Bhagavad Gita Teachings – Chapter 3: Path of Action

Bhagavad Gita Teachings – Chapter 3: Path of Action

There are two paths to self-realization – Path of Knowledge for thinkers and Path of Action for doers (Verse 3)

Action is Superior to Inaction

Refraining from action does not release one from karmic reactions (results of actions) nor does it bring about knowledge (Verse 4)

We cannot be without action even for a moment. The modes of nature (Gunas) propel everyone to act (VERSE 5)

Modes of nature are personal characteristics that we are inherently predisposed towards

Those who restrain their senses but keep thinking about sense objects, are fooling themselves. They are hypocrites (Verse 6)

Do your duties, for action is superior to inaction. Even your body cannot be sustained without action (Verse 8)

Even the act of breathing requires action

Perform Your Duties Without Attachment

Perform your actions in the spirit of Yagna, otherwise it will bound you to this earthly existence. Do your duty and not be attached to its results (Verse 9

Yagna is when you do your part and let God do its. Yagna should be performed with a hope and not with an expectation

Bounding to earthly existence means chained to this earth for subsequent birth(s)

Those who forgo their responsibilities and live a life dominated by sensual delights, their life is futile (Verse 16)

Therefore, without attachment perform your duties, and you will attain God (Verse 19)

Perform Your Duties for Welfare of the World

 Perform your duties perfectly to set an example for others. Whatever the best people do and whatever standards they set, the world follows (Verse 21)

Ignorant people perform their duties with attachment to results. Wise should do theirs without attachment, for the welfare of the world (Verse 25)

The wise should not disdain those who undertake their responsibilities with an eye on results. Rather they should perform their own duties properly so as to inspire others (Verse 26)

Perform Your Duties Imperfectly than Someone Else’s with Perfection

Renounce all your actions to me, with your mind free from expectations and sense of ownership (Verse 30)

Even wise people act according to their innate nature since it is impossible to suppress their natural tendencies (Verse 33)

It is better to perform one’s duties imperfectly than someone else’s with ease and perfection (Verse 35)

Master Your Senses. Do not be Slave to Them

It is natural for senses to experience attraction and revulsion to sense objects. Do not let them control you, for they are your enemies and will lead you astray (Verse 34)

Anger comes from desire that is borne out of mode of passion (Rajsik Guna). It is your worst enemy (verse 37)

As fire is covered by smoke, mirror by dust and embryo by womb, this knowledge (of self-realization) is covered by desire (Verse 38)

Knowledge of even the wisest is shrouded by this enemy of desire (VERSE 39)

Desires dwell in the senses, in the mind and in the intellect. Through these mediums, they cover the knowledge of self-realization (Verse 40)

So control these senses right from the start, and destroy these desires which are cause of all sins. Otherwise they will destroy your knowledge and understanding (Verse 41)

Senses are superior to the entire body, mind is superior to the senses, intellect is superior to the mind, and soul or individual consciousness is superior to the intellect (Verse 42)

Thus knowing that soul is superior to the intellect, subjugate your lower self (senses, mind and intellect) and destroy this enemy of desire (Verse 43)

Total Verses in this Chapter: 43

I, me, Absolute Truth, Supreme Being, God, Universal Consciousness, Divine Realization, Divine Personality, Brahman, Divine, Shri Krishna – are all used interchangeably.


The word “Yog” is derived from a Sanskrit word “Yuj” which means to join. In Hindu scriptures, yoga means joining or uniting the soul within the individual with that of the universal soul (God). The common usage of yoga as physical exercise is just a subset of the practice of Yoga, which includes disciplines of meditation and mode of conduct among others. It is believed that practice of all these disciplines make a person ready for unification with the Supreme Being.


has a symbolic as well as a literal meaning. Literally it means a ritual where offerings are made to fire, hymns are chanted and deities are invoked for fulfillment of personal or community desires; or to thank God or to seek God’s blessings. Symbolically, Yagna signifies that we have to do our part (offering/action) in other to obtain something (blessing or fulfillment), with the latter not being guaranteed.


refers to our duty as it does to the intent behind our actions. According to Hinduism, every living being has their own personal dharma which may or may not be the same as of others. This dharma is based on one’s situation or circumstance in life.


is action as well as the result of the action. Its meaning depends on its context.


is liberation from the cycle of birth and death.


“Bhagavad Gita As It Is” by Swami Prabhupada

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