process does not purify the senses. Krishna consciousness is itself the purifying process, and by the direct method of devotional service it is simultaneously easy and sublime.

4:     Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection.


THE RENOUNCED ORDER of life can be adopted upon being purified by the discharge of the prescribed form of duties. The prescribed form of duties is laid down just to purify the heart of materialistic men. Without the purifying process, one cannot attain success by abruptly adopting the fourth order of life (Sannyas). According to the empirical philosophers, simply by adopting Sannyas, or retiring from fruitive activities, one at once becomes as good as Narayana, God; but Lord Krishna does not approve this principle. Without purification of heart, Sannyas is simply a disturbance to the social order. On the other hand, if somebody takes to the transcendental service of the Lord, even without discharging his prescribed duties, whatever he may be able to advance in the cause is accepted by the Lord. Salpam api asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat: Even the slight performance of such a principle enables one to overcome great difficulties.

5:     All men are forced to act helplessly, according to the impulses born of the modes of material Nature: therefore, nobody can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.


THIS IS NOT A QUESTION of embodied life; it is the nature of the soul itself to be always active. The proof is that without the presence of the spirit soul there is no movement of the material body. The body is only a dead vehicle to be worked by the spirit soul, and therefore it is to be understood that the soul is always active, and cannot stop even for a moment. As such, the spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Krishna consciousness; otherwise it will be engaged in the occupations dictated by the illusory energy. In contact with material energy, the spirit soul acquires material modes, and to purify the soul from such affinities it is necessary to engage it in the prescribed duties enjoined in the Shastras, or scriptures. But if the soul is engaged in his natural function of Krishna consciousness, whatever he is able to do is good for him. The Srimad Bhagwatam affirms this: "If somebody takes to Krishna consciousness, even though he may not follow the prescribed duties in the Shastras or execute the devotional service properly, or even if he falls down from the standard, there is no loss or evil for him. And even though he carries out all the injunctions for purification in the Shastras, what does it avail him if he is not Krishna conscious?" So the purifying process is necessary for reaching this point. Sannyas, or any purifying process, is meant for helping one to reach the ultimate goal of becoming Krishna conscious, without which everything is considered a failure.

6:     One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.

7:     On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind and engages his active organs in works of devotion, without attachment, is by far superior.


INSTEAD OF BECOMING a pseudo-transcendentalist for the sake of wanton living and sense enjoyment, it is far better to remain in one's own business and execute the purpose of life, which is to get free from material bondage and enter into the Kingdom of God. The Svarthagati, or goal of self-interest, is to reach Vishnu. The whole Varna and Asrama system is designed to help us reach this goal of life. A householder can also reach this destination by regulated service in Krishna consciousness. For self-realization, one can live a controlled life, as prescribed in the Shastras, and continue carrying out his business without attachment, and that will lead him gradually to the progressive path. Such a sincere person who follows this method is far better situated than the false pretender who adopts show-bottle spiritualism to cheat the innocent public. A sincere sweeper in the street is far better than the charlatan meditator who "works" only for the sake of making a living.

8:     Perform your prescribed duty, which is better than not working. A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.

9:     Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one of this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.


SINCE ONE HAS TO WORK even for the simple maintenance of the body, the prescribed duties for a particular social position and quality are so made that that purpose can be fulfilled. Yajna means Lord Vishnu, or sacrificial performances. All sacrificial performances are meant for the satisfaction of Lord Vishnu. The Vedas enjoin: "Yajna vai Vishnu." In other words, the same purpose is served whether you perform prescribed Yajnas or directly serve Lord Vishnu. Krishna consciousness is, therefore, the performance of Yajna as it is prescribed here in this verse. The Varnasram institution also aims at this, satisfying Lord Vishnu. "Varnasrama acarata purusena parah puman Vishnu aradhyate."

Therefore, one has to work for the satisfaction of Vishnu. Any other work done in this material world will be a cause of bondage, for both good and evil work have their reactions, and any reaction binds the performer. One has only to work in Krishna consciousness, to satisfy Krishna or Vishnu, and while performing such activities one is supposed to be in a liberated stage. This is the great art of doing work, and in the beginning this process requires very good and expert guidance. One should therefore act very diligently, under the expert guidance of a devotee of Lord Krishna, or under the direct instruction of Krishna (under Whom Arjuna had the opportunity to work). Nothing should be performed for sense gratification, but everything should be done for the satisfaction of Krishna. This practice will not only save one from the reactions of work, but will also gradually raise one to the platform of the transcendental loving service of the Lord—which alone can uplift one to the Kingdom of God.

10:     In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Vishnu, and blessed them by saying, Be thou happy by this Yajna [sacrifice], because its perforrmnce will bestow upon you all desirable things.


THE MATERIAL CREATION by the Lord of creatures (Vishnu) is a sort of chance offered to the conditioned souls to come back to Home—back to Godhead. All living entities within the material creation are conditioned by material Nature because of their forgetfulness of their relationship to Vishnu, or Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic principles are to help us understand this eternal relationship. The Lord says that the purport of the Vedas is to understand Him. In the Vedic hymns it is said, Patim visvasya atma iswaram: The Lord of the living entities is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu.

Vishnu is the Lord of all living creatures, all worlds, and all beauties, and the Protector of everyone. The Lord created this material world for the conditioned souls to learn how to perform Yajnas for the satisfaction of Vishnu, so that while in the material world they can live very comfortably without anxiety in life. Then, after finishing the present material body, they can enter into the Kingdom of God. That is the whole program for the conditioned souls. By performance of Yajna, the conditioned souls gradually become Krishna conscious, and become godly in all respects. In this Age of Kali, the Samkirtan Yajna, or chanting the holy Names of God, is recommended by the Vedic scriptures, and this transcendental system was introduced by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for deliverance of all men. Samkirtan Yajna and Krishna consciousness go well together. Lord Krishna in His devotional form (as Lord Chaitanya) is worshiped in The Srimad Bhagwatam as follows, with special reference to the Samkirtan Yajna: "In this Age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient brain substance will worship the Lord, Who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of Samkirtan Yajna." Although other Yajnas prescribed in the Vedic literature are not easy to perform in this Age of Kali, the Samkirtan Yajna is the easiest and is sublime for all purposes, as is recommended in The Bhagavad Gita.

11:     The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you; thus nourishing one another, there will reign general prosperity for all.


THE DEMIGODS ARE empowered administrators of material affairs. The supply of air, light, water, and all other benedictions for maintenance of the body and soul of every living entity are entrusted to the demigods, who are innumerable assistants in different parts of the Body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their pleasures and displeasures are dependent on the performance of Yajnas by human beings. Some of the Yajnas are meant for satisfying the particular demigods, but even in so doing, Lord Vishnu is worshiped in all Yajnas as the chief Beneficiary. It is stated also in The Bhagavad Gita that Krishna Himself is the Beneficiary of all kinds of Yajnas. "Bhoktaram yajna tapasam." Therefore, ultimate satisfaction of the Lord is the chief purpose of all Yajnas. When these sacrifices are perfectly performed, naturally the demigods in charge of the different departments of supply are pleased, and there is no scarcity in the flow of natural products.

Performance of Yajnas has many side benefits, ultimately leading to liberation from the material bondage. By performance of sacrifice, all activities become purified, as is stated in the Vedas. As will be explained in the following verse, by performance of Yajnas, the eatables become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs, one's very existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence, finer tissues in the memory become sanctified; and memory being sanctified, one can think of the path of liberation, and all these combined together lead to Krishna consciousness, the great necessity of present-day society.

12:     In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of Yajna, supply all needs to man. But he who enjoys these gifts, without offering to the demigods in return, is certainly a thief.

13:     The devotees of the Lord are released from all sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.

14:     All living bodies subsist on food grains; food grains are produced from rains, rains come from performance of sacrifice, and sacrifice is born of man's work.

15:     Activity [karma] arises from the Vedas, and the Vedas spring from the Supreme Godhead. Therefore, the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.


YAJNARTHE KARMA, or the necessity for work for the satisfaction of Vishnu only, is more expressly stated in this verse. If we have to work for the satisfaction of the Yajna Purusa-Vishnu—then we must find the direction of work in Brahman, or the transcendental Vedas. The Vedas are therefore codes of working direction. Anything performed without the direction of the Vedas is called Vikarma, or unauthorized work, or sinful work. Therefore, one should always take direction from the Vedas to be saved from the reaction of work. As one has to work in ordinary life by the direction of the state, similarly, one has to work under direction of the supreme state of the Lord. Such instructions in the Vedas are directly manifested from the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said: "All the four Vedas—namely Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda, and Atharvaveda—are emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead." The Lord, being potent, can speak by His breathing air, as is confirmed in The Brahma Samhita, for the Lord has the omnipotence to perform through each of his senses the actions of all other senses. In other words, the Lord can speak through His breathing, and He can impregnate by His eyes. It is said that He glanced over the material Nature and thus fathered all the living entities. So, after impregnating the conditioned soul into the womb of material Nature, He gave His direction in the Vedic wisdom as to how such conditioned souls can return home, back to Godhead. We should always remember that the conditioned souls in material Nature are all eager for material enjoyment. And the Vedic directions are so made that one can satisfy one's perverted desires, then return to Godhead, having finished this so-called enjoyment. It is a chance for the conditioned souls to attain liberation; therefore, the conditioned souls must try to follow the process of Yajna by becoming Krishna conscious. Those who have not followed the Vedic injunction may adopt the principles of Krishna consciousness, and that will take the place of performance of Vedic Yajnas, or karma.

16:     My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow this prescribed Vedic system of sacrifice certainly leads a life of sin; for a person delighting only in the senses lives in vain.


THE MAMMONIST PHILOSOPHY—of work very hard and enjoy sense gratification—is condemned herewith by the Lord. For those who want to enjoy this material world, the above-mentioned cycle of sacrifices is absolutely necessary. One who does not follow such regulations is living a very risky life, being condemned more and more. By Nature's law, this human form of life is specifically meant for self-realization, in either of the three ways-namely Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, or Bhaktiyoga. There is no necessity of rigidly following the performances of the prescribed Yajnas. Such transcendentalists are above vice and virtue. But those who are engaged in sense gratification require purification by the above-mentioned cycle of Yajna performances. There are different kinds of activities. Those who are not Krishna conscious are certainly engaged in sensory consciousness, and therefore they need to execute pious work. The Yajna system is planned in such a way that the sensory conscious persons may satisfy their desires without becoming entangled in the reactions to such sense gratifying work. The prosperity of the world depends not on our own efforts, but on the background arrangement of the Supreme Lord, directly carried out by the demigods. Therefore, these sacrifices are directly aimed at the particular demigod mentioned in the Vedas. Indirectly, it is the practice of Krishna consciousness, because when one masters the performances of Yajnas, one is sure to become Krishna conscious. If, having performed Yajnas, one does not become Krishna conscious, such principles are counted as only moral codes. One should not, of course, limit his progress to the point of moral codes, but should transcend them, to attain Krishna consciousness.

17:     One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illumined in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully satiated—for him there is no duty.


A PERSON WHO IS fully Krishna conscious, and by his acts in Krishna consciousness is fully satisfied, no longer has anything to perform as his duty. Due to his becoming Krishna conscious, all the dirty things within are instantly cleansed, ordinarily an effect of many, many thousands of Yajna performances. By such clearing of consciousness one becomes fully confident of his eternal position in relationship with the Supreme. His duty thus becomes self-illuminated by the Grace of the Lord, and therefore he no longer has anything to do in terms of the Vedic injunctions. Such a Krishna conscious person is no longer interested in material activities, and no longer takes pleasure in material arrangements like wine, women, and similar infatuations.

18:     A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.

19:     Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains the Supreme.


THIS SUPREME IS the Personality of Godhead for the devotees, and liberation for the impersonalists. A person acting for Krishna, or in Krishna consciousness, under proper guidance and without attachment to the result of the work, is certainly making progress toward the supreme goal of life. Indirectly, Arjuna is told that he should fight the Battle of Kurukshetra without attachment, in the interest of Krishna, because Krishna wanted him to fight. To be a good man or a non-violent man is also a personal attachment, but to act on behalf of the Supreme's desire is to act without attachment for the result. That is the perfect action of the highest degree, recommended by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.

Vedic rituals, like prescribed sacrifices, are performed by persons for purification of impious activities that were performed in the field of sense gratification. But a person who is acting in Krishna consciousness is transcendental to the actions and reactions of good or evil work. A Krishna conscious person has no attachment for the result, but acts on behalf of Krishna alone. He engages in all kinds of activities, but is completely non-attached.

20:     Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.


KINGS LIKE JANAKA and others were all self-realized souls; consequently they had no obligation to perform the prescribed duties in the Vedas. Nonetheless, they performed all prescribed activities just to set examples for the people in general. Janaka was the father of Sita, and father-in-law of Lord Sri Rama. A great devotee of the Lord like King Janaka was transcendentally situated, but because he was the King of Mithila (a subdivision of Behar province in India) he had to teach his subjects how to act. In the Battle of Kurukshetra, the Lord wanted to teach people in general that violence is also necessary in a situation where good arguments fail. Before the Battle of Kurukshetra there was every effort to avoid the war, even by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the other party was determined to fight. So in such a right cause, there is a necessity for fighting. Therefore, although one who is situated in Krishna consciousness may not have any interest in the world, he still works to teach the public how to live and how to act. Experienced persons in Krishna consciousness can act in such a way that others will follow, and this is explained in the following verse.

21:     Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men will follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.

22:     O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Neither am I in want of anything, nor have I the need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.


EVERYTHING BEING in full opulence in the Personality of Godhead, and naturally existing in all Truth, there is no duty for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to perform. One who must receive the results of work has some designated duty, but one who has nothing to achieve within the three planetary systems certainly has no duty. And yet Lord Krishna is engaged on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra as the Leader of the Kshatriyas, because the Kshatriyas are duty-bound to give protection to the distressed. Although He is above all the regulations of revealed scriptures, He does not do anything which is not directed in the revealed scriptures.

23:     For, if I did not engage in work, O Partha, certainly all men would follow My path.

24:     If I should cease to work, then all these worlds would be put to ruination, and I would be the cause of creating unwanted population, and thereby destroy the peace of all sentient beings.


VARNASAMKARA IS unwanted population which disturbs the peace of the general society. In order to check this social disturbance, there are prescribed rules and regulations by which the population can automatically become peaceful and organized for spiritual progress in life. When Lord Krishna descends, naturally He deals with such rules and regulations in order to maintain the prestige and necessity of such important performances. The Lord is said to be the Father of all living entities, and if the living entities are misguided indirectly, the responsibility goes to the Lord. Therefore, whenever there is a general disregard of such regulative principles, the Lord Himself descends and corrects the society. We should, however, note carefully that although we have to follow the footsteps of the Lord, we still have to remember that we cannot imitate Him. Following and imitating are not on the same level. We cannot imitate the Lord by lifting Govardhan Hill, as the Lord did in His childhood. It is impossible for any human being. We have to follow His instructions, but we may not imitate Him at any length. The Srimad Bhagwatam affirms this as follows: "One should simply follow the instructions of the Controllers and should not imitate them in their activities. Their instructions are all good for us and any intelligent person must perform them as instructed. However, one should guard against trying to imitate their actions. One should not try to drink the ocean of poison, imitating Lord Shiva."

We should always remember the position of the Iswaras, those who can actually control the movements of the sun and moon. Without such power, one cannot imitate the Iswara, or the Super-powerful. The example set herein is very appropriate. Lord Shiva drank poison to the extent of swallowing an ocean, but if any common man tries to drink even a fragment of such a poison, he will be killed. There are many pseudo-devotees of Lord Shiva who want to indulge in smoking Ganja (marijuana) and similar intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Shiva they are calling death very near. Similarly, there are some pseudo-devotees of Lord Krishna who prefer to imitate the Lord in the matter of his Rasalila, or Dance of Love, forgetting their inability to lift the Govardhan Hill. It is best, therefore, that one not try to imitate the powerful, but simply endeavor to follow their instructions; nor should one try to occupy the post of the powerful without qualification. There are so many "incarnations" of God without the powers of the Supreme Godhead.

25:     As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, similarly, the learned may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.

26:     Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action. They should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of devotion.

27:     The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material Nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by Nature.


Two persons—one in Krishna consciousness and the other in material consciousness—working on the same level, may appear to be working on the same platform, but there is a wide gulf of difference in their respective positions. The person in material consciousness is convinced by false ego that he is the doer of everything. With him there is no consideration that the mechanism of the body is produced by material Nature, or that material Nature is under the supervision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The materialistic person has no knowledge that ultimately he is under the control of Krishna. The person in false ego takes all credit for doing everything independently, and that is the symptom of his nescience. He does not know that this gross and subtle body is the creation of material Nature, under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as such his bodily and mental activities should be engaged in the service of Krishna in Krishna consciousness. He does not know that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as Hrishikesha, or the Master of All Senses. But due to his long misuse of the senses, he is factually bewildered by the false ego, and that is the cause of his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Krishna.

28:     One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O Mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.


THE KNOWER OF THE Absolute Truth is convinced of his awkward position in material association. He knows that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, and that his position should not be in the material creation. He knows his real identity as part and parcel of the Supreme, Who is eternal bliss and knowledge; and he realizes that somehow or other he is now entrapped in the material conception of life. In his pure state of existence he is meant to dovetail his activities in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. He therefore engages himself in the activities of Krishna consciousness and becomes naturally unattached to the activities of the material senses, which are all circumstantial and temporary. He knows that his material condition of life is under the supreme control of the Lord; consequently he is not disturbed by any kind of material reaction, which he considers to be the mercy of the Lord. According to The Srimad Bhagwatam, one who knows the Absolute Truth in three different features—namely Brahman, Paramatma, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead—is called Tattvavit, for he knows also his own factual position in relationship with the Supreme.

29:     Bewildered by the modes of material Nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached, but the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers' lack of knowledge.


MEN WHO ARE ignorant cannot appreciate activities in Krishna consciousness, and therefore Lord Krishna advises us not to disturb them and simply waste valuable time. But the devotees of the Lord are more kind than the Lord, because they understand the purpose of the Lord. Consequently they undertake all kinds of risks, even to the point of approaching ignorant men to try to engage them in the acts of Krishna consciousness—which are absolutely necessary for the human being.

30:     Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy—fight.


THIS VERSE clearly indicates the whole purpose of The Bhagavad Gita. The Lord instructs that one has to become fully Krishna conscious to discharge duties, as if in military discipline. Such an injunction may make things a little difficult, but that is the constitutional position of the living entity. The living entity cannot be happy independent of the co-operation of the Supreme Lord, because the eternal constitutional position of the living entity is to become subordinate to the desires of the Lord. Arjuna was therefore ordered by Sri Krishna to fight as if the Lord were his military commander. One has to sacrifice everything for the good will of the Supreme Lord, and at the same time discharge his prescribed duties without claims of proprietorship. Arjuna did not have to consider the order of the Lord; he had only to execute His order. The Supreme Lord is the Soul of all souls, therefore one who depends solely and wholly on the Supreme Soul without personal consideration, or in other words one who is fully Krishna conscious, is called Adhyatmacetasa, full of self-knowledge. One has to act on the order of the master. One should not expect any fruitive result. The cashier may count millions of dollars for his employer, but he does not claim a cent out of the great amount of money. Similarly, one has to take it for granted that nothing in the world belongs to any individual person, but everything belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the real purport of Krishna saying "unto Me." And when one acts in such Krishna consciousness, certainly he does not claim proprietorship over anything; so this consciousness is called Nirmama, or "nothing is mine." And if there is any reluctance to execute such a stern order which is without consideration of so-called kinsmen in the bodily relationship, that reluctance should be thrown off; in this way one may become without feverish mentality or lethargy. Everyone, according to his quality and position, has a particular type of work to discharge, and all such duties may be discharged in Krishna consciousness, as described above. That will lead one to the path of liberation.

31:     One who executes his duties according to My injunctions and who follows this teaching faithfully becomes free from the bondage of fruitive actions.


THIS INJUNCTION of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the essence of all Vedic wisdom, and therefore is eternally true without exception. As the Vedas are eternal, so this truth of Krishna consciousness is also eternal. One should have firm faith in this injunction, without envying the Lord. There are many so-called philosophers who write comments on The Bhagavad Gita but have no faith in Krishna. They will never be liberated from the bondage of fruitive action. But an ordinary man with firm faith in the eternal injunctions of the Lord, even though unable to execute such orders, becomes liberated from the bondage of the law of karma. In the beginning of Krishna consciousness, one may not fully discharge the injunctions of the Lord, but because one is not resentful of this principle, and works sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will surely be promoted to the stage of pure Krishna consciousness.

32:     But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not practice them regularly, are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and doomed to ignorance and bondage.

33:     Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows his nature. What can repression accomplish?

34:     Attraction and repulsion for sense objects are felt by embodied beings, but one should not fall under the control of senses and sense objects, because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.

35:     It is far better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even though they may be faulty, than another's duties. Destruction in the course of performing one's own duty is better than engaging in another's duties, for to follow another's path is dangerous.

36:     Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrishni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?


A LIVING ENTITY, as part and parcel of the Supreme Personality, is originally spiritual and pure as well as free from all contaminations of matter. Therefore, by nature the living entity is not subjected to the sins of the material world. But factually, when the living entity is in contact with the material Nature, he acts in many sinful ways without hesitation. As such, Arjuna's question to Krishna is very sanguine, as to the perverted nature of the living entities. Although the living entity sometimes does not want to act in sin, he is still forced to act. This force is not, however, impelled by the Supersoul living with the living entity, but must be due to other causes. And that is explained in the next verse by the Lord.

37:     The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath; and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.

38:     As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, similarly, the living entity is covered by different degrees of this lust.


THERE ARE THREE degrees of covering of the pure living entity, and thereby the pure consciousness of the living entity, or Krishna consciousness, is embarrassed by non-manifestation. This covering is but lust, under different manifestations like smoke in the fire, dust on the mirror, and the womb about the embryo. When lust is compared to smoke it is understood that the fire of the living spark can be a little perceived. In other words, when the living entity exhibits his Krishna consciousness slightly, he may be likened to the fire covered by smoke. Although fire is necessary where there is smoke, there is no overt manifestation of fire in the early stage. This stage can be compared with the beginning of Krishna consciousness. The comparison of the dust of the mirror refers to the cleansing process of the mirror of the mind by so many spiritual methods. The best process is to chant the holy Names of the Lord. The comparison of the embryo being covered by the womb is an analogy illustrating the most awkward position, for the child in the womb is so helpless that it cannot even move. This stage of living condition can be compared also to the trees. The trees are living entities, but they have been put into that condition of life by such a great exhibition of lust that they are almost void of all consciousness. The covered mirror is compared to the birds and beasts, and smoke-covered fire is compared to the human being. In the form of a human being, the living entity can perceive a little Krishna consciousness, and if he makes further development, the fire of spiritual life can be kindled in the human form. By careful handling of the smoke in the fire, the fire can be made to blaze, and therefore the human form of life is a chance for the living entity to escape the entanglement of material existence. In the human form of life, one can conquer the enemy, lust, by culture of Krishna consciousness under able guidance.

39:     Thus, a man's pure consciousness is covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.

40:     The senses, the mind, and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust, which veils the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.

41:     Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb the great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.

42:     The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.

43:     Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to material senses, mind, and intelligence, one should control the lower self by the higher self and thus—by spiritual strength—conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.


THIS THIRD CHAPTER of The Bhagavad Gita is conclusively directive to Krishna consciousness, through knowing oneself as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without considering impersonal voidness as the ultimate end. In the material existence of life, one is certainly influenced by propensities of lust and desire for dominating the resources of material Nature. Such desire for overlording and sense gratification are the greatest enemies of the conditioned soul; but by the strength of Krishna consciousness, one can conquer the material senses and the mind, along with the intelligence. One may not give up work and prescribed duties all of a sudden, but by gradually developing one's Krishna consciousness, one can be situated in a transcendental position without being influenced by the material senses and the mind—by steady intelligence directed toward one's pure identity. This is the sum total of this chapter. In the immature stage of material existence, philosophical speculations and artificial attempts to control the senses by the so-called practice of yogic postures can never help a man toward spiritual life. He must be trained in Krishna consciousness by higher intelligence.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Third Chapter of The Srimad Bhagavad Gita, in the matter of Karmayoga, or the acting of one's prescribed duty in Krishna consciousness.