Arjun is confused. He cannot seem to understand why Krishna is advocating the path of knowledge yet is forcing him towards Karma. Krishna then goes on to explain the two paths: the path of Knowledge (Gyan) and the path of Actions (Karma). According to Krishna, our right Karma is another form of worship and only by doing the right Karma can we find freedom. The correct actions from the wise men also set a precedent for other people to follow suit. Krishna then explains that even he doesn’t run away from Karma despite him not longing or wanting anything. If he would become passive, all other humans would follow his actions and become passive too. Krishna also asked Arjun to rise above his ego by taking the “I” from his actions. He should stop putting himself first by thinking he is the sole doer for any action. Krishna also insisted that we should perform others' duty perfectly.

 

Arjun then asks Krishna why do men turn towards evil actions. Krishna explains it to him that they are driven by a particular guna called the rajas, which has the feelings of both passion and violence. If this guna dominates people, the act out of desire and anger then becomes the root cause of evil action. If we want to avoid this, our minds should be stronger than our senses, and our understanding of our selves should overpower our minds.

Favourite Shlok

तस्मादसक्त: सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर |

असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुष: || - Shlok 19

Krishna advises Arjun to be a karma yogi not a karma sannyasi. Those who have not yet reached the transcendental platform should continue to do their duties.

Analysis

The central theme of this chapter is the explanation of action versus inaction, or evil versus the good. Krishna explains that every individual should be a perfect balance of three gunas (Qualities):  Sattva or purity and constructiveness; Rajas or passion and Tamas or darkness and destruction. Any imbalance in any of these qualities can be a recipe for a catastrophe. As described above, if a person has more of rajas, he can be ruled by passion and ego, both of which turn him to being an evil.

Krishna has always kept duty as the centre of everything and he believes this should be the worldview of all other individuals. Duty in Geeta is actually Dharma which roughly translates to an all-encompassing ideology of various rituals and moral behaviour. According to Krishna, anybody who ignores his Dharma will end up having bad social and personal consequences. These make Arjun honour his Dharma to the best of his abilities. Despite this, Arjun struggles to understand what his Dharma is to which Krishna replies that Arjun is a warrior and his dharma is to fight the battle.

About Abhinav Khare: 

Abhinav Khare is the CEO of Asianet News and hosts a daily show Deep Dive with Abhinav Khare. He is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. He lives in Bengaluru with his loving family and a lifetime collection of books and gadgets. He is a hands-on Tech Startup professional with an entrepreneurial DNA. He is passionate about policy, technology, economy and the synergy of them all. An avid traveller himself, he has already ticked over 42 countries and hundred cities around the globe.