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.