Dal Sabzi for the Aatman Dal Sabzi for the Aatman Dal Sabzi for the Aatman Dal Sabzi for the Aatman Dal Sabzi for the Aatman  
  ‼  Aum, Asato maa sadgamaya, Tamaso maa jyotirgamaya  ‼  


Thought on Bhagvad Gita

Chapter 3 Lesson 1

In the first Chapter we saw that Arjuna was deluded and dejected. He did not really want to fight the horrible war. Which could also mean that when man is deluded, depressed, attached to outcomes of actions, he loses desire to ‘act’

If you go back, Krishna had explained Arjuna the nature of the Aatman.
To recapitulate: The Aatman is imperishable unchanging and eternal.
Everyone and specially Arjuna in this case should aspire to that state.

So now Arjuna asks Krishna a relevant question, which may have even occurred to you:

“If the aim is to achieve liberation and recognize the Aatman” Arjuna asked: why should I (fight) engage in action?
Arjuna continued to ask Krishna: “Do explain to me, the one discipline by which I may obtain, the highest good?”
Krishna replies: Some pursue the path of knowledge and others pursue the path of action…however none can remain inactive, as everyone is driven to action…He excels who acts remaining unattached (to the fruits of the action)in a spirit of sacrifice (prayer).

Another nazariya of 'Do your best and leave the rest'

If you focus on results, you will never change.
If you focus on change, you will get results.

Chapter 3 Lesson 2

What Krishna says now is absolute common sense. If one desists from action, one will not even be able to maintain ones body. Therefore Krishna tells Arjuna: Action is superior to Inaction.

My note:
Because some would not like to get involved in the give and take of ‘karma’ they give up their ‘life’ and move to the hills. But are they able to give up karma completely. Besides necessary body requirements, desire follows them to the remotest caves. Very few have been able to achieve the Lord through true renunciation. Some immortal names that come to my mind are: Meera, Buddha, Mahavira…)

Krishna continues to say:

Perform your action for the sake of sacrifice (which to my mind it means, as a prayer, an offering) free from attachment (of the desire for the fruit).

Chapter 3 Lesson 3

We have already understood the term ‘sacrifice’ as a ‘prayer, an offering’ free from attachment (of the desire for the fruit).
Before we enter other verses of the Geeta let us understand the term ‘Yajna’

Swami Chinmayanandaji says:  

Yajna could mean any self sacrificing work undertaken in a spirit of Self-dedication…The following stanzas will become more and more clear and universally appropriate in their meaning when we understand Yajna as “any social, communal, national or personal activity into which the individual is ready to pour himself forth entirely in a spirit of service and dedication…Only when people come forward to act in a spirit of cooperation and self dedication, can the community get itself freed from its shackles of poverty and sorrow.

Now let us understand what Krishna says:

Having created mankind along  with the spirit of sacrifice at the beginning of creation, the Creator Brahma said: “You shall prosper by this, may this yield the enjoyment you seek”

My note:

Why has mankind not prospered? The Yajna spirit is seen in the Sun, the moon, the Sea, the Earth…But is it seen in Man? Has he not only cheated his brothers and sisters but the very Mother Earth who brought him forth and nurtured him?

I am reminded of a song:

Jagat bhar ki roshni ke liye
Karoron ki zindagi ke liye
Suraj re jalte rehna
Suraj re jalte rehna…

Jagat kalyaan ki khaatir tu janma hai
Tu jag ke vaaste har dukh utha re
Bhaley hi ang tera bhasm ho jaaye
Tu jal jal ke yahaan kirne luta re

Likha hai yeh hi tere bhaag mein
Ki tera jeevan rahe aag mein
Suraj re jalte rehna
Suraj re jalte rehna

Which means:

Oh Sun! Keep burning for the sake of
Bringing Light
And (keep burning for the sake of) the lives of millions (of human bengs)

You are born for the the ‘good’ of the world,
So carry the burden of every unhappiness,
No matter if you burn,
You distribute your rays of sunshine,
It is so written in your fate,
That you live ‘in fire’ (yet)
Oh Sun, keep burning!

Chapter 3 Lesson 4

Before we are able to understand what Krishna is about to say, let us understand the ‘concept of Devas’

Swami Chinmayananda explains it thus:

The concept of Devas is that of One Universal Power…receiving appropriate names because of its multiple functions…A Deva (a god)  is also the very presiding Deity in any field of activity who blesses the worker in that field…
My note:
Hindus have divinized every field, every desire…Thus if you are looking for wealth, one prays to Goddess Laxmi, for knowledge, Goddess Saraswati, for removing of obstacles Lord Ganesh…

Lord Krishna says:

Foster the gods (presiding deities) through this sacrifice (action in a form of prayer, offering) and let the gods be gracious to you…the gods will surely bestow on you unasked all the desired enjoyments. Those who enjoy the gifts bestowed by them, without giving them in return, is undoubtedly a thief.

My note:

Those who enjoy the gifts bestowed by them, without giving them in return, is undoubtedly a thief?
Surely you will understand the above…It means, what now a days we hear constantly…that we need to give back to society…


Chapter 3 Lesson 5

In the stanzas of the Geeta , Krishna uses the first person singular. But He does not mean it as ‘Krishna’ of Radha or Gopis or Yashoda fame…neither does He mean Krishna, as the King of Dwarika…but as the ‘Atman’ (Individual Soul) who in essence is no different from Paramaatman (God)

Krishna says: “There is nothing in the three worlds that has to be done by Me, nor is there anything unattained that should be attained by me; yet I engage myself in action”

My note: Even the Lord who is not compelled to do anything nor does he need to attain anything…Acts!
I think that what Krishna is trying to say is that ‘doing ones karma’ is very important.
But as He stated earlier, do your karma in a spirit of detachment from fruits thereof.
A lot of people ask me: “How can we not have a desire for the fruits? If I am studying to become a doctor, would I not need to ‘desire’ to becaome a doctor?”

My understanding is:

1) Desire to be a doctor.

2) Drop the desire.

3) Engage in Action eg studies admission etc.

4) Do not constantly be obsessed with the result.

Ok let us see if we can understand it in a different way.
One needs to go to Delhi …one buys the ticket and sits on the train…Do we need to obsess about the destination?


Chapter 3 Lesson 6

In the last chapter, we learned: Even the Lord who is not compelled to do anything nor does he need to attain anything…Acts!
Now, Krishna is going to say something very curious.

Krishna says: The fool, whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks: “I am the doer” All actions are being performed by Nature (Prakrti, Primordial matter)

My note:

So though you may act, you are not the doer!
Look back upon your life. How much did you do? And how much happened in your life?
Listen to a story: The Lord told a man to push the entrance to a cave…The man pushed and pushed but was unable to open the entrance to the cave. Dejected he admitted his defeat to the Lord. The Lord said: “I told you to push the entrance to the cave, the opening of the cave, I shall do! And as far as your defeat goes, have a look at the muscles you have built!


Chapter 3 Lesson 7

In the last lesson

Krishna said: The fool, whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks: “I am the doer” All actions are being performed by Nature (Prakrti, Primordial matter)

Prakriti or Nature is made up of 3 qualities-Sattwa (Truth) Rajas (Action) Tamas (Inertia). The Aatman is beyond these three qualities and their functions. Only when knowledge of this fact dawns in Man does he attain perfection.

Krishna advises Arjuna:

Do your duty according to your nature or temperament.

Do your duty in the right spirit of detachment and devotion

The above will lead to perfection and freedom

When the ‘wise man’ realizes that actions belong to the world of the mind, he is no more anxious of the fruits thereof…He will then function as a true sportsman where the very enjoyment is in the sport and not in the score.


Chapter 3 Lesson 8

In  the last lesson we got acquainted with the terms ‘Sat Raj and Tam’ short forms for: Sattwa (Truth) Rajas (Action) Tamas (Inertia). I mentioned that these terms are Primordial matter of Nature, Prakriti… how?

Man is made up of the above 3 qualities, in more or less different measure. That is reasonably easy to understand.

Now let us take a ‘day’ During the mornings, the Sat Tatwa is more at work. That is why it is easier to meditate in the morning, listen to Spiritual meditative music, etc

During the early and late afternoon, the Rajas Tatwa is more active. One performs ones life activities, whatever they may be during this time.

…and what does one do during the evening and night? Most actions (that for want of a better term) are less positive…and those are by and large ‘Tamasic Activities’

Now let us analyze Actions.

 Let us analyze a so called good deed like ‘charity’ or ‘giving’.

When you give to make a ‘name’ for yourself, to inflate your ego, that ‘giving will be termed as a ‘Rajasic activity’

When you give in order to exploit the taker, it will be termed as a ‘Tamasic Activity’

When you give for the sake of giving without looking for the fruits thereof, your giving will be Satwic….


Chapter 3 Lesson 9


Krishna is a mentor, in the Geeta, he shares His perspective but does not impose it on Arjuna.Maybe we do not share a challenge as grave as Arjuna does in the battlefield-But we learn to understand how Arjuna regained clarity and poise after facing deep uncertainty. 

Inspired by Anshul Chaturvedi


Chapter 3 Lesson 10

In the Verse 33 Krishna says: …Beings will follow their own nature…

My note: Man’s nature is governed by the thoughts that arise in him…so even though a man of knowledge may know the technique of action, it is not easy for him to follow it as the thoughts that arise in him are due to past impressions on man’s mind (vasanas)

So what is to be done ? We cannot do much about the past, but we must make a massive effort to change the present so that the future impressions (Vasanas) make it easier for man to follow these lofty tenets.

Please do not miss the compassion of Krishna in understanding man’s weakness…


Chapter 3 Lesson 11


In the last lesson we learned: ‘Man’s nature is governed by the thoughts that arise in him…so even though a man of knowledge may know the technique of action, it is not easy for him to follow it…’

Let us learn more about knowledge, but before that let us keep in mind that being knowledgeable is not necessarily being wise.

In the Inuit tradition, a person becomes wise when they could see what needed to be done and did it successfully without being told what to do.

In Mesopotamia the god Enki represented wisdom and intelligence and wisdom was achieved by restoring balance.

Confucius held that wisdom can be got in 3 ways- imitation, the easiest; reflection the noblest; and experience, often the bitterest.

Plato reached the understanding that those who claimed to know did not really know, or knew far less than what they claimed.

Socrates we are told is wise because he unlike others does not consider himself wise.

Refined thinking involves becoming more aware, informed, interested, discerning.
Processing feelings requires being less reactive and more responsive, letting feelings touch but not direct us.

Wise beings embody the essence of wisdom that is discernment.

Discernment of what’s right from wrong, just from unjust, wholesome from destructive, truth from delusion.

These wise beings are usually regarded as compassionate towards others, content in themselves.

Inspired by Marguerite Theophil


Chapter 3 Lesson 12


We learned earlier that though Dharma is generally explained away as 'religion, duty...In the Hindu concept 'Dharma' means a lot more.

It is the Dharma of a soldier to fight and the dharma of an ascetic, not to.

When the children are young it is the 'dharma' of a mother to look after them, but as the children, come of age, it is the 'dharma' of the same mother to 'let them go'

In Chapter 3 Verse 35  Krishna states:  “Better is ones own law (dharma) though imperfectly carried out than the law of another carried out perfectly”

I would quote Shakespeare here:  “…and above all else to thine own self be true”

Maybe we could also add “To be or not to be that is the question”

In the context of the Geeta the message of Krishna for Arjuna would be:

Do not talk of  going to the hills, meditate in caves and renounce what is due to you.  You are  a prince, a soldier, trained in the art of war. Do not suppress your own personality and copy activities of someone else…


Chapter 3 Lesson 13

At this point, Arjuna becomes more introspective. He realizes that there are certain forces that work against higher impulses.

Arjuna asks a question which has occurred to most of us at a certain point in our lives.

Arjuna asks: “Why does man sin, against his wishes, as it were, by force?”

Krishna answers: Man sins due to desire. It is due to the anger born of the “active” all devouring, all sinful; know this (anger, obsession) to be the enemy (What makes one sin) in this case.

My note:

I would think that ‘desire’ here would mean a constant agitation of the mind, an uncontrollable obsession to gain something. At this points ones mind gets so deluded that one does not think how many, one tramples and hurts to achieve the coveted goal.

How is anger connected to desire?

Just think about the following: Anger arises when a desire is obstructed. Take some simple examples:

1) One expects (desires) that a person should be on time, the other person is late, One gets angry.

2) One expects (desires) to be appreciated. One is not appreciated, one gets angry.

3) One expects to win a ‘battle’ a ‘game’one does not. One gets angry…

Krishna gives three different examples to illustrate how desire and anger can delude our rational capacity.

1) As fire is enveloped by smoke

2) As a mirror by dust

3) As an embryo by the womb.

It is interesting to note that Lord Buddha also claimed that the reason for our ‘suffering’ is unbridled desire.


Chapter 3 Lesson 14

We have understood in the last lesson:
1) Man sins due to unbridled desire
2) Anger is born when desire is not fulfilled
3) Desire and anger delude our rational capacity
How is desire generated?
In the 40th Verse of the 3rd Chapter, Krishna states that the seat of ‘desire’ is the ‘senses’

My note:What does the above mean?
It means the eyes see something and it desires it
Similarly with the other senses, one desires to see, smell, taste, hear, touch.
In other words:
External stimuli reach the mind through the sense organs.
The sense organs function without restraint.
When the desires are not fulfilled or take their own time, it gives birth to sorrow.
Strangely, I have read that there are 2 reasons for suffering:
1) When your desires are not fulfilled 
2) When your desires are fulfilled
So then what is the solution?
The right application of knowledge or in today’s parlance, the right attitude.


Chapter 3 Lesson 15

In the last lesson Krishna taught us that the seat of desires is the senses. Now Krishna states: if you control your senses, you will be able to win over 'desires' which is the destroyer of knowledge and wisdom. In verse 42 Krishna states:

1) Senses are superior to the body
2) Mind is superior to the senses
3) intellect is superior to the mind
4) Aatman is superior to the intellect.

My note:

Through meditation and deep awareness we break our false identifications and discover our divine nature. Then we continue to play the game, but without being attached to results.
I am reminded of a song:
Ab saunp diya is jee van ka sab bhaar tumhaare haathon mein Hai jeet tumhaare haathon mein aur haar tumhaare haathon mien And thus ends the third discourse.

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