yad-yad ācarati śreṣṭthas tad-tad eve taro’janaḥ,
sa yat pramāṇam kurute lokas tad anuvartate (3.21)
3.21:“Others emulate the actions of a great man and closely follow the example set by him.”
The man who has known his Self, and who finds joy and contentment in his embodied Soul, has nothing to gain from action nor anything to lose from inaction. But, on the other hand, there are instances of men of true attainment such as Janak and others who were assiduously engaged in action.
na me pārthā’sti Kartavyam triṣu lokeṣu Kincana,
nā’navāptam avātavyam varta eva ca Karmaṇi (3.22)
3.22 :“Although, O Parth, there is no task in all the three worlds which I have to do, and neither is there any worthwhile object which I have not achieved, I am yet engaged in action.”
Like other sages of attainment,Sri Krishn has also nothing remaining to do. He said a little earlier that sages have no duty to perform to other beings. Similarly, in all the three worlds he has nothing to do and there is not even the least desirable object that he does not have. And yet he is earnestly engaged in action.
yadi hy aham na varteyam jātu karmaṇy atandritaḥ,
mama vartmā’nuvartante manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ (3.23)
3.23 :“For should I not be diligent in the performance of my task, O Parth, other men will follow my example in every way.”
If he is not careful about the due performance of his assigned task, other men will also behave like him. Does it mean that even emulating Sri Krishn (God) may be an error? By his own admission, he will set a bad example if he does not act.
utsīdeyur ime lokā na kuryāmm karma ced aham,
sankarasya ca kartā syām upadanyām imāḥ prajāh (3.24)
3.24:“If I do not perform my action well, the whole world will perish and I shall be the cause of varnsankar and so a destroyer of mankind.”
If he does not acquit himself of his task with caution, not only will all the worlds stray, but he will also bring about varnsankar and so the destruction of all mankind. If the enlightened, accomplished sage is not cautiously engaged in meditation, society will be corrupted by imitating his example. There is no loss to the sage if he does not act because he has realized the ultimate goal by successful completion of his act of worship. But that is not true of others who have perhaps not yet even set foot on the path of this spiritual exercise.
So great Souls labour for the edification and guidance of those who lag behind.Sri Krishn is doing the same. The implication is clear that Sri Krishn, too, was a sage-a true yogi. He works just as other sages do for the good of the world. The mind is very unstable. It desires everything except worshipful meditation. If sages who have realized God do not act, by their example people behind them will also give up action. Common people will have an excuse for licence if they find that the saint does not meditate, indulges in minor vices, and participates in cheap gossip.
Disillusioned, they will withdraw from worship and fall into impiety. That explains why Sri Krishn says that if he does not do his appointed duty, all mankind will fall from grace and he will be the cause of varnsankar.
According to Arjun, there is a destructive intermingling of disparate classes when women grow unchaste. In Chapter l, he was troubled by the fear that there would be varnsankar if women lost their virtue.But Sri Krishn refuted him and affirmed that there would be varnsankar only if he was not assiduously engaged in his appointed task.
In fact, God himself is the true varn (quality) of Self. Straying from the path that takes one to the eternal God is, therefore, the aberration called varnsankar. If the saint who has perceived God desists from performance of the worthy task, by following his example others also will lose sight of their duties and become varnsankar, for conflicting properties of nature are then combined in them.
Women’s chastity and purity of stock are features of social order-a question of rights. It is not that they have no utility for society, but it is also true that moral transgressions of parents do not affect their children’s righteousness and contemplation of God. An individual obtains salvation by his own deeds.
A Soul comes to a new body with all the merits he had earned in a previous existence. According to Sri Krishn, the Soul discards an old body and enters into a new one with the sanskar of all the merits and demerits he had earned in a previous life through acts of his mind and senses. This sanskar of a soul has nothing to do with the physical parents of the new body. They make no difference to the development of Souls and there is, thus, no relationship between women’s unchastity and the birth of varnsankar. To disintegrate and get scattered among objects of nature instead of progressing steadily towards the Supreme Spirit is varnsankar.
It is in this sense that a sage is the cause of destruction of mankind if he does not induce others to act while he is himself earnestly engaged in his prescribed task. Realization of the indestructible God, the root from which everything is born, is life, whereas to be engrossed in the innumerable objects of nature and stray from the divine path is death.
So that sage who does not induce other men to walk along the path of action is a destroyer-verily a murderer, of humanity. He is a destroyer of mankind if he does not check the frittering away of minds and senses, and compel other men to keep to the right path. He is then an embodiment of violence. True non-violence is cultivating one’s own Self and, simultaneously, also urging others to spiritual discipline and growth.According to the Geeta, physical death is only a change of perishable bodies.
saktāḳ karmaṇy avidvāmso yathā kurvanti bhārata,
kuryād vidvāms tathā’saktaś cikīrsur lokasangraham (3.25)
3.25:“As the ignorant act with a feeling of attachment to their actions, even so, O Bharat, the wise ought to act for the presentation of the (divinely) established world-order.”
A wise man, selfless and endowed with spiritual knowledge, acts in order to inspire the hearts of other men to act for their good just like any selfish and ignorant man. We may be ignorant even though we know the way of and practise yagya.
Knowledge is direct perception. So long as we are even in the least removed from God and he, the desired one, from us, ignorance is present. When this darkness prevails, there is attachment to action and its consequences.
The selfless meditate with a devotion which is very much similar to the attachment with which the ignorant do their work. There can be no attachment in men who are unconcerned with doing, but even these sages ought to act for the good of the world and for the strengthening of forces of piety so that other men take to the right path.
[As expounded by most revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Paramhans]
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