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In BG 2.21, Shri Krishna says

वेदाविनाशिनं नित्यं य एनमजमव्ययम्।

कथं स पुरुषः पार्थ कं घातयति हन्ति कम्।।2.21।।

English translation

O Partha, he who knows this One as indestructible, eternal, birthless and undecaying, how and whom does that person kill, or whom does he cause to be killed! [This is not a question but only an emphatic denial.-Tr.]

Shankaracharya explains the meaning of this verse and concludes:

... Therefore, according to this Scripture, viz the Gita, the man of realization is eligible for renunciation, alone, not for rites and duties.

My question is that if Shri Krishna himself meant that Karma should be abandoned by Jnani then why did He drove Arjuna chariot and instructed him? This way Shri Krishna is Himself doing Karma while instructing Arjuna that Karma is not for Tatva Jnanis. Isn't this a contradiction?

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    It is known as Karma Yoga, performing actions without attachment, i.e the sense of doership shouldn't exist. – Chinmay Sarupria Jan 13 at 12:24
  • @ChinmaySarupria You are right, but according to Adi Shankara karma is enjoined only for ignorant. He says in His Bhashyam: "From the statement that action is impossible for man of realization it is understood that the conclusion of the Lord is that, actions enjoined by the scriptures are prescribed for the unenlightened." – Lokesh Jan 13 at 14:11
  • @AkshayS Shankaracharya argues, yes its true Karma Yoga is insisted but it is only for Karma Yogies. See 3.3 where Lord says "The Blessed Lord said O unblemished one, two kinds of steadfastness in this world were spoken of by Me in the days of yore-through the Yoga of Knowledge for the men of realization; through the Yoga of Action for the yogis." – Lokesh Jan 13 at 14:17
  • @Lokesh Looks like it is Sri Shankaracharya alone who differs in the conclusion, as seen here... bhagavad-gita.us/bhagavad-gita-18-6. Which is perfectly fine, seen from the advaitic principle. However, is the implication that Krishna was a 'jnani' by that standard? I don't think so. You can read the elaborations on the subsequent verses. – Ambi Jan 13 at 14:25
  • @Ambi I think the conclusion by Sri Shankaracharya is fine because Sri Krishna Himself says, how can that person who has realized Atman to imperishable, immutable and unborn perform action. Therefore karma is impossible for Jnani. – Lokesh Jan 13 at 14:53
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Well, it is true that there is no duty to perform for those who meditates on the self:

3.17 But for that man who rejoices only in the Self, who is satisfied with the Self and who is content in the Self alone, verily there is nothing to do.

3.18 For him there is no concern here at all with performing action; nor any (concern) with nonperformance. Moreover, for him there is no dependence on any object to serve any purpose.

However it is instructed not to stop doing Karma due to LokaSamgraga:

3.20 For Janaka and others strove to attain Liberation through action itself. You ought to perform (your duties) keeping also in view the prevention of mankind from going astray.

Because others follow whatever learned and wise man does (verse 3.21) and if s/he stops doing work, people may be misguided due to not having right knowledge as explained by Adi Shankaracharya in his commentary on 3.21thth verse:

If you think that obligatory works were performed by the ancients such as Janaka ^because they were ignorant, If and that it does not follow from that fact alone that action should be performed by another ledge and has done to who his duties, all possesses right knowledge and has done all duties,- even then, as subject your prarabdha-karma (the karma which has led you this birth as a kshatriya), and to having regard also to the purpose of preventing the masses from resorting to a wrong path, you ought to perform action.

Also Lord Krishna incarnated to destroy evil and to establish Dharma so he done Karma to accomplish the objective:

4.8 For the protection of the pious, the destruction of the evil-doers, and establishing virtue, I manifest Myself in every age.

He himself explained what happens if he stopped doing Karma:

3.23 For, O Partha, if at any time I do not continue [Ast. and A.A. read varteya instead of varteyam.-Tr.] vigilantly in action, men will follow My path in ever way.

3.24 These worlds will be ruined if I do not perform action. And I shall become the agent of intermingling (of castes), and shall be destroying these beings.

That's why he did Karma and instructed to do so well:

3.25 O scion of the Bharata dynasty, as the unelightened poeple act with attachment to work, so should the enlightened person act, without attachment, being desirous of the prevention of people from going astray.

  • Your are saying that one should do duty even after realisation because... I get that. No doubt in that. But Shri Krishna says how can that man perform karma after knowing Atman is immutable. What does it mean? It simply means one cannot perform action after knowing self is immutable. So the question how is it that Shri Krishna is performing duties? – Lokesh Jan 19 at 13:55
  • @Lokesh ok. Read verse 3.27, 5.8 and 5.9. It will get clear. If you want to discuss further, you can join the chat-room :) – Paṇḍyā Jan 19 at 14:46
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Sri Krishna is not a mere jnani. He is one with the Supreme Self. He says in the sloka 22 to 24 of chapter 3 of Gita that He has no duties. But He does good karmas continuosuly.if He stops working, all people will become lazy and stop doing any work, because all people are mere followers of Him. The world would get destroyed if the Lord stops doing work.

  • Please edit your answer by writing these verses not just the verse number – Krishna Shweta Jan 21 at 19:04

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