III:42-43 The Highest Teaching

Teachings that have been lost to the world have been given to us through Lord Krishna’s words to Arjuna. We can either understand and practice them or not. What we do will depend on how much interest we have in Truth. 


It is said that the senses are high, the mind is higher than the senses, and the intelligence is higher than the mind. But that which is higher than the intelligence, is this.

“This” refers to the teachings on Karma Yoga, the Yoga of Action, that Lord Krishna has been passing on to his disciple and friend, Arjuna, in this chapter.

“The senses, the mind and the intelligence” are listed in the order of their importance as well as their function.

The job of the senses is to relay information to the mind; the intelligence (buddhi) makes comparisons, determines significances, discriminates differences and makes judgements. All pretty hot stuff we’re equipped with, but there is something higher and beyond these three: “this”, the teachings we have overheard Lord Krishna give to Arjuna.

In the previous verses, we discovered that these teachings are not only to remain confidential, but that they have been lost to the world and for this reason are not to be given at large, for they can be misunderstood and misused, deliberately or inadvertently, and become diluted and ultimately lost altogether. But we have been fortunate in the extreme to have been able to eavesdrop and hear them for ourselves. Now we can either try to understand and practice them or not. What we do will depend on how much interest we have in Truth.

Thus having learned that which is higher than the intelligence, Mighty Armed One, uplift yourself and destroy the enemy in the form of desire that is so difficult to encounter.

Alternate translation:
Thus having learned that which is beyond the intelligence—these teachings—be encouraged: Compose yourself, and overthrow the enemy in the form of desire.

“Mighty Armed One”  By calling Arjuna by this epithet, Krishna is reminding him of his strength and power, and that he has the ability to do this. In saying this to Arjuna, He says it to us—we can do this. If we do not take this road, we are to understand that we abandon it by our own choice, and not because it is too difficult, or because we do not have the ability to do it.

Now that Arjuna has learned the truth, Krishna is telling him to get on with it and put an end to the enemy that holds him in thrall and hides the Truth from him.

“Destroy the enemy in the form of desire”  We have lately heard Lord Krishna name more than one version of the enemy: attraction and aversion, desire, anger, and rajas. It appears that He is zeroing in on desire as the enemy, for it is directly linked to others.

We want to have something (or someone), and
we want it (or them) to be a certain way.

The reaction to losing or not getting it.

The most active and intense mode of nature that is the source of desire and anger.


In the previous verses, we learned that the force that causes us to act contrary to our best interest consists of desire, anger and rajas, and that this is the enemy “in this matter”, meaning in the context of these teachings. These three are intimately related and are directly connected to this verse’s focus on desire as the enemy, for rajas  (‘passion’) and anger are directly related to desire.

The word for desire is kama, which means sensual desire. This is the context for these warnings, for this is where desire can be the most compelling and the most damaging.

The word for ‘enemy’ in Sanskrit means ‘adversary or overthrower’. What that adversary is, is kāma-rūpaḿ, meaning ‘having the form or appearance of desire’. This is followed by a word that suggests ‘unparalleled danger’; when this word is broken down we have ‘difficult and dangerous’ combined with ‘false, untrue, non-existent’. This makes desire look like a phantom, as if it were something ephemeral but dangerous, and that one must use extreme caution in approaching it…a dangerous ghost. Could it be that it is its diaphanous appearance that makes it so dangerous? 

A desire is an affirmation of lack.

Wanting something declares that you do not have it. With the presence of desire, the mind is reinforced in believing this untruth. You do have it. You are everywhere in all things with no limitations and nothing stopping you…except your own mind. Until you reach full enlightenment, remember who you are:

You are a god in a body made of God being human.
Nothing is impossible for you.

All our earthly desires then, all those ever so important wants we chase on a daily basis, are all libelous illusions. Here we should remind ourselves that the veil that stands between us and our goal is less substantial than what it hides. In this chapter we have been given the means of bringing down these veils that stand in the way of our realization and union with God, Truth, the Absolute. But the question remains: Will we pursue That, or will we continue to chase and be ruled by the ghosts of desire?

End of Chapter Three, The Yoga of Action

In the Chapter Four we will learn more about Karma Yoga and its secrets.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma

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