In continuation to my earlier posts on Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 Summary, below I summarize Chapter 3.
Chapter 3 (Path of Action) Summary –
Arjun says to Shri Krishna, if the knowledge is superior to deeds, then why is Shri Krishna confusing him and asking him to engage in such a terrible deed as war?
To this Shri Krishna replies, it is a two-fold path – the path of Knowledge which is called Sankhya Yoga, and the other is the path of action, which is called Karma Yoga. However, everyone is compelled to work and no one can abstain from working. Shri Krishna further tells Arjun to perform his prescribed duties, as action is superior to inaction.
Shri Krishna says – When Brahma created humanity, he advised humans to perform actions as sacrifices. This cherishes the Devas and so the humans can flourish and will be given desirable things. Rain fosters the cultivation of food, which is essential for all humans, and rain is the outcome of sacrifices. One who does not follow this cycle of sacrifice is living in vain and is only delighting his senses.
But a person who rejoices in self is a self-realised person and has no duty to perform. Such a person is not dependent on any other human being for anything. A person who performs his duty with no attachment attains the Ultimate.
He says there is no compulsion of any duty to be performed by me. Yet I am engaged in performing my duties, because if I don’t perform my duties, then everyone else will follow me and this will lead to inactivity.
The wise people should inspire ignorant people to perform all their duties. Ignorant people are the ones who are attached to their actions. All actions originate from qualities of nature (Prakriti), and it is the mind which is deluded by the sense of ‘I’ and considers itself to be the doer. Thus, he encourages Arjun to surrender all actions to Shri Krishna and engage in the battle.
He says, they also released who follow his teachings from their Karmas, however those who do not follow his teachings are mindless and get ruined. It is better to perform one’s own Dharma, even if the person fails. As performing someone else’s Dharma can be dangerous.
To this Arjun asks – what causes people to perform actions against their own will?
Shri Krishna replies, it is the desire and the anger which causes this. Craving, which is like insatiable fire, covers the knowledge of such people. And the senses, the mind and the intellect drive this craving. The senses are superior to sense objects; the mind is superior to the senses, and the intellect is superior to the mind. And the most superior of all is the Self, the Soul.
Thus, he asks Arjun to restrain his senses, to steady himself, and to destroy this craving.