Category Archives: Bhagavadgita

Bhagavad Gita – The Way of Life!

Bhagavad gita is the Holy book which will teach us the way to live life. I have heard it many times from my childhood. But there was always this urge in me of interpreting it myself which remained unfulfilled till now. Now I have decided to embark upon this journey of reading the Gita and interpreting it. This category I will be interpreting each sloka everyday and share the same with you all!

Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 30 Bhagavadgita

Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 30

Sloka

Evam buddheh param buddhwaa samstabhyaatmaanam aatmanaa;
Jahi shatrum mahaabaaho kaamaroopam duraasadam.

Translation

Thus, knowing Him who is superior to the intellect and restraining the self by the Self,
slay thou, O mighty-armed Arjuna, the enemy in the form of desire, hard to conquer!

Interpretation

This is the shloka where Lord Krishna does the summary of everything that He says in Karma yoga. This is the last shloka of Karma Yoga where the Lord advises Arjuna to restrain the lower self by the higher Self, subdue the lower mind by the higher mind. He says it is difficult to conquer desire because it is of highly complex and incomprehensible nature. But a man of knowledge, wisdom and dispassion, who does constant and intense Sadhana, can conquer these senses quite easily.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

As many things are already explained in the previous shlokas, I will touch upon the most prominent thing of desires and their nature. Desires are not as simple as we think they are. Suppose you feel like watching a movie. When you listen to a sadhguru or read speaking tree, which says control desire, we assume that stopping oneself from going to a movie is controlling desire. So, we stop going to a movie, study in that time and think we have overcome the desires. In reality we have not overcome the desires at all. How? Let me explain.

Overcoming the desires is not controlling them and doing something to forget those desires. Overcoming desires means genuinely losing interest in doing them. The day you actually feel like not going to a movie or playing cards or drinking alcohol you have come out of the desires. Desire is a thought, it is not the action. Thoughts leads to action. If you allow the thought but control the action, it is not overcoming the desire. You will overcome the desires the day you get over the thoughts also.

This, very few people understand and very few people can practice. That is why it is said that desires are highly complex in nature. The person who understands and overcomes them don’t need any external source to control these desires. Internally he gets that feeling of not getting those thoughts. The followers of Karma yoga should hence think, that controlling or doing an action is not enough. You need to get over the thought that you want to control and get in the thought on which you want to act. That is “karma Yoga” and that person is a “Karma Yogi”!

Chapter 3 Sloka 29 Bhagavadgita

Chapter Karma Yoga Verse 29

Sloka

Indriyaani paraanyaahur indriyebhyah param manah;
Manasastu paraa buddhir yo buddheh paratastu sah.

Translation

They say that the senses are superior to the body; superior to the senses is the mind;
superior to the mind is the intellect; and one who is superior even to the intellect is He the Self.

Interpretation

After talking about various things that trigger actions in an individual, Lord Krishna in this shloka is putting them in the order of importance. He says that senses of an individual are superior to one’s body. It is because the body is nothing without senses. He then says that mind is superior to senses. It is because all the senses are controlled by the mind. He then goes on to say that intellect is superior to mind. It is because knowledge and intellect shapes the mind and finally Lord says that Self is superior to intellect because the intellect of so many lives rests in the Self. That is the secret of life!

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This is also one of the most important shlokas of Gita. When Lord Krishna ranks body, senses, mind, intellect and self, He is talking about individuals in the various stages and how they progress to the next level. When you have to understand the superiority of senses over the body you need to see a small baby. A baby is a body which has not fully discovered is senses. It sleeps for almost 16-18 hours a day. When no senses are making sense, the baby only sleeps. As the baby gets to hear, touch, see and taste it starts developing and this clearly explains the superiority of senses over the body.

Next you can see the superiority of mind over senses in a boy under the age of 12. This boy has a mind which works very sharply. For example, if he sees his parents or friends or relatives he recognizes them and goes to them and talks. But when a stranger comes he wont encourage that stranger and stays away. To explain the superiority of intellect over the mind you need to take an adult. A boy under 12, goes to any relative and talks innocently. But an adult is choosy and talks only things that are required and talks to people whom he likes. He also make friends whom he finds comfortable and avoids people whom he can’t connect to. This is called as intellect which he learns in the due process of life.

Finally if we have to look at the superiority of Self over intellect one needs to look at a Yogi. He is calm, steady and he doesn’t like or dislike people. He rises above all of them. It is because when one understands his-Self, he will look at things in holistic way and all these jealousy, greed etc will not affect him. This is the progress of life. We can see one person progressing through all this in one life or sometimes it takes multiple lives for the person to progress from one stage to another. This is the secret of life and the secret of attaining salvation.

Chapter 3 Sloka 28 Bhagavadgita

Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 28

Sloka

Tasmaat twam indriyaanyaadau niyamya bharatarshabha;
Paapmaanam prajahi hyenam jnaana vijnaana naashanam.

Translation

Therefore, O best of the Bharatas, Arjuna, controlling the senses first,
do thou kill this sinful desire, the destroyer of knowledge and realisation

Interpretation

After talking about how the wisdom is covered by senses, Lord Krishna turns his attention to advising Arjuna how to control the senses. He says that Arjuna is a greatest of all Pandavas because of his valour and knowledge. Such a great person should control have control on his senses all the time. After the senses are under control then he should work towards killing the sinful desires in him. It is important to get rid of them because they are the ones which destroy the knowledge of a person and prevents him from getting the feeling of the realisation of soul. So, once the desires are under control, a person can automatically get into the stage of realisation.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The main point to note here is how desires prevent us from getting knowledge and in realisation of our dreams. When you are a child, you have lot of dreams. You want to become a pilot or a teacher or a doctor. But as you grow older, you start rejecting these dreams because you will be overtaken by desires which prompts you to enjoy life and in that enjoyment you forget your dreams. It is only after years of living in the sinful world of desires you will realise that you have totally ignored your goals and you have wasted your life.

As a child when you see a doctor treating an ill person and make him healthy, you also want to become a doctor like him. It actually doesn’t mean that you should only become a doctor. It means that you want to serve the society. As your knowledge increases with age, you will find out that being doctor is not the only way to serve the society and there are many other ways and means. That helps you in discovering your path and goal. For that to happen one should not be under the influence of desires. Once he is out of them he will realise his dreams through the knowledge he acquires.

Chapter 3 Sloka 27 Bhagavadgita

Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 27

Sloka

Aavritam jnaanam etena jnaanino nityavairinaa;
Kaamaroopena kaunteya dushpoorenaanalena cha.

Translation

O Arjuna, wisdom is enveloped by this constant enemy of the wise
in the form of desire, which is unappeasable as fire!

Interpretation

After talking about the ego which covers our actions and spoils them, Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about the desires which envelopes the wisdom of the wise men. He says that Wisdom of wise people is constantly engulfed by something called desire. That means when desire takes over wisdom wise men automatically lose their wise virtues. Lord Krishna also compares these desires as an unappeasable fire. That means these desire are like that fire which cannot be brought under control, whatever the person may do to bring it under control.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Here the things to be considered are the desires and the fire. There is a lot of similarities between desires and fire. Fire is used for cooking food, giving warmth and for burining the decayed and decomposed things. In that way fire is a good thing. Similarly desires also helps us to understand our needs, they also give rise to our goals and aspirations and also in finding happiness in situations. Some of the examples of desires are wanting a happy life style, enjoying a vacation with wife and children and reaching the top position at your work place. These are all good effects of desires that helps in the progress and development of an individual and are directly comparable with the positive effects of fire.

Fire also has its negative effects. What happens if you put your hands into fire? It burns your fingers. What happens if you behave carelessly with fire? It engulfs everything and burns down everything. Example is, if you dont have proper fire safety in your factory or a mall, it can burn it down completely causing huge loss to your wealth as well as to your life. Same is the case with desires. If you become excessively addicted to desires, it ruins you. Like excessive drinking or womanizing or gambling or obsession for money can ruin an individual’s life. Just as we take care of fire, we also need to take care of our desires and keep them under control. Then only you will be called as a wise man.

Chapter 3 Sloka 26 Bhagavadgita

Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 26

Sloka

Dhoomenaavriyate vahnir yathaadarsho malena cha;
Yatholbenaavrito garbhas tathaa tenedam aavritam.

Translation

As fire is enveloped by smoke, as a mirror by dust,
and as an embryo by the amnion, so is this enveloped by ego.

Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna turns his attention to arrogance and aggressive behaviour that comes out of ego. He says that just as the fire will be killed by the smoke and the mirror’s beauty is spoilt by the dust and the embryo which has life is covered by the amnion membrane the ego of the person will cover his ability to do right actions. That means any actions performed by an individual who has got ego will be as useless as fire killed by smoke, the mirror spoilt by dust and the embryo hidden by amnion. No one will be able to see such actions in its true sense.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The focus here is actions driven by ego. Ego is one factor which has the capability of spoiling the quality of any action. Let us take an example. A student is not serious in his studies and keeps neglecting the studies and the teacher punishes him. How will the student take it? If he has ego he will take it negatively and develops hatred and dislike towards the teacher. His actions are driven by that hate generated by that ego. He starts disrespecting the teacher, abuses him infront of others and starts skipping classes. He falsely starts believing that this is the punishment he is giving the teacher for insulting him. But the reality is he is spoiling his own life. He will realise that once he fails to achieve his goal.

As long as ego is there in an individual it acts like a layer that prevents us from seeing the reality. It hides the reality and makes us to believe in unreal things. There are some people who destroy everything for the sake of ego and finally are left with nothing. This is a very important lesson to learn that one needs to stay out of ego and do actions to get the right results from them.

Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 25

Sloka

Shreyaan swadharmo vigunah paradharmaat swanushthitaat;
Swadharme nidhanam shreyah paradharmo bhayaavahah.

Translation

Better is one’s own duty, though devoid of merit, than the duty of another well discharged.
Better is death in one’s own duty; the duty of another is filled with fear.

Interpretation

This is one of the most famous shlokas of Karma Yoga in Bhagavadgita. In this shloka Lord krishna talks to Arjuna about the one’s own duties and one’s own actions and compares them with actions we perform on other’s dharma. Here Lord Krishna explains that doing the actions that is defined by his own dharma is much better even if it doesn’t give any merit. Doing actions confirming to one dharma even though it is not successful is much better than the actions committed by other’s dharma, that gives success. Lord Krishna also says that It is better to die doing one’s duty, as doing actions copied from others dharma is worse than death!

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

How many times it has happened that you choose a particular specialization or a particular profession just because your friends are doing it or it is suggested by them!! Is it right? It is not right because, when you don’t choose your dharma and perform actions accordingly, you will never be able to get success in life. Just because your friend is studying a particular subject, you also select the same, then you will always be under him because you are following him, so you will always be behind him. A person who doesn’t have the ability to lay a path for himself can never attain success in any path that he walks.

So, its always better to choose what we want. You should sit quietly, meditate and talk to yourself. When you talk to yourself in total silence, you will get a path and that path becomes your dharma. You need to adopt that dharma and start doing actions to fulfil that dharma. Then success comes automatically. Even if you don’t succeed it is better to have your own path because, one day you will learn how to succeed following that path. But if you keep following other’s path, hoping to meet some success, you will never be able to get anything. It is because the fruits of success would already be consumed by the person who walked before you on that path, and there is nothing left for you.
Following other’s path and adopting them as your dharma to do actions  is worse than death. It is because you would remain as an ignorant and foolish person who never does anything on his own. Such situations will morally and spiritually degrade you and make you an inferior person. So, a great person is the one who identifies his dharma and starts doing actions to accomplish it, rather than comparing himself with others and measuring success or failure from the yardstick of others!

Chapter 3 Sloka 24 Bhagavadgita

Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 24

Sloka

Indriyasyendriyasyaarthe raagadweshau vyavasthitau;
Tayor na vasham aagacchet tau hyasya paripanthinau.

Translation

Attachment and aversion for the objects of the senses abide in the senses;
let none come under their sway, for they are his foes.

Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna talks about the state of mind that one should have when performing actions. He says that there should neither be an attachment or an aversion to the senses. It is because if you are attached to senses then your actions are influenced. If you have aversion or dislike for the senses also, it affects your actions. One should not allow any of the objects of senses to come under the influence of attachment or aversion. He says that the attachment is the biggest enemy that will force us to be biased in our actions.

Extending the Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

When someone tells you not to get attached to the senses while performing the task, how would you approach the task? You would approach the task with a dislike to the senses. You will think that these 5 senses that you have are the disturbances to your spirituality, ultimately developing a dislike towards them. It is a wrong thing to do. It is abecause aversion is the opposite to attachment. Like the way you should not do anything by attaching yourself to senses, you should not do anything by disliking the senses.

Imagine how it would be, if you do not like the eyes you see, the ears you hear and the tongue you taste. That would mean you develop a dislike to everything in life and that would mean you lose interest in life. A person who cannot like his own senses can never walk on the spiritual path. He will not like what he sees nor likes what he eats. That means he starts hating his body and the soul will never like the body being hated. Thus one should approach the actions with the sense of neutrality and that alone will help a person in attaining spirituality.

Chapter 3 Sloka 23 Bhagavadgita

Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 23

Sloka

Sadrisham cheshtate swasyaah prakriter jnaanavaan api;
Prakritim yaanti bhootaani nigrahah kim karishyati.

Translation

Even a wise man acts in accordance with his own nature;
beings will follow nature; what can restraint do?

Interpretation

Here Lord Krishna talks about the benefits of doing actions. He tells Arjuna that everyone in this world has to perform actions. Ignorant people think that doing work is taxing one’s body and prefer to take rest. A wise man on the other hand always thinks and does some work depending on his nature. But as nature is defined by senses and so controlling the senses is very important. This can be done through meditation and that meditation, can easily control Nature if he rises above the influence of the pairs of opposites, like love and hate, kindness and anger, etc.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The word that needs concentration here is “restraint”. What is restraint? It is the ability of an individual to stay away from doing any action. But why do people stay away from doing action? It is because of fear and discomfort. How many times we feel like telling someone something but dont do that because either we fear losing that person or the discomfort that gets created because of telling that. When we do an action it creates love or hate or generates kindness or anger and our actions are linked to these vices. That makes us to practice restraint. Let me explain with an example.

How many times it happens that we don’t tell something to our parents or other elders fearing that they will get angry! That is nothing but restraint. We stop ourselves from doing that action of telling something to that person. It is bad because one should not fear something and stop doing actions. So we need to have courage to tell that. Next question is how do we get that courage? It comes through meditation. Meditation is the only way in which a person gets the ability to get over the influences of his senses.

Mediation helps everyone in rising above the senses. If we take the same example, the person when he does the meditation will get the power to say anything which is right to his parents or elders. And if the other person who hears that also does meditation he/she will also get the courage to face the situation and take the action positively. When we dont have that courage then we scold the person who advises us by putting down. So, action should never stop and it should always be directed at developing an individual.

Chapter 3 Sloka 22 Bhagavadgita

Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 22

Sloka

Mayi sarvaani karmaani sannyasyaadhyaatma chetasaa;
Niraasheer nirmamo bhootwaa yudhyaswa vigatajwarah.

Translation

Renouncing all actions in Me, with the mind centred in the Self,
free from hope and egoism, and from mental fever, you should fight.

Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna talks about how the work should be done. Till now we have seen various aspects of doing work and now Lord Krishna says that one should approach the work by trusting the Lord completely. Once the person surrenders himself to the Lord he then should make himself free from the hope of the result and the egoism associated with it. He should then surrender all actions to the Lord with the thought: “I perform all actions for the sake of the Lord only.”

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

What is “prasadam”? It is the food item that is offered to God first before we eat it. Why do we offer prasadam to God? It is with the belief that the action of preparing the food is done for the sake of God only. So when it is done for the sake of God, it is natural that we offer it to God before eating them. Now if we extend the same logic to other things, do we do all our actions for the sake of God? It is an interesting question because when you think of different actions you do in a day you can never imagine that you can do every action for the sake of God.

But the reality won’t change if we are in denial. Every action we do for the sake of God only. If a human being understands that then there will be a huge transformation in his attitude. Next time before using a bad word against anyone, the person speaking will think before saying it. If the thought comes to his mind that like prasadam which comes to you through God, this bad word also goes to the other person through God, he never utters it. The same holds good before cheating someone or harming someone or making someone’s life miserable.

Life is a gift of God and it is given to us to do things that makes everyone’s life good and better. That is why there is God’s hand in everything that we do. The food that we eat is God’s gift, so we never throw food. The words we speak is God’s gift so we should speak kind and good words and the acts we commit are also gifts of God so we should commit good acts. Imagine if the whole world follows this, then how beautiful and enjoyable will this World be!!!