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A Man Must Do What His Nature Bids Him To Do Even If It Is Distasteful – Bhagavad Gita

The phrase "A man must do what his nature bids him to do even if it is distasteful" resonates deeply with the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, particularly its insights on duty (dharma) and the nature of action (karma). The Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the Indian epic Mahabharata, addresses the moral and philosophical dilemmas faced by the warrior Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

Here are some relevant aspects from the Gita that echo the sentiment of the phrase:

Swadharma (One's Own Duty)

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna emphasizes the importance of performing one's own duty (swadharma) as per one's nature (svabhava). Each person has a specific role and duty according to their inherent qualities and societal position. Performing this duty, even if it is challenging or distasteful, is considered superior to taking up another's duty:

Chapter 3, Verse 35:

"It is better to do one's own duty, however imperfectly, than to assume the duties of another person, however successfully. Prefer to die doing one's own duty: the duty of another will bring you into great spiritual danger."

Karma Yoga (The Yoga of Action)

Krishna advises Arjuna to adopt Karma Yoga, the path of selfless action. This involves performing one's duties without attachment to the results, driven by a sense of responsibility and righteousness rather than personal gain or pleasure:

Chapter 2, Verse 47:

"You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction."

Acceptance of Duty Despite Aversion

Arjuna's reluctance to fight in the war due to familial and moral concerns is met with Krishna's counsel that he must rise above his personal aversions and fulfill his Kshatriya duty as a warrior. This teaching underscores the principle that one must perform their duty, even if it is unpleasant or goes against personal sentiments:

Chapter 18, Verse 48:

"Every endeavor is covered by some fault, just as fire is covered by smoke. Therefore, one should not give up the work born of his nature, even if such work is full of fault."

Detachment and Self-Realization

Krishna's discourse encourages Arjuna to transcend his individual ego and see his actions as part of the cosmic order, thus aligning with the divine will and ultimate truth. This detachment allows one to perform duties without being hindered by personal likes and dislikes:

Chapter 3, Verse 19:

"Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme."

The Bhagavad Gita teaches that true fulfillment and spiritual growth come from performing one's ordained duties with dedication and detachment, irrespective of personal distaste. This alignment with one's intrinsic nature and responsibilities helps in achieving harmony with the broader cosmic order and leads to self-realization. Thus, the essence of "A man must do what his nature bids him to do even if it is distasteful" is deeply rooted in the Gita's philosophy, advocating the performance of one's duties with steadfastness and equanimity.