Many loving expositors of the Geeta have given this chapter
the title of “Karm Yog” (“Way of Action”),
but this is not appropriate.
Yogeshwar Krishn mentioned action in Chapter 2,
and his elaboration of its significance created a reverent attitude towards the subject. In the present chapter Sri Krishn has defined action as the conduct of yagya.
It is certain that yagya is the ordained mode.
Whatever else is done by men, besides this,
is one form or another of worldly servitude.
It will be affirmed in Chapter 4 that conduct of yagya is the action which effects freedom from the material world.
The chapter describes the origin of yagya as well as what the conduct of this discipline has to offer. It then portrays the characteristic features of yagya. The importance of conducting yagya is repeatedly stressed, for this is the ordained action.
They who do not practise it are not only sinful lovers of pleasure, but they also live vainly.
Sages of yore had realized the state of attainment
and actionlessness through yagya.
They were men who had rejoiced
and felt adequate in the Self.
So there was left nothing more for them to do. Yet they continued to be assiduously engaged in their task for the guidance of their less fortunate fellowmen who had lagged behind.Sri Krishn compares himself with these great Souls.
He, too, is left with nothing to do and nothing to achieve,
and yet he devotes himself to action for the good of mankind.
Thus he reveals himself as a yogi, an ascetic or saint, engaged in constant meditation.
He is indeed, as we have seen, a Yogeshwar,
an adept in yog.
Further, in the chapter,Sri Krishn repeatedly cautions sages like himself that they ought not to confuse and undermine the faith of the initiated seekers, even though they may be engaged in material tasks, because they can achieve the ideal state only through action.
If they stop acting, they will be destroyed. The right action requires the waging of war by concentrating on the Self
and the Supreme Spirit.
But what is the need of war when the eyes are closed
and a man’s thought is centered on contemplation,
and when the senses are all confined within the intellect?
According to Sri Krishn,
when a seeker sets out on the path of worship,
desire and anger, and attraction and repulsion appear
as frightening hurdles in his way.
To fight and overcome these negative impulses is war. Entering progressively deeper into the state of meditation by gradual elimination of the demoniacal,
alien impulses of Kurukshetr is war.
So this is a war which rages in the state of meditation.
This, in brief, is Chapter 3 and, as it may be seen from the attempted summary, we have not yet been told what precisely action or yagya is. When we understand the nature of yagya, we will also comprehend the nature of action.
This chapter mainly stresses the instructional role of sages,
of great Souls, who have perceived reality.
The chapter is thus a directive for revered teachers.
They will lose nothing if they do not undertake any action
and they will not gain anything for themselves if they do it.
And yet they have to be active for the welfare of mankind. However, nothing of real significance has been said for seekers who wish to realize God. They are not told what they have to do for this. This chapter is, therefore, not about the Way of Action. The action which has to be undertaken has not yet been illumined. So far all that we have been told is that the conduct of yagya is the prescribed action. But, then, we are kept in dark about
what yagya is.
It has to be admitted, though, that the most detailed portrayal of war is found only in Chapter 3 in the whole of the Geeta.
Glancing at the Geeta as a whole, it is in Chapter 2 that Sri Krishn exhorts Arjun to fight because the body is destructible.
He should fight because the body is ephemeral.
This is the only concrete reason for fighting given in the Geeta.
Later while explaining the Way of Knowledge,
war is said to be the only means
for achieving the most auspicious end.
Sri Krishn has told Arjun that knowledge he has imparted to him is related to the Way of Knowledge. The knowledge is that Arjun should fight
because it is profitable for him in victory as well as defeat.
Later, in Chapter 4,Sri Krishn will tell Arjun that, resting firmly in yog he should sever the irresolution in his heart with the sword of discrimination.
This sword is sword of yog.
There is no reference to war at all from Chapter 5 to Chapter 10. In Chapter 11,Sri Krishn only says that the enemies
have already been slain by him,
so Arjun has just to stand as a proxy and earn glory.
The enemies have been killed even without his killing them; and the power which drives all beings
and objects will also use him as an instrument to effect what he wishes.
So Arjun should stand up boldly and kill his enemies
who are nothing but living corpses.
In Chapter 15, the world will be compared to a mighty-rooted Peepal tree and Arjun will be directed to seek spiritual perfection by cleaving the tree with the axe of renunciation. There is no mention of any war in the later chapters,
although in Chapter 16 there is an account of demons who are doomed to hell.
The most detailed portrayal of war is thus found
in Chapter 3.
Verses 30 to 43 are concerned with the setup of war,
the certain destruction of those who refuse to fight,
the names of enemies who have to be killed,
weighing of one’s strength,
and the determination to slay the enemies.
The chapter thus identifies the enemies and, at the end,
also provides the required encouragement to the seeker
to destroy these enemies.
Thus concludes the Third Chapter, in the Upanishad of Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta, on the Knowledge of the Supreme Spirit, the Science of Yog, and the Dialogue between Krishn and Arjun, entitled:
“Shatru Vinash-Prerna’’ or ‘‘Urging the enemy’s destruction’’
Thus concludes Swami Adgadanand’s exposition of the Third Chapter of the Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta in *”Yatharth Geeta’’*
HARI OM TATSAT
[As expounded by most revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans]
Main Source: www.yatharthgeeta.com