evam pravartitam cakram nā’nuvartyatī’ha yaḥ,
agāyur indriyārāmo mogham pārtha sa jīvati (3.16)
3.16 -“The man in this world, O Parth, who loves sensual pleasure and lead an impious life, and does not conduct himself in accordance with the thus prescribed cycle (of Self-realization), leads but a futile life.”
The pleasure-loving, sinful man who, despite his birth in human form, does not conduct himself in keeping with the means of the ordained action or, to put it differently, does not follow the way of attaining to the state of immortality through fostering gods and so also himself by tending the divine riches of his nature, lives but in vain.
For the sake of recapitulation,Sri Krishn named “action” in Chapter 2, whereas in this chapter he has told Arjun, and so all of us, to perform the ordained action. Observance of yagya is this action. Whatever else is done besides this is only a part of worldly life. So one should, in a spirit of detachment, perform the action of yagya. Sri Krishn has then given an account of the characteristic features of yagya and said that yagya had its origin in Brahma. Mankind is inclined to yagya with sustenance in view. Yagya arises from action and action from the divinely inspired Ved, whereas the visionaries who perceived the Vedic precepts were enlightened sages. But these great Souls had shed their ego. With this attainment, what was left as an outcome was only the imperishable God. The Ved is therefore arisen from God and God is ever existent in yagya.
The impious lover of sensual pleasures who does not follow the way of this prescribed action lives in vain. That is to say that yagya is an action in which there is no comfort for the senses. The injunction demands participation in the act with complete subjugation of the senses. Sinful are they who yearn for sensual comforts. But even after all this, it has not been defined what yagya is. That brings us to the question whether we have to practice yagya forever, or will there also be an end to it?
yas tv ātmaratir eva syād ātmatṛptaś ca mānavaḥ,
ātmany eva ca santuṣṭas tasya kāryam na vidyate (3.17)
3.17 – “But there remains nothing more to do for the man who rejoices in his Self, finds contentment in his Self, and feels adequate in his Self.”
The man who is utterly devoted to his embodied Soul, finds satisfaction in him and feels that he needs nothing more besides him-has nothing more left to do. After all, the Self was the goal. Once the unmanifest, immortal, indestructible essence of the Soul has been realized, there is nothing beyond to seek. A man such as this needs neither action nor worship. Soul and God-Self and the Supreme Spirit-are synonymous.
nai’va tasya kṛtenā’rtho nā’kṛtene’ha kaścana,
na cā’sya sarvabhūteṣu kaścid arthavyapāśrayaḥ (3.18)
3.18 -“Such a man has neither anything to gain from action nor anything to lose from inaction, and he has no interest in any being or any object.”
Previously there was, but now there is for such a man neither any profit in doing- nor any loss in the absence of doing. He ceases to have any selfish relationship with any being.The Self is constant, eternal, unmanifest, changeless, and indestructible. When once this Soul has been known and one is joyous, contented, and absorbed in him, what else is there beyond to search for? And what shall we gain by any further seeking? For such a man there is no harm in forsaking action, because he no longer has the mind on which impieties can make an impression. He is not the least concerned with beings of the external world or with any of the layer upon layer of inner aspirations.When he has grasped the very highest, what use has he for anything else?
tasmād asaktaḥ satatam kāryam karma samācara,
asakto hy ācaran karma param āpnoti pūruṣaḥ (3.19)
3.19 -“So always do what is right for you to do in the spirit of selflessness, for in doing his duty the selfless man attains to God.”
In order to achieve this state, Arjun ought to be disinterested and do well what is fit for him to do, for a selfless man realizes God only through selfless action.The action which is worthy of doing is the same as the ordained action.
karmaṇai’va hi sansiddhim āsthitā janakādayaḥ,
lokasangraham evā’pi sampaśyan kartum arhasi (3.20)
3.20 -“Since sages such as Janak had also attained to the ultimate realization by action, and keeping in mind, the preservation of the (God made) order, it is incumbent upon you to act.”
Janak here does not mean the King of Mithila. “Janak” is an epithet of father-the giver of life. Yog, the way by which the individual Soul may be united with the Supreme Spirit and thus secure absolution, is janak, for it brings out and manifests the embodied Soul. All those who are endowed with yog are sages like Janak. Many such great men possessing true wisdom have also achieved the final bliss through action aimed at the ultimate attainment. “Ultimate” stands for realization of the essence that the Supreme Spirit represents. All great saints, such as Janak, have attained to the state of ultimate realization through performance of the action which is yagya. But after attainment they act with the welfare of the world in view. They work for the betterment of mankind. So Arjun, too, is worthy of being a true leader of the people after attainment.
Sri Krishn had only sometime back said that there was neither any gain in action nor any loss in inaction for a great Soul after he has reached the state of realization. Yet, however, keeping in mind the interest of the world and the preservation of its order, he continues to acquit himself well of his prescribed duty.
[As expounded by most revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Paramhans]
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