Chapter 3The Eternal Duties of a Human BeingsVerse 1


Sanskrit Vocal





Commentaries of the Four Authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

as confirmed in the Garga Samhita Canto 10, Chapter 61, Verses 23, 24, 25, 26
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Sridhara Swami's Commentary

Commencing in chapter two, verse eleven Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna that he is lamenting for what should not be grieved for. A pattern has been set in motion that gives a sense of discrimination between the soul and the physical body and has been instructed as a way to attain moksa or liberation. So jnana yoga or a requisite mentality towards the soul has been taught, now learn how to apply this in respect to requisite activities in karma yoga as was explained beginning in chapter two, verse thirty-nine. Although jnana yoga and karma-yoga have been explained in detail, the relationship between the two has not been established as to which is superior and which is subordinate. In regard to discrimination and the cultivation of spiritual knowledge and being informed that they lead one to moksa or liberation; Arjuna came to the conclusion that Lord Krishna valued this path to be superior to karma yoga or the path of actions. But if this was true then Arjuna was bewildered because he did not understand why Lord Krishna was urging him to engage in a ghastly, horrific war by repeatedly telling him to arise and fight

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:

There is no commentary for this verse.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The ultimate purpose of the Bhagavad-Gita is to show in a clear and lucid manner that one-pointed loving devotion to the Supreme Being who is glorified and proclaimed in the Vedas is the singular and paramount goal to be attained by all human beings specifically and for all living beings in general. Who is proclaimed in the Upanisads as the singular goal to achieve by the aspirants for moksa or liberation from material existence. Who is declared in the Puranas as being destitute of all defiling characteristics such as avidya or nescience. This Supreme Being who is possessing boundless and unlimited magnificent and glorious attributes. Bhakti yoga or loving devotional service is exclusively only in relation to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised avatars or incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures. In order to achieve full success in bhakti yoga it is essential to achieve atma tattva or realisation of one's eternal soul. The atma or soul is one's eternal nature beyond all material conceptions and is a necessary preliminary step. Atma tattva is ultimately attained by jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge from the Vedic scriptures which is generated by karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities without attachment. These prescribed Vedic activities are established on the foundation that the atma is eternal and can never be modified or destroyed as delineated so clearly by Lord Krishna in chapter two.

Brahma has stated that the acquisition of paravidya or the knowledge required to attain the Supreme Being is known as bhakti or loving devotion and that dahara-vidya or that this method of meditation is required to realise the Supreme Being, who resides within the etheric region of the heart. In the Chandogya Upanisad it is given that the realisation of the atma within one's own heart is the first ancillary step by the God aspirant to attaining realisation of the Supreme Being Himself. Then the incorporeal and non-material reality of the atma and its eternal nature beyond the consciousness of waking, sleeping and dreaming is completely transcended. Thus does the phenomenal nature of the atma emerging from within the physical body, radiant in ineffable light shining in its natural and wonderous effulgence. In the Katha Upanisad this subject is also well elucidated as given in the following description: By perceiving paramatma which is the Supreme Soul existing simultaneously within all beings and then by discrimination obtained after realisation of the individual atma. The enlightened one delivers themselves from attraction and repulsion, joy and grief and all other dualities. Communion with the Supreme Soul is communion with the Supreme Being which is the goal to be attained through the discrimination derived directly from atma tattva. This confirms that atma tattva or realisation of the soul is an essential ingerdient and constituent component of the Supreme Being which is attained by bhakti or loving devotion. Another example is: Knowing the magnificent and all- pervading nature of paramatma the Supreme Soul, the enlightened one no longer grieves or laments which reveals the natural potency of the atma to relieve one of all mundane dross due to the influence of the material existence.

The eternal soul known as the atma is not gainable merely by hearing about it. Nor is it obtainable by discoursing about it nor is it attainable by meditating exclusively on it. The atma is attainable solely to those whom the atma alone elects to attain it. Whomsoever the atma selects as an act of sovereign grace alone the atma reveals itself to such a one. Who is such a one? It is none other than that person who has discriminatory wisdom as their charioteer, who has the reins of their mind controlling the steeds of the senses, who has the actual competence to achieve moksa or liberation and attain the coveted goal of loving devotion to the Supreme Lord.

So in conclusion what we have just presented in essence form is the ultimate purpose of the Bhagavad-Gita. From chapter three along with chapters four, five and six the path for the aspirant is given beginning with the very first question in this chapter. The means of cognition and the method of realisation along with the meditation required to achieve it will be delineated and forthcoming.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

So in review chapter one introduced the setting in which Arjuna’s grief and lamentation arose as an apparent cause for spiritual instructions from the Supreme Lord Krishna. Then in order to remove this grief and lamentation in chapter two Lord Krishna reveals the eternal nature of the soul, the discrimination between body and the soul, karma yoga, the path of actions without attachment, jnana yoga the cultivation of spiritual knowledge and the restaint of the senses, taking refuge of the Lord, equaninity of mind and the attainment of moksa or liberation have all been delineated. Thus the essence of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita has been presented in chapter two in a condensed form. The remaining sixteen chapters should be understood to be an extension of the topics discussed in chapter two.

Here in this verse Arjuna is thinking that he was blamed earlier in chapter two, verse 11 for lamenting for those who should not be grieved for. He was subsequently tutored in jnana yoga, the path of knowledge to alleviate this error. Now Lord Krishna is presenting a way to allieviate this error from the point of view of karma yoga, the path of actions without attachment. In chapter two, verse thirty-nine he is told he has the right to perform actions but not to desire the fruit of action. In chapter two, verse forty-seven and forty-eight he is instructed not to be attached to inaction and perform duties with equanimity, respectively. Then in chapter two, verse fifty-three he is told how the mind becomes in this state. Then from verse fifty-five until the end of the chapter two Lord Krishna gives the proofs to show the superiority of the cultivation of spiritual knowledge which leads to the ultimate truth in the last verse of this chapter where once one having attained even at a second before death attains liberation from the material existence. But in spite of these instructions Arjuna was still being instructed to arise and fight. These seemingly contradictory instructions caused some confusion in Arjuna’s mind that he was anxious to have the omniscient and omnipotent supreme Lord Krishna dispel.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 3, verse 1 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 1

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