Chapter 3 Karma Yoga Verse 19

Sloka

Prakriteh kriyamaanaani gunaih karmaani sarvashah;
Ahamkaaravimoodhaatmaa kartaaham iti manyate.

Translation

All actions are wrought in all cases by the qualities of Nature only.
He whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks: “I am the doer”.

Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna talks about the triggers or the motivators for doing an action. Lord Krishna says that Prakriti or Nature is that state in which the three Gunas exist in a state of equilibrium. When this equilibrium is disturbed, creation begins and the body, senses and mind are formed. The man who is filled by egoism identifies himself with the body, mind, the life-force and the senses and thinks that he is the master of all of them. He also thinks that every action that he is doing is coming from within himself. In reality the Gunas of nature perform all actions, not the person is what Lord Krishna tells Arjuna.

Extending the Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Think of everytime you say, “I did this”, “all this happened because of me”. You also feel good and feel happy for that action you did. But the question is, Is that action triggered by you or have you performed that action only by a trigger that occurred to you from inside? The answer for this is bit tough. Let me explain. Actions are ours but the triggers for those actions come from God. So, if you think that you only is the initiator of all those actions then you are a sinner who is living in the World of illusion.

These actions that we do are based on the gunas that we possess. There are three gunas, satvik, rajasic and tamasic. All our actions are triggered by the energies generated by these gunas. Satvik energies are pure energies which makes us to do actions like helping others, saying good things etc. Rajasic energy is aggressive and it helps in doing actions like taking control of situations, arguments, fights, debates etc. The third form of energy is the tamasic energy which will make us to enjoy movies, listen to music, fall in love be romantic etc. So, the actions are initiated by the gunas created by God and we only respond to those energies and do actions. These actions depend on the type of gunas we absorb and it is again onto us as to what kind of gunas energy that we want to absorb.