Chapter 3 Verse 5 – Karma Yoga

Sloka

Na hi kashchit kshanamapi jaatu tishthatyakarmakrit;
Kaaryate hyavashah karma sarvah prakritijair gunaih.

Translation

No one can ever remain for even a moment without performing action;
for, everyone is made to act helplessly indeed by the qualities born of Nature.

Interpretation

Continuing his explanation on action and actionlessness Lord Krishna in this Shloka tells Arjuna about the secret and reasons for performing the action. He tells Arjuna that no one who is alive, can stay without performing an action even for a moment. That means we are all performing actions all the time. The second significant point that Lord Krishna tells is that everyone’s actions are helplessly driven by the qualities that he was born with. Here the word helpless means that the person is forced to perform certain actions due to his basic nature.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The point that we need to consider is “Actions of a person depends on the nature with which he is born”. This is very important. We all feel that our parents, our surroundings and our environment is responsible for different actions that we do. That to an extent is right. But what makes two people to be different even though they are born and raised in the same environment meeting same people. This is where nature of the person at birth comes into picture. Then the question is will a person have a pre-defined nature when he/she is born?

The answer is Yes. In Samkhya Yoga we learnt about body and soul. soul is a constant acquirer of knowledge and the person’s behaviour depends upon the amount of knowledge that he has acquired. Let’s take an example of twins who are born at same time, and are sent to same school and collage given same education. But still they are different. Why? It is because they are two different souls who have lived different lives and acquired different knowledge. Its a choice of their souls to share the body given by parents. That doesn’t make them same. The differences that existed in previous births exist even today. That is why they choose to do different actions that produces different results.

One twin might want to sit at home and study while another twin might want to go and have fun with friends. One twin might want to pursue higher education while other twin might want to take up job and earn money. Like this every action is depending on the thought process that emerges from the soul. The place he is born and the parents and environment play only a limited role. This is how Lord Krishna explains the concept of “helplessness of a person in performing actions” which are linked to the nature with which he is born!