Chapter 3 Verse 29

Chapter 3 Verse 29 – Part 1

People are bound in terms of guna and Karma

प्रकृतेर्गुणसंमूढाः सज्जन्ते गुणकर्मसु ।
तानकृत्स्नविदो मन्दान्कृत्स्नविन्न विचालयेत्

prakrteh guna sammudhah sajjante gunakarmasu
tan akrstnavido Mandan krtsnavinna vicalayet

prakrteh –guna-sammudhah – those who are deluded by the modifications of the prakruti; guna- karmasu – in terms of the body mind sense complex (gunas) and actions
sajjante – become bound
tan – those people
akrtsnavidah – those who do not know
mandan – those who are not discriminative
krtsnavit – one who knows
na vicalayet – should not disturb

Those who are deluded by the modifications of the prakruti become bound in terms of the body mind sense complex (gunas) and actions. One who knows (the self) should not disturb those who do not know (the self), who are not discriminative.

Prakruti guna is anatma which contains the 24 components. This is identified as ‘I’ the self. Having the ‘I’ sense in the body sense complex there by claiming the anatma to be the atma, such people are sammudaha. Why people get attached because the notion is there that I am the doer. For them atma is the same as body and such people have no viveka in terms of inseparability of atma and anatma. e.g. can we separate physically water and wave ? What is the satyam there? Is the wave satyam or the water? Wave is a nama rupa for water whereas water is the satyam. The teaching here is about understanding who the real person is or what I am living this life for. Am I living this life for just enjoyment of material aspects, (e.g. artha, kama and dharma) or I am living this life to understand why I am born a human and not any other species. What is that that differentiates us between us and other species. So the person here who is a vimudha or not a viveki is someone who has no clear goal as to what he or she is striving to achieve. If the objective is to achieve artha and kama and dharma then these are materialstic and such person should be allowed to continue pursuing by encouraging him to do karma and as per the rules of nature i.e. dharma.

Krishna says that the people who are associated with the body mind and sense complex think that they are the doers and such people become bound, attached (sajjante) and with reference to the karma they do. The verse tells us a little more about people who are bound in terms of gunas and karma. They are described by Krishna as “mandas” or those who have no viveka in terms of atma gyanam. Mandatva means dullness and it is the feeling you have when you have indigestion and do not feel like eating or doing anything. You develop a complete dispassion even towards food that you like and it lasts long as the discomfort lasts. And if this mandatva happens in our thinking, nothing ignites in the brain sometimes even though the person is physically strong, able bodied.  The word ‘mandatva’ is associated only with reference to the mind and it is not a criticism of the person. It only tells that the person who has no viveka cannot distinguish between what is atma and anatma (krstnavit is another term to describe a wise person).

Krishna’s point here is that even a person who is a mumukshu and who has viveka should not be told to take sannyasa. For someone who has still has raga dvesas, even sannyasa will not work and it will only be abused. Such a person should be told to perform action as Karma Yoga which we shall see in the next verse. That’s why even Arjuna when asked for sannyasa, Krishna flatly told him that he is not ready and he should fight as that is what will help him get ready for the knowledge. Even a person like Arjuna who was virtuous, who knew dharma and did karma, had a lot of raga dvesas (likes and dislikes) left in him.

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