Chapter 3 Sloka 1 – Karma Yoga

Sloka

Arjuna UvaachaJyaayasee chet karmanaste mataa buddhir janaardana;
Tat kim karmani ghore maam niyojayasi keshava.

Translation

Arjuna said:
If it be thought by you that knowledge is superior to action, O Krishna,
why then, O Kesava, you ask me to engage in this terrible action?

Interpretation

With this shloka starts the 3rd Chapter of Karma yoga or yoga of action of Bhagavad Gita. Karma yoga is based on the yoga of action and the right work to do to attain spirituality. Karma yoga starts with Arjuna asking a different set of questions to Lord Krishna. The first question that Arjuna asks Lord Krishna is that if knowledge is considered to be more superior to action then why Lord Krishna is asking him to fight this war? In a way he is asking Lord Krishna that why should I wage a war and do action when I always have an option of acquiring knowledge to satisfy the urge and growth of my spirituality!

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

In life, there is always this dilemma that if knowledge is superior to action, then why should one perform action? Confusing is it? First you should understand the meaning of knowledge and action. Guru or teacher is associated with knowledge. Is it the duty of a teacher to impart only knowledge to his student and not worry about anything else. That means, if the student is not taking the knowledge properly and he is neglecting his studies then what should a teacher do? Does his role ends only with imparting knowledge or should he do some action and create situations which make the student realise the mistakes he is doing.

This is a very important aspect because if the guru gets into the action mode then he is seen exceeding his responsibility. Other point is if the teacher stops giving knowledge and gets into administrative activities like discipline etc, then he would spiritually degrade himself because knowledge is superior to action. So, can it be believed that a teacher should be a constant acquirer of knowledge and transmit them to his students not bothering about anything else. This is a very important dilemma for every teacher at every level of education and all are looking forward to Lord Krishna’s comments on the superiority of knowledge over actions!