Bhagavad Gita Chapter Three – Karma Definition | Karma Circle
- June 21, 2020
This chapter is about an explanation about Karma definition / Karma circle and working in Krsna consciousness.
In Chapter Two of the Bhagavad Gita Book, we discussed the path of self-realization and detachment, recommended by Lord Krsna as:
- Krsna consciousness
- controlling the senses by intelligence
- work without fruitive desire
Despite the above been explained by Lord Krsna to Arjuna, he was still conflicted to wheater to engage in the fight. Therefore Arjuna asked Lord Krsna the best course of action and if he thinks intelligence is better than fruitive work.
This question appears that Arjuna was trying to find an excuse to fight. Arjuna asked the question again because in his understanding, been a devotee was like retirement from active life and living in a secluded place.
Understanding The Karma Circle
Krsna responded that there were two classes of men who try to realize the self (work in Krsna consciousness). Some are inclined to understand it by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others by devotional service:
- Karma-Yoga or Buddhi-Yoga
The first is the analytical study of the nature of spirit and matter. Sankhya Yoga is the subject matter for persons who are inclined to speculate and understand things by experimental knowledge and philosophy.
The second can be relieved from the bonds of action depending entirely on the Supreme. In this way, all the senses can be bought under control very quickly.
Lia: Would the first one defined as living as pious as possible and the second as a devotee (monk life/asceticism)?
Lucas: Yes, but the simple study of such things does not guarantee piousness. There must also be action alongside study.
The aim of Bhagavad Gita, the whole process is to understand the position of the self relating to the Super “Self”.
It is the nature of the soul to be active. Therefore the spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Krsna consciousness. If not, the illusions will take control. Thus, performing your duties, for doing so, is better than doing nothing.
Lia: What exactly this mean?
Lucas: It means that it is the duty of man and the nature of his spirit to develop his soul and ascend beyond the illusions and attachments of the material world.
The Senses – Karma Definition Explained
The senses can be completely controlled only by the strength of devotional service to Krsna. One, who is not in Krsna consciousness is sure ultimately to fail, for the slightest thought of senses pleasure will agitate them to gravity his desires.
Lia: Can you explain this in simple words?
Lucas: It means that one must be fully dedicated and devoted to spiritual works lest the temptations of the material world draw him back into unconsciousness.
Lia: So, while you are conscious about Krsna and the spiritual world, you cannot be thinking about material desires.
Lucas: It is not enough to think, one must act and live with devotion, detachment and self-denial in order to attain such consciousness.
Lia: But just thinking is a good start, right?
Lucas: It only remains “a” start, but it is useless and meaningless without action.
Lia: Are there easy actions pious can do without having to pray all the time?
Lucas: There is nothing that is not easy; that is worth doing it. One does not have to pray continually but must devote a certain period of time to devotion not only that; one must consistently live with the spiritual teachings in mind so, that they might live by them. There are no short cuts.
Lia: It is like everything in life. We need to dedicate ourselves, practice and reach our goals. Do you agree?
Krsna wanted Arjuna to fight as this was his prescribed duties as a military general. Such activities would cleanse his heart of the mundane world of material contamination.
Lia: So, this is an example in the book about acting in Krsna consciousness as not thinking in material or earthly terms. Additionally and so difficult, not envisaging the bonds of family or want for results or gratification.
A lesson to learn – Karma Definition
When you are focused on the material, you are consequently looking for gratification. One has to work to satisfy Krsna no himself. By doing this, one is in a liberated stage. Action should nothing should be performed for sense gratification, but the satisfaction of Krsna.
The Demigods & Sacrifices
Bhagavad Gita says that if you please the demigods with sacrifice/offerings (incense/meditation), prosperity will reign for all.
The Demigods are the controllers of the material affairs. By performing, sacrifices will ultimately lead to liberation from material bondage.
Vedas recommend different types of sacrifices and worship different demigods according to different material qualities of the person.
- Meat eaters – To worship Kali.
- For transcendental – To worship Visnu (Universal Spirit)
Govinda is the giver of pleasures, Mukunda is the giver of liberation, and Indra/Candra/Varuna are related to material affairs.
Note: Krsna is one of the incarnations of Visnu
According to Bhagavad Gita, at least five sacrifices are necessary. However, it also says that there is no need to worship demigods if you are worshipping Krsna directly.
The demigods are considered the limbs of the Lord.
So they will also benefit from the sacrifices offered to Visnu/Krsna. The book state that by doing this, it does not only vanish past sins but turn the body immunized to all contaminations of material nature.
Interestingly, it says that the devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they offer the food they will eat first as a sacrifice.
Krsna explained to Arjuna that if a person does not follow the cycle of sacrifice established by the Vedas, they will live in vain and full of sins.
The meaning of Human Life – Karma Circle
Krsna says that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Him.
The 4 Vedas are codes of working directions of:
- Rg Veda
- Yajur Veda
- Sama Veda
- Atharva Veda
The simple explanation is that God created this world for us to live and learn how to perform sacrifices for the satisfaction of Visnu. By doing that we can live comfortably without anxiety if we “detach” ourselves from the “temporary material illusions”. When the material body dies, then we can enter into the kingdom of God. By performing sacrifices, we become Krsna conscious.
To be a “good” man or nonviolent is a personal attachment. However, to act on behalf of the supreme is to work without attachment for the result. The ignorant perform their duties with attachment to result. A Krsna conscious person can achieve the same actions but for the satisfaction of Krsna.
A person who performs their actions without attachment to the result of the work makes progress toward the supreme goal of life.
Lord Krsna advise us not to disturb those who do not understand or do not appreciate activities in Krsna. Try to convince others about Krsna work is a waste of time. However, devotees are more prepared to approach ignorant men and try to engage them in the acts of Krsna.
Lord Krsna advised Arjuna to regulate the senses so he could control “lust“, the greatest sinful enemy. The basic to understand the karma definition.
Lust destroys the urge for self-realization. Lust concentrates on the “body” and material desires so the opposite of Krsna consciousness.
When the soul connects to The Supreme, there are no chances of the senses to engage in the lower tendencies.
Summary – Karma Circle – Karma Definition
The greatest enemies of the conditioned soul are sense for gratification and the desire for control and domination over material things. By devoting himself to such situations, the temporary, frivolous, and devouring nature of them consumes and corrupts him.
But by working on Krsna consciousness, one can control the material senses and the mind.
Lia: Sometimes, living with less and in peace is better than running after money for temporary satisfaction. So, it is always a choice to make.
Lucas: Karma, presented here, pure and unadulterated, shows how attachment to the senses and other material things corrupts us. That devotion to God and living with detachment liberates and enlighten us. This way, all actions come back to us.
Disclaimer, as explained in my first post about Bhagavad Gita:
I started reading the Bhagavad Gita As It, encouraged by my son Lucas, (who already read the book). Together we decided to share with you our discussions and understandings about the book.
It does not mean that we believe, follow or advise anyone to follow, change their beliefs or practice anything here.