Bhagavad-Gita Summary, Chapter III

[For the Disciple—A Guide]

"Devotion through the Right Performance of Action."

Arjuna accuses Krishna of confusing him, since he recommends the act of fighting over the superior duty of contemplation, leading to the attainment of true knowledge. He asks him to choose the best method for him. (Gita, p. 22)

Krishna, desiring that Arjuna do the choosing, offers alternatives: one, reasoning from premises to conclusions; and, second, meditation on universal Cosmic and World facts and principles. The second he declares is devotion by the right performance of actions based on wisdom. (Gita, pp. 22-3)

"A man enjoyeth not freedom from action from the non-commencement of that which he hath to do; nor doth he obtain happiness from a total abandonment of action. No one ever resteth a moment inactive. Every man is involuntarily urged to act by the qualities which spring from nature." (Gita, p. 23)

Right action, Krishna states, "comes from the Supreme Spirit who is one, wherefore the all-pervading Spirit is at all times present in the sacrifice." The key to right action is detachment and disinterest in results. (Gita, pp. 24-5)

The good of mankind gives reason for a Sage's actions. He sets the example. Krishna being such a Sage, says: "I am constantly in action." (Gita, p. 25)

The karma of Nature, the Cosmos, and the world we live in, is shown through the "qualities," which are inherent in all forms. The self is distinct from them. Krishna then states: "Throwing every deed on me, and with thy meditation fixed upon the Higher Self, resolve to fight, without expectation, and free from anguish." (Gita, p. 26) [for qualities see Gita, pp. 100-103, 115]

Affection and dislike are two sentiments that influence discrimination. They are passions; and the wise man does not let them affect him. Krishna then states: "It is better to do one's own duty, even though it be devoid of excellence, than to perform another's duty well. It is better to perish in the performance of one's own duty; the duty of another is full of danger." (Gita, pp. 27-8)

Arjuna asks how it is possible that a man can commit offenses as if constrained by a secret force. (Gita, p. 27)

Krishna, esplains that lust-greed-desire creates the attachment. The insatiable desire for possession, is man's constant enemy. It rageth like a fire, and is unappeasable:

"It is lust which instigates him. It is passion, sprung from the quality of rajas; insatiable and full of sin. Know this to be the enemy of man on earth. As the flame is surrounded by smoke, and a mirror by rust, and as the womb envelopes the fœtus, so is the universe surrounded by this passion. By this—the constant enemy of the wise man, formed from desire which rageth like fire and is never to be appeased—is discriminative knowledge the very outset restraining thy senses, thou shouldst conquer this sin which is the destroyer of knowledge and of spiritual discernment." (Gita, pp. 27-8)
"The senses and organs are esteemed great, but the thinking self is greater than they. The discriminating principle—Buddhi, is greater than the thinking self, and that which is greater than the discriminating principle is He—the Supreme Spirit, the true Ego. Thus knowing what is greater than the discriminating principle and strengthening the lower by the Higher Self, do thou of mighty arms slay this foe which is formed from desire and is difficult to seize." (Gita, pp. 28-9)

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