Chapter 3 – Verse 33
Whatever one does is in keeping with One’s svabhava alone.
sadrsam cesate svasyah prakrerjnanavanapi
prakrtim yanti bhutani nigrahah kim karisyati
jnanavan – a wise person
api – even
svasyah – ones’s own
prakrteh – of nature
sadrsam – in keeping with
cestate – acts
bhutani – beings
prakrtim – one’s own nature
yanti – follow
nigrahah – control
kim – what
karisyati – will do
Even a wise person acts in keeping with his or her own nature. Becuase all beings follow their own nature.
Action in keeping with one’s own svabhava applies to all living beings, including trees. If a tree is a sandalwood tree
the whole tree will have a particular aroma, not just its flowers alone. Every tree, flower, plant, insect bird, animal and human being including the jnani behaves and acts according to prakrti-prakrtim-yanti-bhutani.
Prakrti being what it is neither the doer of the action nor anyone else can control. Krishna himself cannot control it as
sankara says in his commentary. This is because the person has been given free will which gives him or her
the capacity to say ‘No’ to anything. If something is mentioned in the scripture, how a guru or someone can control
the person to either follow or not to follow. E.g the Vedas says not to eat meat, drink alcohol, or hurt another
person. These are all mandates of the shastram. But they are not simply arbitrary mandates and they are explained
with the negative aspects of each of them in conformity with the work being done by the person. e.g. a Brahmana
does not ever have the necessity to eat meat, drink alcohol as he uses his intellect and these habits tend to make
The animals do not have a dharma sastra because they do not have free will. E.g. If you ask a tiger nicely not to eat you
do you think it will understand and let you go? It is the nature of the tiger to see anything as prey and it will
attack you. Where is the free will? Likewise a dog always barks and even if you tell it to keep quiet, it will
start again in a few minutes. It is the nature and does the dog does any reasoning?
When Krishna says that he himself sometimes cannot control what is dictated by the prakruti he means that everyone
here acts according to their longing and aversion to certain things. We will see more of what he says here in
the next verse.