Gita Daily Readings

22nd MARCH
Chapter Three: 36-37
Arjuna asked: But impelled by what does man commit sin, though against his wishes, Oh Krishna, constrained as it were by force?

The blessed Lord said: It is desire, it is anger born of the quality of rajas, all-devouring, all-sinful; know this as the foe here.

Commentary

The question is extremely pertinent; if nature (God's nature) is responsible for all actions, and if it is inevitable that the senses should automatically respond to the stimuli from the sense-objects, then how is man responsible for any evil that may proceed from such response? Why is it said that a particular action is sinful and a particular person a sinner?

Krishna goes straight to the root of the problem and reveals the true culprit. Desire is sin. Anger or hate is sin. Raga (likes) and dvesha (dislikes) are sinful. When man is prompted to perform an action by desire or selfish motive, he sins.

If the inner motive or attitude alone is the governing factor, then can we stretch this rule to cover our sins? Obviously not. For we should never forget that we shall know our duty truly only if our mind is tranquil and our intelligence united with God. Ordinarily, we should adhere to accepted moral standards. Such acceptance immediately leads to inner tranquility. When there is tranquility insight is bright, unagitated. Desire arises when insight is veiled and when there is unawareness. When insight becomes aware of the arising of desire, the distinction between natural urges (like hunger and thirst) and unnatural craving is realized; the unnatural does not happen and the natural is not translated into "my desire" by thought. Thus the way for unawareness and lack of insight to encourage pursuit of pleasure and the formation of likes and dislikes is not paved.

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