Continuing his teaching Swami Paramarthananda says,
after shloka # 20, Sri Krishna talked about Karma or doing one’s duty. Arjuna has to do Karma to purify his mind. Only a wise person can obtain liberation. Once liberation is obtained he does not need to do Karma. This was conclusion of shloka # 20.
Shloka # 21:
यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः।
स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते।।3.21।।
Whatever is done by the best of men, others also do; the world conforms to the standard that he sets.
Here Arjuna may raise an argument that he is a wise person, as such he not need to perform Karma. He could claim that as a Gyani that he does not need to do his duty, which is unpleasant one in this context. It is a plausible argument from Arjuna. To this, from shloka # 21 onwards, Sri Krishna, answering his objection says, even a Gyani has to do Karma. You don’t need Karma for purification, knowledge or liberation; however, as long as you are in the society you have to be a role model. Since others need Karma, you need to do Karma to teach them about it.
There are several ways to learn the Dharmic way of living. If not, one will go along his Raga & Dvesha and lead a life of a Prakrita. He needs to change to a Samskrita way of life. Dharma Pramanani, dharmic way of life has three sources. They are:
Veda: Original source
Smrithi: Secondary source
Lifestyle of ideal models or led by elders of society.
Of these three, life style of elders is most effective way of communication. One action equals a thousand books.
A man teaches his son Satyam Vada. Then one day a person from his office comes to the door. The father does not want to see him. He tells his son to tell him my father is not home. The son tells the visitor my father told me to tell you, he is not home. What is the use of teaching Sayam Vada to his son? The actions of elders speak louder than all scriptures.
Mother is the most important influence for a child. Then come father and then the schoolteacher.
So, Arjuna, whether you like it not you are a hero in society. Along with this status comes responsibility. It can be crushing. Therefore do your duty, not for your sake but to lead society. Sri Krishna gives himself as an example. I am an avatar, as such a born Giyani. I will still follow my duties as your Sarathi as a part of my Svadharma. For Kuchela, I had to perform Atithi puja. Even as I accept my duties, so also, you have to do yours.
Shloka # 22:
न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन।
नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि।।3.22।।
I have Arjuna! no duty whatever to discharge in all the three worlds; there is nothing I have not won, and nothing remains to be won by Me; still I ceaselessly work.
Sri Krishna says I need to perform my duties even though I have nothing to get from my actions. There is nothing for me left to accomplish. All four Purushartha’s are a part of me. Hence in the word Bhagawan, Bhaga means six fold wealth possessor. The six fold wealth’s are: Aishwaryam (power, ruler, Ishwarabhava), Veeryam (courage), Yashaha ( fame), Sree ( Prosperity), Gyanam ( Knowledge) and Vairagyam ( Freedom from dependence). All these are present in full measure. Each is in absolute measure. Such a person is Bhagawan.
Even though I have nothing to accomplish, still I am busy doing my duty as per my Varna and Ashrama. If I can’t escape from my duties, how can you?
यदि ह्यहं न वर्तेयं जातु कर्मण्यतन्द्रितः।
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः।।3.23
Indeed Arjuna! if at any time, I do not work tirelessly, men will in all possible ways , tread that path of mine.
Here Sri Krishna says: O Arjuna, What will happen if elders are irresponsible? Society wants to follow sheepishly the role models. If role model’s are not good, there will be confusion. Violation of harmony occurs at many levels.
If I don’t discharge my duties enthusiastically, sincerely, whole heatedly, I am teaching others as well. Whole society is waiting to follow me. If I go wrong it, will affect entire society.
There was a Brahmin who went to Rameshwaram to take a bath. He took along a copper vessel. He was worried it would be stolen. He buried it in the beach sand and erected a Shiva Linga over it as an identifier. Another Brahmin came along saw the Shiv Linga and thought it was custom to erect one. He also erected one. Soon everybody who came erected a Linga. The Brahmin when he came back saw Lingas all over the beach.
The whole world is sheepish. No human being likes to think. So, if children follow you, it is an advantage as well as a disadvantage. You can teach them more by your actions, which is an advantage.
Shloka # 24:
उत्सीदेयुरिमे लोका न कुर्यां कर्म चेदहम्।
सङ्करस्य च कर्ता स्यामुपहन्यामिमाः प्रजाः।।3.24।।
If I don’t work the worlds will perish; I may cause confusion, and may ruin these living beings.
Here Sri Krishna says, once I violate my Svadharma (Pancha Maha Yagna included), others will also do it. Consequences won’t be immediate. Consequences will come slowly, after some time. Even ecological disharmony will not happen immediately. When trees are cut and cars increase on the road the result will deteriorate slowly and sometimes irreversibly. There is in Bombay a phenomenon called the Chembur fog, caused by pollution. People live with it. We will be destroying the creation gradually. Nowadays “natural” food costs more. Many diseases are caused by our unhealthy way of living. If I do not set an example I will destroy by creating confusion in society with respect to their duties.
What should be the basis for choice of a profession? Varnashrama has an answer. All areas such dance, music, etc., must be protected. Shastra says, when one chooses a profession it should be based upon:
1) One’s inclinations or Guna Anusari karma.
Here I will enjoy what I am doing and money is incidental. I look forward to Monday. When I hate what I am doing, I look forward to Friday. Many teachers come for salary without any love for the job. This affects the children.
2) Janma: Based upon caste or birth. If you can’t choose based on Guna this is an option. The child is exposed to father’s profession at an early age. It is the same with a musician’s child. Advantage is all professions are protected.
Shastra says preference of a profession should preferably not be based on money. In many professions people want less work and more money. Brahmins today have taken to many professions such as those of Vaishya and Kshatriya. Increasingly Brahmins are walking away from their own profession of learning and teaching Vedas and Sanskrit. If this will continue, both Vedas and Sanskrit will die and with it the religious mantras as well. So, money based preference is not good. Svadharma should be based upon Guna or father’s Profession.
Arjuna, your Guna is of a warrior. You are a Kshatriya. So, stand up and fight.
Shloka # 25:
सक्ताः कर्मण्यविद्वांसो यथा कुर्वन्ति भारत।
Prince of Bharatha line! Just as the ignorant work with attachment to that work, so should the wise work, unattached, seeking the world’s integration.
Sri Krishna has pointed out that Arjuna and Gyani both should perform Karmas. Their reasons though are different. Agyani wants purity and liberation. Gyani should perform Karma to be a role model to society. If both are performing karma what is the difference in their respective attitudes.
Sri Krishna says, since Agyani has not got liberation, he is not happy with himself. So all his actions are to discover fullness and happiness. In these actions there is anxiety. Everything is done out of incompleteness. Thus, actions are performed because of a lack of wealth, money, children etc. In all actions there is attachment.
A Gyani is one with knowledge. His nature is of fullness and freedom. I am free. Aham Purnaha Asmi. He performs actions with happiness ( not for happiness). This is the only difference.
When I do it for happiness, it is a struggle. When I do it in happiness it is a Leela. This is the attitudinal difference.
With Best Wishes,