The Bhagavad Gita – Capsule 3

The Bhagavad Gita in Capsules – Chapter 3

The book “The Prasthānatraya – An Introduction” by Revered Swami Harshananda, President of Ramakrishna Math, Bengaluru was published in 2001. The Swami has bestowed on us a summary of the 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita of Lord Krishna. I bow my head in reverence and in praise of Swamiji and pray for his blessings in my taking the liberty of retyping the summary from the book and posting it in my blog.

This is the Summary of the third chapter, Karma Yoga


Arjuna is confused about the relative importance of knowledge (buddhi or jnāna) and work (karma).

Srīkrishna clears the same by telling him of the existence of two royal paths since the days of yore: jnānayoga (the path of knowledge) and karmayoga (the path of action.) Though the former needs renunciation of all action, very few are really capable of it.

For most of the people, performance of one’s duties with a controlled mind, for the good of the world, is the easier and the better path.

The world-cycle as set in motion by the Creator needs everyone to do his allotted duties, so that it works smoothly.

The path of work is in no way inferior since many great persons like Janaka in the ancient days, attained perfection through it alone.

Leaders of society (like Arjuna) are expected to show the way to the less enlightened ones by doing their duties perfectly.

By cultivating the right attitude towards work and by offering it to him (i.e., Srīkrishna, who is God Himself) one is not tainted by it even while working.

Doing one’s duty, however imperfect it may appear to be, is far better than the performance of others’ duties, relinquishing one’s own.

What normally spoils one’s work and even impels one to evil ways of life, is selfish desire as also anger. These two have o be conquered by subduing the senses and raising the mind to the level of ātman or the soul.


Courtesy: Swami Harshananda  (emphases, if any, are mine. – nytanaya)


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