What is the main message of Bhagavad Gita?

Acharya Prashant
10 min readJul 27, 2023

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Bhagavad Gita

यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च मानवः । आत्मन्येव च सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते ॥

न बुद्धिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानां कर्मसङ्गिनाम । जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान्युक्तः समाचरन ॥

The man who rejoices only in the Self and is satisfied with the Self, and is contented only in the Self — for him there is no duty to perform.

The wise man established in the Self should not unsettle the mind of the ignorant one attached to action, but should get them to perform all their duties while dually performing his own duties.

— Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, Verse 17 and 26

The call for right action!

Questioner (Q) : In verse 17, Shri Krishna says that there is no duty to perform for the one who rejoices only in the Self.

However, when we look at the greats like Mahavira, Buddha, or Kabir Sahib, we see that they took huge steps to dispel the darkness of man’s mind, as if they were performing an undeclared duty. What makes a Buddha or a Mahavira do what they do?

Also, in verse 26, Shri Krishna again refers to the wise one, and says that he should get others to perform all their duties while dually performing his own. Is there any contradiction here?

Bonded work is compensation, Free work is compassion.

Acharya Prashant (AP) : You see, Shri Krishna is presenting the entirety, the totality of the matter of action here. On one hand, he says that in the highest state of liberation there is no duty, no kartavya left at all. That is point one that you have to understand. At the same time, he says, ‘Look at Me, Pārtha (Arjuna)! Who can bind Me in duty? I have no duty at all, and yet I keep doing everything.’ He presents his own…