Those persons who execute their duties according to My injunctions
and who follow this teaching faithfully, without envy, become free
from the bondage of fruitive actions.
The injunction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the
essence of all Vedic wisdom and therefore is eternally true without
exception. As the Vedas are eternal, so this truth of Krsna consciousness is also eternal. One should have firm faith in this injunction, without envying the Lord. There are many philosophers who
write comments on the Bhagavad-Gita but have no faith in Krsna.
They will never be liberated from the bondage of fruitive action. But
an ordinary man with firm faith in the eternal injunctions of the
Lord, even though unable to execute such orders, becomes liberated
from the bondage of the law of karma. In the beginning of Krsna
consciousness, one may not fully discharge the injunctions of the
Lord, but because one is not resentful of this principle and works
sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will
surely be promoted to the stage of pure Krsna consciousness.
- ye tv etad abhyasuyanto
- nanutisthanti me matam
- tan viddhi nastan acetasah.
But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not
follow them are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled,
and ruined in their endeavors for perfection.
The flaw of not being Krsna conscious is clearly stated herein. As
there is punishment for disobedience to the order of the supreme
executive head, so there is certainly punishment for disobedience to
the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A disobedient
person, however great he may be, is ignorant of his own self, and of
the Supreme Brahman, Paramatma and the Personality of God-
head, due to a vacant heart. Therefore there is no hope of perfection
of life for him.
- sadrsam cestate svasyah
- prakrter jnanavan api
- prakrtim yanti bhutani
- nigrahah kim karisyati.
Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for
everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three modes.
What can repression accomplish?
Unless one is situated on the transcendental platform of Krsna
consciousness, he cannot get free from the influence of the modes of
material nature, as it is confirmed by the Lord in the Seventh
Chapter (7.14). Therefore, even for the most highly educated person
on the mundane plane, it is impossible to get out of the entanglement
of maya simply by theoretical knowledge, or by separating the soul
from the body. There are many so-called spiritualists who outwardly
pose as advanced in the science but inwardly or privately are completely under particular modes of nature which they are unable to
Academically, one may be very learned, but because of his
long association with material nature, he is in bondage. Krsna
consciousness helps one to get out of the material entanglement,
even though one may be engaged in his prescribed duties in terms of
material existence. Therefore, without being fully in Krsna consciousness, one should not give up his occupational duties. No one
should suddenly give up his prescribed duties and become a so-
called yogi or transcendentalist artificially. It is better to be situated
in one's position and to try to attain Krsna consciousness under
superior training. Thus one may be freed from the clutches of
- indriyasyendriyasyarthe raga-dvesau
- vyavasthitau tayor na
- vasam agacchet tau hy
- asya paripanthinau.
There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining
to the senses and their objects. One should not come under the
control of such attachment and aversion, because they are stumbling
blocks on the path of self-realization.
Those who are in Krsna consciousness are naturally reluctant to
engage in material sense gratification. But those who are not in such
consciousness should follow the rules and regulations of the revealed
scriptures. Unrestricted sense enjoyment is the cause of material
engagement, but one who follows the rules and regulations of the
revealed scriptures does not become entangled by the sense objects.
For example, sex enjoyment is a necessity for the conditioned soul,
and sex enjoyment is allowed under the license of marriage ties.
According to scriptural injunctions, one is forbidden to engage in
sex relationships with any women other than one's wife. All other
women are to be considered as one's mother. But in spite of such
injunctions, a man is still inclined to have sex relationships with
These propensities are to be curbed; otherwise they
will be stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization. As long as
the material body is there, the necessities of the material body are
allowed, but under rules and regulations. And yet, we should not
rely upon the control of such allowances. One has to follow those
rules and regulations, unattached to them, because practice of sense
gratification under regulations may also lead one to go astray—as
much as there is always the chance of an accident, even on the royal
Although they may be very carefully maintained, no one can
guarantee that there will be no danger even on the safest road. The
sense enjoyment spirit has been current a very long, long time, owing
to material association. Therefore, in spite of regulated sense enjoyment, there is every chance of falling down; therefore any attachment for regulated sense enjoyment must also be avoided by all
means. But attachment to Krsna consciousness, or acting always in
the loving service of Krsna, detaches one from all kinds of sensory
activities. Therefore, no one should try to be detached from Krsna
consciousness at any stage of life. The whole purpose of detachment
from all kinds of sense attachment is ultimately to become situated
on the platform of Krsna consciousness.
- sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah
- para-dharmat sv-anusthitat
- sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah
- para-dharmo bhayavahah.
It is far better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even though
faultily, than another's duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of
performing one's own duty is better than engaging in another's
duties, for to follow another's path is dangerous.
One should therefore discharge his prescribed duties in full Krsna
consciousness rather than those prescribed for others. Materially,
prescribed duties are duties enjoined according to one's psycho-
physical condition, under the spell of the modes of material nature.
Spiritual duties are as ordered by the spiritual master for the transcendental service of Krsna. But whether material or spiritual, one
should stick to his prescribed duties even up to death, rather than
imitate another's prescribed duties. Duties on the spiritual platform
and duties on the material platform may be different, but the principle of following the authorized direction is always good for the
When one is under the spell of the modes of material
nature, one should follow the prescribed rules for his particular
situation and should not imitate others. For example, a brahmana,
who is in the mode of goodness, is nonviolent, whereas a ksatriya,
who is in the mode of passion, is allowed to be violent. As such, fora
ksatriya it is better to be vanquished following the rules of violence
than to imitate a brahmana who follows the principles of nonviolence. Everyone has to cleanse his heart by a gradual process, not
abruptly. However, when one transcends the modes of material
nature and is fully situated in Krsna consciousness, he can perform
anything and everything under the direction of a bona fide spiritual
In that complete stage of Krsna consciousness, the ksatriya
may act as a brahmana, or a brahmana may act as a ksatriya. In the
transcendental stage, the distinctions of the material world do not
apply. For example, Visvamitra was originally a ksatriya, but later
on he acted as a brahmana, whereas Parasurama was a brahmana
but later on he acted as a ksatriya. Being transcendentally situated,
they could do so; but as long as one is on the material platform, he
must perform his duties according to the modes of material nature.
At the same time, he must have a full sense of Krsna consciousness.
- arjuna uvaca
- atha kena prayukto
- ’yam papam carati
- purusah anicchann api
- varsneya balad iva niyojitah.
Arjuna said: 0 descendant of Vrsni, by what is one impelled to sinful
acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?
A living entity, as part and parcel of the Supreme, is originally
spiritual, pure, and free from all material contaminations. There-
fore, by nature he is not subject to the sins of the material world. But
when he is in contact with the material nature, he acts in many sinful
ways without hesitation, and sometimes even against his will. As
such, Arjuna's question to Krsna is very sanguine, as to the perverted nature of the living entities. Although the living entity sometimes does not want to act in sin, he is still forced to act. Sinful
actions are not, however, impelled by the Supersoul within, but are
due to another cause, as the Lord explains in the next verse.
- sri-bhagavan uvaca
- kama esa krodha esa
- mahasano maha-papma
- vidhy enam iha vairinam.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna,
which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later
transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy
of this world.
When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his
eternal love for Krsna is transformed into lust, in association with
the mode of passion. Or, in other words, the sense of love of God
becomes transformed into lust, as milk in contact with sour tama-
rind is transformed into yogurt. Then again, when lust is unsatisfied,
it turns into wrath; wrath is transformed into illusion, and illusion
continues the material existence. Therefore, lust is the greatest
enemy of the living entity, and it is lust only which induces the pure
living entity to remain entangled in the material world. Wrath is
the manifestation of the mode of ignorance; these modes exhibit them-
selves as wrath and other corollaries. If, therefore, the mode of
passion, instead of being degraded into the mode of ignorance, is
elevated to the mode of goodness by the prescribed method of living
and acting, then one can be saved from the degradation of wrath by
The Supreme Personality of Godhead expanded Himself into
many for His ever-increasing spiritual bliss, and the living entities
are parts and parcels of this spiritual bliss. They also have partial
independence, but by misuse of their independence, when the service
attitude is transformed into the propensity for sense enjoyment, they
commander the sway of lust. This material creation is created by the
Lord to give facility to the conditioned souls to fulfill these lustful
propensities, and when completely baffled by prolonged lustful
activities, the living entities begin to inquire about their real
This inquiry is the beginning of the Vedanta-sutras, wherein it is
said, athato brahma-jijndsd: one should inquire into the Supreme.
And the Supreme is denned in Srimad- Bhagavatam "The origin of everything is the Supreme
Brahman." Therefore the origin of lust is also in the Supreme. If,
therefore, lust is transformed into love for the Supreme, or trans-
formed into Krsna consciousness—or, in other words, desiring every-
thing for Krsna—then both lust and wrath can be spiritualized.
Hanuman, the great servitor of Lord Rama, exhibited his wrath by
burning the golden city of Ravana, but by doing so he became the
greatest devotee of the Lord. Here also, in Bhagavad-Gita, the Lord
induces Arjuna to engage his wrath upon his enemies for the satisfaction of the Lord. Therefore, lust and wrath, when they are
employed in Rrsna consciousness, become our friends instead of our
- dhumenavriyate vahnir
- yathadarso malena ca
- yatholbenavrto garbhas
- tatha tenedam avrtam.
As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the
embryo is covered by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered
by different degrees of this lust.
There are three degrees of covering of the living entity by which his
pure consciousness is obscured. This covering is but lust under
different manifestations like smoke in the fire, dust on the mirror,
and the womb about the embryo. When lust is compared to smoke,
it is understood that the fire of the living spark can be a little
perceived. In other words, when the living entity exhibits his Krsna
consciousness slightly, he may be likened to the fire covered by
smoke. Although fire is necessary where there is smoke, there is no
overt manifestation of fire in the early stage. This stage is like the
beginning of Krsna consciousness. The dust on the mirror refers to a
cleansing process of the mirror of the mind by so many spiritual
methods. The best process is to chant the holy names of the Lord.
The embryo covered by the womb is an analogy illustrating a
helpless position, for the child in the womb is so helpless that he
cannot even move. This stage of living condition can be compared to
that of the trees. The trees are also living entities, but they have been
put in such a condition of life by such a great exhibition of lust that
they are almost void of all consciousness.
The covered mirror is
compared to the birds and beasts, and the smoke-covered fire is
compared to the human being. In the form of a human being, the
living entity may revive a little Krsna consciousness, and, if he makes
further development, the fire of spiritual life can be kindled in the
human form of life. By careful handling of the smoke in the fire, fire
can be made to blaze. Therefore the human form of life is a chance
for the living entity to escape the entanglement of material existence.
In the human form of life, one can conquer the enemy, lust, by
cultivation of Krsna consciousness under able guidance.
- avrtam jnanam etena
- jnanino nitya-vairina
- kama-rupena kaunteya
- duspurenanalena ca.
Thus the wise living entity's pure consciousness becomes covered by
his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and
which burns like fire.
It is said in the Manu-smrti that lust cannot be satisfied by any
amount of sense enjoyment, just as fire is never extinguished by a
constant supply of fuel. In the material world, the center of all
activities is sex, and thus this material world is called mailhunya-
dgdra, or the shackles of sex life. In the ordinary prison house,
criminals are kept within bars; similarly, the criminals who are
disobedient to the laws of the Lord are shackled by sex life.
Advancement of material civilization on the basis of sense gratification means increasing the duration of the material existence of a
living entity. Therefore, this lust is the symbol of ignorance by which
the living entity is kept within the material world. While one enjoys
sense gratification, it may be that there is some feeling of happiness,
but actually that so-called feeling of happiness is the ultimate enemy
of the sense enjoyer.
- indriyani mano buddhir
- asyadhisthanam ucyate
- etair vimohayaty esa
- jnanam avrtya dehinam.
The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this
lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity
and bewilders him.
The enemy has captured different strategic positions in the body of
the conditioned soul, and therefore Lord Krsna is giving hints of
those places, so that one who wants to conquer the enemy may know
where he can be found. Mind is the center of all the activities of the
senses, and thus when we hear about sense objects the mind generally becomes a reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification; and, as a
result, the mind and the senses become the repositories of lust. Next,
the intelligence department becomes the capital of such lustful propensities. Intelligence is the immediate next-door neighbor of the
spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to acquire the
false ego and identify itself with matter, and thus with the mind and
senses. The spirit soul becomes addicted to enjoying the material
senses and mistakes this as true happiness. This false identification
of the spirit soul is very nicely explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam:
"A human being who identifies this body made of three elements
with his self, who considers the by-products of the body to be his
kinsmen, who considers the land of birth worshipable, and who goes
to the place of pilgrimage simply to take a bath rather than meet men of transcendental knowledge there, is to be considered like an ass or
- tasmat tvam indriyany
- adau niyamya bharatarsabha
- papmanam prajahi hy
- enam jnana-vijnana-nasanam.
Therefore, 0 Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning
curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating thesenses, and slay
this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.
The Lord advised Arjuna to regulate the senses from the very begin-
ning so that he could curb the greatest sinful enemy, lust, which de-
stroys the urge for self-realization and specific knowledge of the self.
Jnana refers to knowledge of self as distinguished from non-self, or
in other words, knowledge that the spirit soul is not the body. Vi-
jndna refers to specific knowledge of the spirit soul's constitutional
position and his relationship to the Supreme Soul. It is explained
thus in the Srimad- Bhdgavatam (2.9.31):
"The knowledge of the self and Supreme Self is very confidential and
mysterious, but such knowledge and specific realization can be
understood if explained with their various aspects by the Lord
Himself." Bhagavad-Gita gives us that general and specific knowledge of the self. The living entities are parts and parcels of the Lord,
and therefore they are simply meant to serve the Lord. This consciousness is called Krsna consciousness. So, from the very beginning of life one has to learn this Krsna consciousness, and thereby
one may become fully Krsna conscious and act accordingly.
Lust is only the perverted reflection of the love of God which is
natural for every living entity. But if one is educated in Krsna
consciousness from the very beginning, that natural love of God
cannot deteriorate into lust. When love of God deteriorates into lust,
it is very difficult to return to the normal condition. Nonetheless,
Krsna consciousness is so powerful that even a late beginner can
become a lover of God by following the regulative principles of
devotional service. So, from any stage of life, or from the time of
understanding its urgency, one can begin regulating the senses in
Krsna consciousness, devotional service of the Lord, and turn the
lust into love of Godhead—the highest perfectional stage of human
- indriyani parany dhur
- indriyebhyah param manah
- manasas tu para buddhir
- yo buddheh paratas tu sah.
The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than
the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul]
is even higher than the intelligence.
The senses are different outlets for the activities of lust. Lust is reserved within the body, but it is given vent through the senses.
Therefore, the senses are superior to the body as a whole. These
outlets are not in use when there is superior consciousness, or Krsna
consciousness. In Krsna consciousness the soul makes direct con-
nection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore the
hierarchy of bodily functions, as described here, ultimately ends in
the Supreme Soul. Bodily action means the functions of the senses,
and stopping the senses means stopping all bodily actions. But since
the mind is active, then even though the body may be silent and at
rest, the mind will act-as it does during dreaming. But above the
mind is the determination of the intelligence, and above the intelligence is the soul proper.
If, therefore, the soul is directly engaged
with the Supreme, naturally all other subordinates, namely, the
intelligence, mind and senses, will be automatically engaged. In the
Kathu Upanisad there is a similar passage, in which it is said that the
objects of sense gratification are superior to the senses, and mind is
superior to the sense objects. If, therefore, the mind is directly
, engaged in the service of the Lord constantly, then there is no chance
that the senses will become engaged in other ways. This mental
attitude has already been explained. Pararh drstvd nivartate. If the
mind is engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord, there is no
chance of its being engaged in the lower propensities. In the Katha
Upanisad the soul has been described as mahan, the great. Therefore
the soul is above all—namely, the sense objects, the senses, the mind
and the intelligence. Therefore, directly understanding the constitutional position of the soul is the solution of the whole problem.
With intelligence one has to seek out the constitutional position of
the soul and then engage the mind always in Krsna consciousness.
That solves the whole problem. A neophyte spiritualist is generally
advised to keep aloof from the objects of the senses. But aside from
that, one has to strengthen the mind by use of intelligence. If by
intelligence one engages one's mind in Krsna consciousness, by
complete surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then,
automatically, the mind becomes stronger, and even though the
senses are very strong, like serpents, they will be no more effective
than serpents with broken fangs. But even though the soul is the
master of intelligence and mind, and the senses also, still unless it is
strengthened by association with Krsna in Krsna consciousness,
there is every chance of falling down due to the agitated mind.
- evam buddheh param
- buddhva samstabhyatmanam
- atmana jahi satrum maha-baho
- kama-rupam durasadam.
Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses,
mind and intelligence, 0 mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady
the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence [Krsna consciousness]
and thus—by spiritual strength—conquer this insatiable enemy
known as lust.
This Third Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita is conclusively directive to
Krsna consciousness by knowing oneself as the eternal servitor of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without considering impersonal voidness the ultimate end. In the material existence of life, one
is certainly influenced by propensities for lust and desire for dominating the resources of material nature. Desire for overlording and
for sense gratification is the greatest enemy of the conditioned soul;
but by the strength of Krsna consciousness, one can control the
material senses, the mind and the intelligence. One may not give up
work and prescribed duties all of a sudden; but by gradually developing Krsna consciousness, one can be situated in a transcendental position without being influenced by the material senses and the
mind—by steady intelligence directed toward one's pure identity.
This is the sum total of this chapter. In the immature stage of
material existence, philosophical speculations and artificial attempts
to control the senses by the so-called practice of yogic postures can never help a man toward spiritual life. He must be trained in Krsna
consciousness by higher intelligence.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Third Chapter of the
Srimad Bhagavad-Gita in the matter of Karma-yoga, or the Discharge of One's Prescribed Duty in Krsna Consciousness.