Arjuna uvaacha:
atha kena prayuktoyam paapam charati poorushah |
anicchannapi vaarshneya balaadiva niyojitaha || 36 ||

Then, what compels people to commit sin against their wishes, O Vaarshneya, as if commanded forcefully?

atha : then
kena : which
prayuktah : compels
paapam : sin
charati : commit
poorushah : people
anicchan : without one’s wish
api : also
vaarshneya : O Vaarshneya
balaat : forcefully
iva : as if
niyojitaha : commanded

In the last shloka, Shri Krishna completed his teaching of karmayoga. But Arjuna was not satisfied. He was listening attentively and wanted to know more details around the obstacles to karmayoga, how to spot them and how to get rid of them.

It is a wonderful question, because as we have seen earlier, obstacles to karmayoga pop up when we least expect them. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the obstacles is needed to fully overcome them. Note that Arjuna addresses Shri Krishna as “vaarshneya”, which means a member of the Vrishni dynasty.

Even in simple matters like our food intake, we face obstacles. Most of us are smart enough to know that foods containing a lot of oil and sugar are not good for us. But when we see our favourite dessert in front of us, we are propelled to eat it. All our intellect stops functioning. Well educated people, under the influence of greed, commit all kinds of scams today.

There is an interesting statement made by Duryodhana in the Mahaabhaarata. He says that even he knows that his actions are wrong, but there is something inside him that forces him to carry out those actions. This means that even a strong intellect is not necessarily able to check our behaviour.

In the final portion of the third chapter, Shri Krishna responds to Arjuna’s doubt to describe the obstacles in detail and the method to control their influence on us.