Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 120

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

Karma Yoga or the Method of Work

This verse seems to suggest the omnipotence of nature over the soul and requires us to act according to our nature, the law of our being. It does not follow that we should indulge in every impulse. It is a call to find out our true being and give expression to it. We cannot, even if we will, suppress it. Violated nature will take its revenge.

34 indriyasye 'ndriyasya 'rthe
ragadvesau vyavasthitau
tayor na vasam agacchet
tau hy asya paripanthinau
(34) For (every) sense attachment and aversion are fixed (in regard) to the objects of (that) sense Let no one come under their sway for they are his (two) waylayers.
Men should act according to buddhi or understanding. If we are victims of our impulses, our life is as aimless and devoid of intelligence as that of the animals. If we do not interfere, attachments and aversions will determine our acts. So long as we act in certain ways because we like them and abstain from others because we dislike them, we will be bound by our actions. But if we overcome these impulses and act from a sense of duty, we are not victims of the play of prakrti. The exercise of human freedom is conditioned and not cancelled by the necessities of nature.
35. sreyan svadharnuo viguliah
paradharrnat svanusthitat
svadharine nidhanam sreyan
75aradharryno bhayavahah
(35) Better is one's own law though imperfectly carried out than the law of another carried out perfectly. Better is death in (the fulfillment of) one's own law for to follow another's law is perilous There is more happiness in doing one's own work even without excellence than in doing anther's duty well. Each one must try to understand his psycho physical make-up and function in accordance with it. It may not be given to all of us to lay the foundations of systems of metaphysics or clothe lofty thoughts in enduring words. We have not all the same gifts, but what is vital is not whether we are endowed with five talents or only one but how faithfully we have employed the trust committed to us. We must play our part, manfully, be it great or small. Goodness denotes perfection of quality. However distasteful one's duty may be, one must be faithful to it even unto death.


References and Context