नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः ।
शरीरयात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्ध्येदकर्मणः ॥३-८॥
In Bhagavad Gita chapter 3 verse 8 Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to indulge in karma as ordained in scriptures. Lord Krishna extols virtues of indulgence in karma compared to non-indulgence, renunciation! Arjuna was representing his kingdom in the battle of Mahabharata. How could he refrain from indulgence in karma and act like a coward?
Indulging in karma was inherent in all living beings. Ever since a soul atman, the spirit within started its cosmic journey… it was only through path of karma, the manifest physical form gradually evolved. In absence of karma, all life in cosmos simply would become stagnant… decay and die! Unless one indulged in karma, removal of dross impurities within our soul atman was just not possible!
The act of karma, laws of karma were ordained by God Almighty! It is karma that facilitates movement of life from one manifestation to another, body after body! To believe in karma, one had to believe in theory of reincarnation, rebirth! To cleanse itself of dross impurities within, a soul atman prompts the manifest physical form to indulge in karma. The ingrained ego (Aham in Hinduism) helps karma in this process.
Mounted with ego (Aham in Hinduism) most human beings on mother earth indulged in karma all the time! Karma becomes a hindrance only for travelers of spiritual path. When seekers of spirituality misunderstood, misinterpreted scriptures, they hesitatingly indulged in karma. All wanted to avoid karma… so that related attachments did not affect them. Indulgence in karma creates a vicious cycle of karma that bonds human beings even further.
Bhagavad Gita stipulates human beings indulging in karma to remove klesha (dross impurities within) a soul atman, the consciousness within! One can free self from clutches of karma by indulgence in karma alone. How? By indulging in positive karma, good karma all the time human beings finally succeed in establishing total control over five senses and mind. When dross impurities within soul atman could only be removed by act of karma, how could we stop indulgence in karma ever!
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna in plain simple words that unless he indulged in karma… he could not achieve his goal of life! Even for undertaking spiritual journey… reaching God, our indulgence in karma was necessitated as ordained in scriptures! One could not avoid karma by sitting idle. Every second thousands of thoughts flowed through our brain uninvoked. Every single thought precipitated into an act of karma.
Karma does not relate to physical action alone. Whatever we think or do everything precipitates into an act of karma! It has rightly been said… every human being at any given moment of time was but sum total of all ones thoughts. Even if we do not feel acting… we had to indulge in karma for the sake of body! For arranging food for the family, our indulgence in karma was ordained by God Almighty!
Idling away life as a religious mendicant carried no meaning! One just could not go to places of pilgrimages like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Varanasi or Ayodhya just by abandoning the family. Life of a Sadhu carried no meaning in spiritual world. We just could not become a bhikshuk (a roaming mendicant) and increase burden on society. Every single human being had to enact ones part of karma. None could get free from clutches of karma that way.
Many travelers of spiritual path were under a misnomer that self realization, God realization could be achieved by blessings of a spiritual master! Such a phenomenon does not exist in spiritual world. Unless we burnt our karma in totality, unless we negated our karma to zero… we could never reach stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana). Every spiritual master can only act as a guide but the karma has to be performed by the individual alone.
In case of Arjuna, Lord Krishna was acting only as a guide, a preceptor! To follow or not to follow was the sole individual prerogative of Arjuna. Through his words of jnana wisdom Lord Krishna finally made Arjuna see light of the day. Arjuna who was initially reluctant to fight the enemy that consisted of his maternal grandfather Bhishma Pitamah, his revered teacher Guru Dronacharya, many relatives and friends… finally agreed to indulge in his part of karma!
The entire jnana wisdom of Bhagavad Gita was directed towards only one aspect of life, re-establishing of Dharma (righteousness) against evil forces of adharma (lawlessness) at all costs. Arjuna had to agree to fight this Dharma yuddha (battle of Dharma), and to convince him on all aspects of life… the sermon of Bhagavad Gita was given by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. When Arjuna realized that shackles of karma can only be cut by indulgence in karma, he agreed to fight Kauravas in battle of Mahabharata!
To stop evil, to stop people from indulgence in bad karma, negative karma… the sermon of Bhagavad Gita acts as a balm. The teachings of Bhagavad Gita were universal. The teachings of Bhagavad Gita were applicable to each and every human being living on mother earth! The sermon of Bhagavad Gita was not limited by a particular religion, faith or belief! Any human being world over can indulge in Bhagavad Gita to realize essence of life.
Unless one indulged in sermon of Bhagavad Gita… karma could never be negated to zero! One single scripture, the sacred Bhagavad Gita was sufficient for human beings to reach stage of (kaivalya jnana) and finally salvation moksha. When dross impurities within a soul atman, the consciousness within could only be removed via path of jnana wisdom contained in Bhagavad Gita… why not indulge in nishkama karma yoga to reach end goal of life at the earliest.
Lord Krishna repeatedly emphasizes that abandoning karma was not a solution. In the face of enemy one could never express cowardice. Arjuna was duty-bound to protect his countrymen from the onslaught of war. In times of strife, tribulation it was paramount duty of Arjuna to lift arms and fight the enemy head-on. Through his preaching Lord Krishna made Arjuna realize that the physical manifest body was but a temporary sojourn in the entire lifespan of a soul atman. As we were only doing bidding of God Almighty all the time, our pious acts of karma would never result in incurring sin.
Commentary by: Vijay Kumar “Atma Jnani”… The Man who Realized God in 1993 – May 20, 2013
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