Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 3
Shloka
Sri Bhagavaan Uvaacha:
Aksharam brahma paramam swabhaavo’dhyaatmamuchyate;
Bhootabhaavodbhavakaro visargah karmasamjnitah.
Translation
The Blessed Lord said:
Brahman is the Imperishable, the Supreme; His essential nature is called Self-knowledge;
the offering to the gods which causes existence and manifestation of beings and which also sustains them is called action.
Interpretation
After a series of questions from Arjuna, Lord Krishna now starts to speak again. In this sloka He speaks about the two things that Arjuna asked in the first sloka which is about Brahman and Action. Lord Krishna says that Brahman is something that cannot be perished and it is the supreme force in the entire universe. Talking about the nature of Brahman Lord Krishna says that anything which is self-knowledge is Brahman. Next He goes on to explain Action. Lord says that whatever is offered to Gods that results in the existence and manifestation of human beings and helps them to sustain in this world is called action.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
What is self-knowledge? It is not studying or learning things by a person himself. Self-Knowledge is the knowledge about one’s self. When we say Self we are referring to the soul. Knowing about one’s soul is Brahman because the process of knowing one’s soul is never ending. There are so many secrets and so many learnings that are hidden in the soul and once the conscious mind or the senses knows about the soul, it enlightens the body and makes the body work towards unifying itself with the soul. That unification finally takes the person to brahman. since the path to Brahman is knowing the Self, the knowledge of that self is the essential nature of Brahman.
What is action? Any activity, physical, mental and supramental is considered to be an action. Man is always on the path of action and cannot live without performing the actions. Then, can we say that everything that a human does is action? The answer is no. Action here like Self Knowledge has a different meaning. Action is something that takes us closer to God. Everything that you do, which takes you closer to God is action. The best example of action is doing one’s dharma. If you are a educator, your dharma is to educate people. Education is not just restricted to classroom. Any kind of action done to change people and show them the right path is the dharma of educator and he needs to do that without any fear or hesitation.