Bhagavad Gita Karma Yoga Shlok Explained


Bhagavad Gita Karma Yoga

This verse from Bhagavad Gita Karma Yoga simply means “be yourself”. Follow your Dharma (the idea of what you ought to be and do), not to be confused with religion, the closest meaning of Dharma is the nature or tendency of something, for example, Dharma of water is to flow, to be colorless etc. Be true to your idea of who you should be. Don’t try to be what someone else is. While you may be an excellent pretender, there will always be fear in your heart.

Engaging in one’s own duty, one possesses the correct inner mentality to accomplish it, but for engagement in another’s duty the correct inner mentality would not be present even if the external action was performed perfectly. The worry (or indecision) and questions regarding some aspect of other’s duty would lead to inner conflict which is very detrimental for one’s consciousness and atma tattva or soul realization.

Source: Bhagavad Gita Karma Yoga 3.35
Sanskrit transcript:
श्रेयान् स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात् स्वनुष्टितात्।
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः परधर्मो भयावहः॥
Transliteration:
śreyān svadharmo viguṇaḥ paradharmāt svanuṣṭitāt।
svadharme nidhanaṃ śreyaḥ paradharmo bhayāvahaḥ॥
Hindi translation:
अपने नियतकर्मों को दोषपूर्ण ढंग से सम्पन्न करना भी अन्य के कर्मों को भलीभाँति करने से श्रेयस्कर है।
स्वीय कर्मों को करते हुए मरना पराये कर्मों में प्रवृत्त होने की अपेक्षा श्रेष्ठतर है, क्योंकि अन्य किसी के मार्ग का अनुसरण भयावह
होता है॥
English translation:
It is far better to live your own destiny, duties, and nature imperfectly than to live an imitation of
someone else’s with perfection. Even death in your own nature is better; imitation of others is
fraught with danger.


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