Gita Daily Readings

5th MARCH
Chapter Three: 8-9
Do thou perform thy duty, for action is superior to inaction. Even the maintenance of the body would not be possible for thee by inaction.

The world is bound by actions other than those performed as yajna. Do thou, therefore, perform action as sacrifice, free from attachment.

Commentary

Krishna has the divine genius of going at once to the root of the problem. What binds man to the wheel of action-reaction, or more simply, sin and suffering? Selfish desire and attachment! Removal of these two liberates us from it.

On the other hand, if we stubbornly and ignorantly refuse to take part in the world's activity, we lose the best way to understand the nature and strength of the chain that binds us. It is the ego, the "me." It is the ego that suggests that inaction is liberation. The approval and adulation of ignorant people stiffens and strengthens the ego of the pseudo-sage who has "renounced the world!" Covering filth with a Persian carpet cannot remove it. Therefore, Krishna advocates positive action and vigilant effort at self-purification.

We are bound to the wheel of karma by selfish desires. These must be sacrificed, and our actions should be our sacrifice at the altar of the omnipresent God. "Ya" (that) "jna" (knowledge) - that action which is of knowledge and leads to knowledge. If yajna means "animal sacrifice", the animal to be sacrificed is not outside, but within us. That animal is the personality full of selfishness, lust, hatred and egoism - in a word "me." But if sacrifice means "offering" then we should offer all our actions to God as sacrifice. If sacrifice means "to make sacred" then everything (all our actions, experiences, and even the ego) should be offered to God to be made sacred. Self-sacrificing, selfless service will not bind us, but liberate us.

But even these should be performed without attachment to the actions (the feeling that we do or do not do) and their rewards.

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