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Why Is The Third Chapter Of Bhagavad Gita Known As Karma Yoga?

The third chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is known as "Karma Yoga" because it focuses on the concept of selfless action, or performing one's duty without attachment to the results. In this chapter, Krishna explains to Arjuna the importance and principles of Karma Yoga as a path to spiritual liberation.

Here are some key points explaining why this chapter is called Karma Yoga:

Definition of Karma Yoga: Karma Yoga is the path of action. It teaches individuals to perform their duties (karma) in accordance with their dharma (moral and societal duties) without attachment to the fruits or outcomes of these actions. The word "Yoga" in this context means a path to spiritual practice.

Emphasis on Duty and Action: In this chapter, Krishna emphasizes that everyone must engage in action, as it is impossible to renounce action entirely. He advises Arjuna to fulfill his Kshatriya duty as a warrior without selfish desires or personal gain.

Selfless Action: Krishna explains that actions performed without attachment and selfish motives purify the mind and lead to spiritual growth. This concept is central to Karma Yoga.

Yajna (Sacrificial Action): Krishna introduces the idea of Yajna, or sacrificial action, where one’s work is offered as a sacrifice to the divine. This idea encourages performing duties with a sense of surrender to a higher purpose.

Avoiding Inaction: Krishna warns against inaction and stresses that inaction is not the path to liberation. By performing one's duties without attachment, one can achieve inner peace and eventually liberation (moksha).

Illustration through Examples: Krishna uses examples of wise and enlightened individuals who perform their duties without attachment to inspire Arjuna to follow the same path.

The essence of the third chapter is that through selfless action and dedication to one's duty, one can achieve spiritual progress and harmony in life. This doctrine of Karma Yoga forms a critical part of the overall teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, guiding individuals towards living a balanced and righteous life.