yattu kaamepsunaa karma saahankaarena vaa punaha |
kriyate bahulaayaasam tadraajasamudaahritam || 24 ||

But, that action performed by a person desiring pleasure, or with egoism, with exertion, that is called raajasic.
yat : which
tu : but
kaamepsunaa : one with desire for pleasure
karma : action
saahankaarena : with egoism
vaa : or
punaha : also
kriyate : performed
bahulaayaasam : with exertion
tat : that
raajasam : raajasic
udaahritam : is called
To understand raajasic action, we need to revisit the notion of raajasic knowledge. As we saw earlier, raajasic knowledge presents a highly fragmented, chopped-up version of the world. It gives reality to the differences created by the senses and the mind. Additionally, it gives different “values” to objects, people and situations perceived by the senses and the mind. Simply put, we either like, dislike, or are indifferent to objects, people and situations. A classic example is the precious stone that is liked by its owner, disliked by the owner’s enemy, and treated with indifference by a monk.
Such raajasic knowledge results in commencement of raajasic action. Shri Krishna says that a raajasic action is begun in pursuit of an object, person or situation that will give pleasure to the doer of the action. It involves exertion of mental or physical effort, and therefore, the mind is good at calculating how much effort is needed for acquiring one object versus the other. Another aspect of the raajasic action is that the I, the ego, is given a lot of prominence. We want the entire world to know that we helped such and such person, or we did someone a favour. Unfortunately, such thinking interferes with the action, causing us to shift our attention from the action to the ego.
Let’s constrast this with saattvic action. Instead of pursuing an object of pleasure, a saattvic action is done with a sense of duty. There is no calculation that weighs the effort needed for object a verses the effort needed for object b. All actions happen spontaneously. Also, there is no sense of egoism. Instead, there is a firm understanding that the action is being performed by me who is an instrument, a nimiitta, of Ishvara. This lack of egoistic thinking makes the actions more efficient. In fact, people with high degrees of sattva are the most productive, simply because they are performing their svadharma with no ulterior motive.