lobhaha pravrittiraarambhaha karmanaamashamaha spruhaa |
rajasyetaani jaayante vivriddhe bharatarshabha || 12 ||

 
Greed, activity, commencement of actions, unrest, desire. These arise when rajas is predominant, o foremost among the Bharataas.
 
lobhaha : greed
pravrittihi : activity
araarambhaha : commencement
karmanaam : actions
ashamaha : unrest
spruhaa : desire
rajasi : of rajas
etaani : these
jaayante : arise
vivriddhe : predominance
bharatarshabha : O foremost among the Bharataas
 
Shri Krishna addressed Arjuna as “bharatarshabha”, the foremost scion of the Bharata dynasty, and enumerates the marks of a person who is under the influence of raajas. He says that whenever our mind generates thoughts of greed, selfish activity, commencement of action, unrest or uneasiness, and desire for even trivial things, we should realize that we are under the sway of rajas. In fact, we consider this to be our natural state of mind, especially during the waking hours of the day.
 
If we look at the first half of the shloka in reverse order, we start with spruha, which is a selfish desire for objects that have nothing to do with our duties, like a gold watch. Frequent thoughts for acquiring the gold watch lead to ashama or restlessness, where we are not satisfied with our present situation and want to do something else. We then begin to act, karmanaam aarambha, so that we can acquire this gold watch. Our plans may lead us to do another part time job or withdraw from our savings, which is pravritti, engaging in selfish action. Even after we acquire the gold watch, we are not satisfied and want another one. That is lobha, greed, the height of rajasic influence on our mind.
 
It is not easy to detect whether our actions are prompted by selfishness or not. Only a pure mind that has been cleansed of selfishness through karma yoga, with the aid of a guru, can recognize the subtle difference between sattvic and rajasic actions. Karma yoga teaches us to analyze our qualification and proclivity for selecting an appropriate vocation. If we are trained to become an actor, and are also passionately interested in acting, then that becomes our vocation. There is a baseline level of rajas needed to perform actions towards fulfilling the duties of our vocation, which is perfectly fine. Shri Krishna says that we need to watch for signs where rajas increases beyond that baseline level, where selfishness creeps into our actions.

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