Arjuna said: Krishna, if you consider knowledge as superior to action, then why do you urge me to this dreadful action. You are puzzling my mind by these seemingly conflicting expressions. Therefore, tell me the one definite discipline by which I may obtain the highest good.
Lord Krishna said: Man does not attain freedom from action without entering upon action nor does he reach perfection merely by ceasing to act. Surely, none can ever remain inactive even for a moment. Everyone is helplessly driven to action by modes of Prakriti (nature born qualities). He who outwardly restraining the organs of senses and action sits mentally dwelling on the objects of senses, that man of deluded intellect is called a hypocrite. Therefore, do perform your allotted duty as action is superior to inaction. Desisting from action, you cannot even maintain your body.
Having created mankind at the beginning of creation, the creator Brahma said, “Foster the gods through sacrifice, and let the gods foster you”. The virtuous who partake of what is left over after sacrifice are absolved of all sins. Those sinful ones who cook for the sake of nourishing their bodies alone, partake of sin only. Arjuna, he who does not follow the wheel of creation i.e. does not perform his duties and leads a sinful and sensual life, he lives in vain. Therefore, go on efficiently doing your duty at all times without attachment. By doing work without attachment, man attains the supreme.
Whatever a great man does, that very thing other men also do. Whatever standard he sets up, the generality of men follow the same. A wise man established in the self should not unsettle the mind of the ignorant attached to action but should get them to perform all their duties duly performing his own duties. In fact all actions are being performed by the modes of Prakriti (Primordial Nature). The fool whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks, “I am the doer”. The man of perfect knowledge should not unsettle the mind of those ignorant of imperfect knowledge. Attraction and repulsion are rooted in all sense-objects. Man should never allow himself to be swayed by them because they are the two principal enemies standing in the way of his redemption.
Arjuna said: Krishna, now impelled by what does this man commit sin even involuntarily as though driven by force?
Lord Krishna said: As fire is covered by smoke, mirror by dust and embryo by the amnion, so is knowledge covered by desire. The senses, the mind and the intellect are declared to be its seat; covering the knowledge through these, it (desire) deludes the embodied soul. The senses are said to be greater than the body but greater than the senses is the mind. Greater than the mind is the intellect and what is greater than the intellect is he, the self. Thus Arjuna, knowing the self which is higher than the intellect and subduing the mind by reason, kill this enemy in the form of desire that is hard to overcome.