The third chapter of the Gita is known as 'Karma Yoga', which is an elaboration of verse 2.71 where Krishna said that nir-mama (sans-I) and nir-ahankaar (sans- I am doer) is the path to attain the eternal state.

Arjun raises a doubt (3.1) "If you consider Buddhi (intellect/awareness) to be superior, why then do you engage me in terrible action (of war) instead of telling me (3.2) with nischay (certainty), what is best for my welfare without confusing me with perplexing speech".

Labelling, expressed or hidden, is nothing but irrational and impulsive decisions which aren't evidence-based and Krishna advised to drop them (2.50). Arjun made a decision to escape the war based on a single factor that he doesn't foresee any good in killing one's kinsmen in the battle (1.31). Subsequently, he gathers many justifications to defend his decision and the present question also appears as a part of the justification rather than the quest for better understanding.

Our situation is no different than that of Arjun as we are labelled based on religion, race, family status, caste, nationality, gender etc. much before we come to our senses and throughout life, we keep struggling to justify them.

Secondly, Arjun is looking for Nischay (certainty) from Krishna. Even though impermanence is the norm of the manifested, all of us look for certainty as it gives us comfort. We gravitate towards labelling since it offers certainty rather than waiting to gather more evidence for a rational decision which requires patience.

But the eternal certainty comes out of one's own life experiences and one has to earn it the hard way. All of us have to walk the path as this experience can't be borrowed from books or others. It's akin to driving or cycling which is one's own experience.

Source - Daily World


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