03. The Path of Action : Karma-yoga

Arjuna said: O Janardana, O Kesava, if You consider that resolute and determined spiritual intelligence (vyavasayatmika buddhi) is better than action in goodness and passion, then why do You engage me in the violent activity of warfare?
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My intelligence is confused by Your words. They appear to be ambiguous, sometimes supporting action and sometimes supporting knowledge. So please instruct me which of these two paths is most beneficial for me.
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The Supreme Lord replied: I have already described the two types of faith to be found in this world. I have established that the learned who are aware of the conscious world, and those who are mainly active in the mundane plane, both engage in the (rudim
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Without performing scripturally enjoined duties, one cannot attain knowledge leading to freedom from action and reaction. How can a person of impure heart obtain perfection by abandoning his prescribed duties?
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No one can remain without acting even for a moment. Everyone is forced to act helplessly, stimulated by the modes of material nature. Therefore, it is improper for a person of impure consciousness to reject the purificatory duties prescribed by the scrip
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One who externally restrains his hands, legs, and other senses of action, but whose mind dwells in sense objects, is a fool. Know him as a hypocrite.
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O Arjuna, one in married life who has controlled his senses by the mind, and who, without attachment, has begun to perform karma-yoga, through his working senses, is far superior to such a hypocrite.
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Perform your ablutions, worship, and other daily duties. Since even bodily sustenance is not possible without action, it is better for an unqualified person to perform his duty rather than renounce it. By giving up fruitive action and regularly performin
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Selfless duty performed as an offering to the Supreme Lord is called yajna, or sacrifice. O Arjuna, all action performed for any other purpose is the cause of bondage in this world of repeated birth and death. Therefore, remaining unattached to the fruit
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In the beginning of creation, Lord Brahma created the populace along with sacrifices for the Supreme Lord Visnu. Brahma instructed thus: "Taking shelter of this religious principle of sacrifice, prosper and flourish. May this sacrifice fulfill all your d
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"Propitiate the demigods by this sacrifice and those gods, thus pleased, may satisfy you by bestowing all your desired success. In this way, through mutual goodwill, you will be the gainer of great auspiciousness.
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The demigods, who are integral parts of My external manifestation, certainly award all your necessities, being satisfied with the performance of sacrifice. By the grace of the demigods, who are all under My shelter, there is sufficient rain, sunlight, an
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Virtuous souls are liberated from all sins arising from the five different kinds of violence towards all living entities, by accepting the remnants of foodstuffs from the five great sacrifices offered to the universal demigods. But miscreants who prepare
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From food, living beings arise, and from rains, food is produced. From the performance of sacrifice, rainfall ensues, and sacrifice is born of action.
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Action arises from the Vedas, and the Vedas originate in Aksara, the Infallible One. Therefore, the allpervading, infallible Supreme Lord, is eternally situated within the acts of sacrifice offered unto Him.
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O Arjuna, a man in either the stage of action or knowledge who does not follow this causal cyclic system which is directly established by the Supreme Lord, certainly leads a sinful life. Such a compulsive sense-enjoyer maintains his life in vain.
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But there is no duty to fulfill for one who delights within the self, rejoices in the self alone, and is fully self-satisfied within. He works only for the bare necessities of bodily sustenance.
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In this world, a self-realized person who rejoices in the soul does not accrue piety by the performance of actions, nor does he incur sin by abstaining from duties. Amongst all living entities, from the highest life-forms of the planet of Lord Brahma dow
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Therefore, giving up all attachment to the fruits of action, always perform your prescribed activites as a matter of duty. By the continual performance of action without attachment, a living being attains liberation. And true liberation is the state of e
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King Janaka and other learned personalities attained to perfection in devotion by performing their prescribed duties. Therefore, it is proper that you perform your duty for the instruction of the masses.
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The general masses imitate the ways of great men. They follow whatever the great personality accepts as the right conclusion.
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O Arjuna, I, the Supreme Lord, have no duty whatsoever in the three worlds, since there is nothing unobtained or necessary to be obtained by Me; and yet, personally, I am active.
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O Arjuna, if I ever avoid activity then all men, following in My footsteps, will give up their duties.
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If I do not perform duties, then, following My example, all the inhabitants of these worlds will renounce their duties and thereby come to ruination. Thus I will be the cause of social turmoil due to unvirtuous population, and in this way, I will be resp
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O Arjuna, as ignorant, attached persons work, the wise must also work, but without attachment, in order to protect the svadharma or religious principles of those who are competant to follow the path of action. The difference is not in the actions of thes
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The scholarly proponents of the path of knowledge must not confuse ignorant, attached men by deviating them with the advice, "Leave aside action, and cultivate knowledge." Rather, controlling their own minds, the learned should perform all the various du
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All the various activities are in every way carried out by the (senses activated by the) modes of material nature. But a man deluded by identifying himself with his body and its extensions thinks, "I alone am accomplishing this."
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However, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one who is in full knowledge of the classification of the material modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance, and their respective functions pertaining to the demigods, the senses, and the sense objects he does not falsely
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A person influenced by the modes of material nature is like a man possessed by a ghost. Completely captivated, he is addicted to sensual enjoyment of the various sense objects. One in perfect wisdom should not agitate such ignorant, dull-brained (and unq
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Surrender all your activities unto Me with this understanding: "All my actions are under the control of the indwelling Lord." In such consciousness, free from all sense of possessiveness and lamentation take recourse to battle (as your svadharma, natural
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Faithful and unbegrudging men who constantly practice this yoga path of selfless action as favored by Me, attain liberation from the bondage of action - even though they are active.
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However those, who, out of envy, do not follow these teachings of Mine, are devoid of all good sense. Know such men as completely ignorant and doomed to ruination.
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Even a learned person tends to act according to his nature, that is, his inherent evil inclinations. Therefore, the result of the living beings' endeavor to act in this way is to become enslaved by such inclinations. Then, they can no longer be disciplin
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Although the senses are inevitably attracted to and repulsed by their various respective objects, do not be subjugated by these whims they are the greatest enemy of the candidate for selfrealization. (Devotional attachment and detachment are not indicate
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It is better to carry out one's own duties a little imperfectly rather than faultlessly perform another's duties. Know that even death is auspicious in the discharge of one's duties appropriate to his natural position in the ordained socio-religious syst
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Arjuna inquired: O descendant of the Vrsnis, by whom is the living being compelled to commit sinful activities, even against his own will?
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The Supreme Lord replied: Certainly it is lust, born of the mode of passion, which induces a person to commit sin. Lust is the basis of the desire for sense enjoyment, and in different situations that lust becomes transformed into anger. It is utterly in
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As fire is thinly veiled by smoke, as a mirror is thickly covered with dust, and as the embryo remains completely enclosed within the womb, similarly, this lust covers the consciousness of the living being in three degrees of intensity, according to the
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O Arjuna, this lust with its underlying nescience is the perpetual enemy of the man of knowledge. Like fire which is never satisfied (by offerings of clarified butter), it covers a man's good sense of judgement.
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It is said that the senses, the mind, and the intelligence are the favorite haunts of this terrible enemy known as lust. Covering the good sense of the living being, lust beguiles him through these channels, and hurls him down into the quagmire of gross
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Therefore, O noblest of the Bharatas, by first bringing your own senses under control, openly deal the death blow to this lust, the embodiment of sin which ruins both jnana (discriminative knowledge of the self and non-self, as delineated in the scriptur
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The learned proclaime that the senses are superior to inert objects, the mind is superior to the senses, and the faculty of resolute intelligence is superior to the mind. And he who is superior to the intelligence is the soul himself.
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O mighty Arjuna! Knowing the soul to be thus perfectly distinct from the intelligence, steady the mind with resolute intelligence and destroy the indomitable enemy, lust.
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Srimad Bhagavad Gita