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Swe swe karmanyabhiratah samsiddhim labhate narah; Swakarmaniratah siddhim yathaa vindati tacchrinu.

Each man, devoted to his own duty, attains perfection. How he attains perfection while being engaged in his own duty, hear now.

Interpretation

After talking about the duties of the four varnas ie Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras, Lord is here talking about the concept of perfection. Lord says that every man has to perform some duty or the other at every moment of his life. As he is devoted to his own duty he starts to attain perfection in that. Lord here also refers to the concept of attaining perfection while he is engaged in his own duty. Thus the word perfection comes here two times, once while being devoted to his duty and the other while engaged in his duty. Then Lord tells Arjuna to listen carefully how this perfection can be attained.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The word one needs to focus is “own duty” or swa-dharma. What is this own duty, and how do we identify what our duty is? This is one question that Lord will answer in the coming shlokas. Not only that he is also going to talk about how a person needs to be devoted to his own duty. We see many people who when engaged in a particular activity they attain a high degree of mastery on it. I have heard story of how a kanchi sari was packed and stacked in a matchbox and sent to Queen Elizabeth. To weave a sari to fit into a matchbox is no ordinary skill and requires a very high degree of perfection. This perfection comes only through devotion and constantly doing that activity. So, let us wait what Lord says about swa-dharma and how it leads to perfection.