Superphysics Superphysics
Chapter 3

The Virtue of Work

by Vyasa Icon
5 minutes  • 977 words

Thou whom all mortals praise, Janardana!

If meditation be a nobler thing than action, wherefore, then, great Kesava! Dost thou impel me to this dreadful fight?

Now am I by thy doubtful speech disturbed! Tell me one thing, and tell me certainly; By what road shall I find the better end?


There are 2 paths, 2 schools of wisdom.

  1. The Sankhya’s

This saves through the way of works or action or karma prescribed[FN#4] by reason

  1. The Yoga

This is attained by meditation and spirituality.

These are one.

  • No one can escape karma by shunning action.
  • No one can attain perfection by mere renouncements .

Nature’s law compels the yogi to act, even if he is unwilling. [Even thought is act in fancy].

He who sits suppressing his bodily desires yet in his idle heart thinks about them is a guilty hypocrite.

But he who, with strong body serving mind, gives up his mortal powers to do worthy work, not seeking gain, such a one is honourable.


Do your allotted task!

Work is more excellent than idleness. The body’s life proceeds not, lacking work. There is a task of holiness to do, Unlike world-binding toil, which bindeth not

The faithful soul; such earthly duty do Free from desire, and thou shalt well perform

Thy heavenly purpose.


Prajapati said:

In the beginning, when all men were made, And, with mankind, the sacrifice– “Do this! Work! sacrifice! Increase and multiply With sacrifice! This shall be Kamaduk, Your ‘Cow of Plenty,’ giving back her milk Of all abundance. Worship the gods thereby;

The gods shall yield thee grace. Those meats ye crave The gods will grant to Labour, when it pays Tithes in the altar-flame. But if one eats Fruits of the earth, rendering to kindly Heaven

No gift of toil, that thief steals from his world.”

Those who eat food after their sacrifice are free of fault. But those who spread a feast all for themselves, eat and drink sin.

Food comes of rain. Rain comes by the pious sacrifice. Sacrifice is paid with tithes of toil.

Thus, action is of Brahma, who is One,The Only, All-pervading. At all times He is present in sacrifice.


He who abstains to help this great world, glutting his idle sense, lives a lost life, shameful and vain. He exists for himself, and is self-concentrated, serving self alone.

He has:

  • no part in the world
  • no achievements,
  • no hope of help for all the living things of earth depends from him.[FN#5]

Therefore, thy task prescribed with spirit unattached gladly perform, Since in performance of plain duty man Mounts to his highest bliss.

By works alone Janak and ancient saints reached blessedness!

Moreover, for the upholding of thy kind, action thou should’st embrace. What the wise choose The unwise people take; what best men do The multitude will follow. Look on me, Thou Son of Pritha! in the three wide worlds I am not bound to any toil, no height Awaits to scale, no gift remains to gain, Yet I act here! and, if I acted not– Earnest and watchful–those that look to me For guidance, sinking back to sloth again Because I slumbered, would decline from good, And I should break earth’s order and commit Her offspring unto ruin, Bharata! Even as the unknowing toil, wedded to sense, So let the enlightened toil, sense-freed, but set To bring the world deliverance, and its bliss; Not sowing in those simple, busy hearts seed of despair.

Let each play his part in all he finds to do, with unyoked soul.

All things are everywhere by Nature wrought in interaction of the qualities.

The fool, cheated by self, thinks, “This I did” And “That I wrought; “but–ah, thou strong-armed Prince!– A better-lessoned mind, knowing the play Of visible things within the world of sense, And how the qualities must qualify, Standeth aloof even from his acts.

The untaught live mixed with them, knowing not Nature’s way, of highest aims unwitting, slow and dull. Those make thou not to stumble, having the light;


But all thy dues discharging, for My sake, with meditation centred inwardly, Seeking no profit, satisfied, serene, Heedless of issue–fight! They who shall keep My ordinance thus, the wise and willing hearts, Have quittance from all issue of their acts; But those who disregard My ordinance, Thinking they know, know nought, and fall to loss, Confused and foolish. ‘Sooth, the instructed one Doth of his kind, following what fits him most:

Lower creatures of their kind; in vain Contending ‘gainst the law. Needs must it be The objects of the sense will stir the sense To like and dislike, yet th’ enlightened man Yields not to these, knowing them enemies.

Finally, this is better, that one do His own task as he may, even though he fail, Than take tasks not his own, though they seem good. To die performing duty is no ill;

But who seeks other roads shall wander still.

What causes a man to turn bad unwillingly?

It is karma and passion. These are born of the Darknesses, mighty of appetite, and are man’s enemy!

As smoke blots the white fire, as clinging rust Mars the bright mirror, as the womb surrounds The babe unborn, so is the world of things Foiled, soiled, enclosed in this desire of flesh.

The wise fall when caught in it. The unresting foe It is of wisdom, wearing countless forms, Fair but deceitful, subtle as a flame.

Sense, mind, and reason–these are booty for it; in its play with these It maddens man, beguiling, blinding him.

Therefore, govern your heart!

  • Constrain the entangled sense.
  • Resist the false, soft sinfulness which saps knowledge and judgment

The world is strong, but what discerns it stronger. The mind is the strongest and is high above all the ruling Soul.

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