After suggesting that people may worship भगवान् and भगवान् will bless them, भगवान् श्री कृष्ण: goes on to talk of the 4-fold division of society.
* श्लोक १३ * – second line
चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागश: ।
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम् ॥ १३॥
In the second line of this श्लोक, भगवान् says ~ although I am the author/कर्ता and have created this 4-fold division, may you know that I am not the कर्ता and I am अव्ययम् (ever-changeless).
So here, भगवान् is drawing our attention to our connection with कर्म, and कर्म’s connection to अविद्या |
In one’s relationship with कर्म, there are some कर्म-s that we enjoy doing very much and have a राग for that type of कर्म, e.g. walking in nature, playing with my pet, working, ticking off tasks, being with children, listening to music, artwork etc.
Or there may be द्वेष to certain कर्म, e.g. confronting someone, unpleasant conversations, doing chores ~ dishes, laundry.
So, there is this weird, mixed relationship with कर्म- due to राग we are drawn to certain कर्म, and due to द्वेष, I want to avoid certain कर्म | So every day, in every situation, one is figuring out what to do and what not to do based on this.
So, भगवान् is telling us-
Yes, one is the कर्ता and कर्म is to be done by every being, including me.
But, my problem is not what कर्म is to be done, or not done.
It feels like this is my problem since the कर्म to be done, or not done, evokes a strong reaction in me ~ I really want to do it, or I really don’t want to do it..
So, भगवान् श्री कृष्ण: wants me to know that the कर्म to be done is not the issue, rather what is important is the conclusion that I have made about mySelf on the basis of the कर्म that I have to do, or I am not doing.
E.g. I may have never-ending Sanskrit homework that I do not want to do.
So, I manage my mixture of emotions in the light of the कर्म that has to be done, and, although I am the कर्ता, I should know that I am really not the doer.
So, भगवान् compassionately draws attention to my स्वरूप | My nature is सत्यम्-consciousness and I am never touched by पुण्य or पापा |
* श्लोक १४ *
न मां कर्माणि लिम्पन्ति न मे कर्मफले स्पृहा ।
इति मां योऽभिजानाति कर्मभिर्न स बध्यते ॥ १४॥
कर्म does not affect me. This is not from the standpoint of emotional maturity. It is not that one is indifferent, neutral or apathetic, and so one says that कर्म does not affect me.
कर्म is borne of काम (desire), and काम is borne of अविद्या | So jokingly it is as if कर्म is the grandkid of अविद्या | So how can the grandkid affect the grandmother?
Therefore, it does not matter if one does lots/less कर्म, or avoids/goes towards कर्म |
More importantly- has the अविद्या about who I really am gone away?
Because कर्म has to be done, it cannot be avoided.
There are only 2 choices with respect to performing कर्म-
(i) If I understand my true nature, then I perform कर्म out of the fullness of me.
(ii) If I do not know my absolute nature, then I perform कर्म with कर्म योग बुद्धि: |
So, being a role model, भगवान् says ~ although as भगवान् I have created this सृष्टि together with the 4-fold division of the वर्ण system, whatever actions done by me, do not affect me. I am सत्यम् |
And, with regards to कर्मफल, there is no longing.
For instance, whatever happens to pot, clay is not bothered ~ if pot is pulverized into powder, or pot is broken into pieces, or pot has some wondrous form; none of these affect its substance clay.
So here भगवान् directs our attention to that which is सत्यम् i.e. I, my स्वरूप |
So, the person who knows this, this person is not bound by कर्म |
But, one is bound by कर्म, because if one doesn’t do feel-good कर्म, one feels incomplete, or one feels unduly bothered by not being able to avoid कर्म that one has द्वेष for.
So this is the bondage of कर्म – I must do this action to be satisfied, or I really have to avoid this circumstance at all costs.
But, the one who knows my स्वरूप, that person is not bound by कर्म |
* श्लोक १५ *
एवं ज्ञात्वा कृतं कर्म पूर्वैरपि मुमुक्षुभि: ।
कुरु कर्मैव तस्मात्त्वं पूर्वै: पूर्वतरं कृतम् ॥ १५॥
भगवान् goes on to say-
Even मुमुक्षु-s i.e. people seeking मोक्ष, get to know me in this manner (i.e. my स्वरूप), and they did कर्म | They did not run away from कर्म |
So one should look at their day-
~ What is the कर्म that I try to avoid doing? Or I may have some guilt about not doing something. These are indications of my द्वेष |
So, even the people seeking मोक्ष, they have sought to know me in this way, and they never ran away from the कर्म that is to be done i.e. one’s duty.
So, भगवान् tells Arjuna-
तस्मात् ~ Therefore,
you also please do कर्म |
You are not the first one who wants to avoid कर्म, nor will you be the last one.
पूर्वै: पूर्वतरं कृतम् ~ just as the previous people before you did कर्म,
and these people were मुमुक्षु-s, but they did not run away from society nor their duty, so too one should do one’s कर्म |
Because कर्म is not an indicator of one’s true identity, although society has hypnotized one into believing that the outcome of an event defines me.
E.g. One lost/quit their job- other people may be helpful or not about this circumstance, but overall one will feel lousy about oneself due to this event. So कर्मफल i.e. the event binds one.
Because my identity is shaken up by this life event.
And even so one’s identity changes based on the criteria that one judges oneself on, which is based on society’s expectations. And so, upon further contemplation, one wonders, why did I do that? E.g. Why did I get married? Why did I go to that university?
So, it is good to be honest with oneself, understanding that I felt the pressure to do so.
But, the sharp sword of honesty should be backed by gentleness, as when one cuts oneself, it takes time to heal. And already we get so many cuts from society anyway, so we don’t need to be more harsh with oneself.
So, verse 14 & 15 highlights that I should shift my attention to the सत्यम् that I am.
Or one can focus on भगवान् – though भगवान् has His role, and has done certain things, what is भगवान्’s स्वरूप? भगवान् is ever untouched by the कर्म to be done i.e. I am सत्यम् |
And all कर्म has the status of dependent reality, and though there is कर्मफल, one is not bound by it.
One is only bound by कर्म when one thinks that my identity is intertwined with the कर्म |
E.g. one thinks that I had a life of great struggle so I am exhausted. One can be physically exhausted, but the mental/emotional exhaustion is because I believe that I am just this limited form that has gone through these events.
So, भगवान् is saying that we should shift attention.