Gita Daily Readings


1st December
XVIII: 18, 19
Knowledge, the knowable and the knower form the threefold impulse to action; the organ, the action and the agent form the threefold basis of action.

Knowledge, action and actor are declared in the science of the gunas (sankhya philosophy) to be of three kinds only, according to the distinction of the gunas. Hear them also duly.


Krishna does not split hairs in philosophy, and consequently does not give us a splitting headache. On the other hand, fear of analysis often leads to vague generalizations. Krishna 's teaching is entirely free from this, too. The word of God has the invariable characteristic of being clear, succinct and direct. I have seen this in our Master's approach to all problems. He could go to the root of any problem without beating about the bush and getting lost; and without dabbling on the surface and getting nowhere.

Self-purification is a delicate art. It is surgery without incision. It demands a subtlety of vision without magnification . What is the "self" and what are the components that should be purified? Ignorance of this might land us in semi-purification (which is not purification!).

What constitutes an action? Listen to the wonderfully precise analysis. Action springs from knowledge (theory); we have an idea of the "knowable," the experiencable, the object, the goal; and the knower is the subject. Subject-object-predicate: these are the three invariable constituents of an action. Purify them and all actions are pure.

The physical being, its activity, and the idea of agency - are the mechanics of action. Purify them, too.

These six are then reduced to three: knowledge, action (directed towards the right "knowable" or object) and actor (the self, the knower, the agent who identifies himself as the organ of action). These three are classified into the threefold division in the following verses.

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