Do Your Duty in Wisdom

“Being spiritually aware, renounce all implication in activity by doing your duty only for my sake.  Have no personal ambition in your deeds.  Have no sense of entitlement.  Throw off your feebleness and do your duty in this state of mind.  Fight!  People who follow steadily and surely embrace and follow this advice I have given all become free from karmic reactions.  But those who loathe and reject my advice become perfect fools in every way; ruined and thoughtless.” [30-32]

Arjuna would ask, “Why would I become ruined by not following this advice you’ve given?” So Krishna explains…

“Even a philosophical person operates according to personal habit.  How can anyone repress their own nature?” [33]

Krishna’s advice is to renounce personal attachment to ones work, not to renounce the work itself.  He says we should work for the sake of others, and for the sake of pleasing him – not for our own sake. Working in this way is renunciation and brings liberation from karma.  If we reject this advice we think that renunciation means to stop all our activities.  This is doomed to failure and ruination, because no one can stop their activities.  Repression is useless.

Arjuna would doubt, “If I am not supposed to stop sensual activities, how can I become spiritual???”  Krishna now explains that regulation, not repression, is the ideal…

“Regulate the attachment and repulsion between your senses and various sensual experiences.  Control them; don’t be controlled by them, for they block the progressive path.” [34]

Arjuna would suggest, “Let me regulate myself according to the codes of saints who dwell in the forest.  Let me cast aside these codes of the warrior.”

So Krishna will explain that everyone has different ways of regulation, but should stick to the way that is prescribed specifically for them…

“It is better to stick to your duties, even if they sometimes look difficult or faulty, then to try to follow someone else’s path, even if it sometimes seems perfect for you. It is better to endure the difficulties of one’s own path, because to walk a path meant for another is very dangerous.” [35]


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