nishchayam shrunu me tatra tyaage bharatasattama |
tyaago hi purushavyaaghra trividhaha samprakeertitaha || 4 ||

 
Hear from me the truth on this issue of giving up, O foremost among Bharataas. For giving up, O foremost among men, has been declared to be of three types.
 
nishchayam : truth
shrunu : hear
me : my
tatra : on this issue
tyaage : giving up
bharatasattama : foremost among Bharataas
tyaagaha : giving up
hi : for
purushavyaaghra : foremost among men
trividhaha : three types
samprakeertitaha : declared
 
After listing differing viewpoints on the topic of karma yoga, Shri Krishna proceeds to provide the correct understanding to Arjuna. Before we delve into Shri Krishna’s answer, let us go through the viewpoints and analyze their merits. The most extreme viewpoint from the previous shloka advocated the complete abandonment of all actions. We have already seen in earlier chapters that it is impossible for the human body to remain without performing actions for its survival. Therefore, this viewpoint is impractical and has to be rejected.
 
A less extreme viewpoint advocated the abandonment of all selfish actions. Even this is impractical since it is impossible for someone to suddenly quit performing only selfish actions and continue with the rest. So we can reject this viewpoint as well. Two other viewpoints remain. One is performing actions that are obligations towards our fellow human beings, towards Ishvara and towards ourselves. The other is to remove our attachment towards the rewards of all actions.
 
Shri Krishna begins providing his definition by first praising Arjuna for asking the clarifying question, since it gives an opportunity to summarize the teaching of karma yoga for all future students of the Gita. Arjuna gets two wonderful titles from Shri Krishna, bhratasattama and purushavyaagraha. Shri Krishna also indicates that he will classify tyaaga or giving up actions into three types, saattvic raajasic and taamasic. In fact, a major portion of this chapter will continue this theme of three fold classification.

Advertisements