तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ |
ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि || 24||
tasmāch chhāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te kāryākārya-vyavasthitau
jñātvā śhāstra-vidhānoktaṁ karma kartum ihārhasi
tasmāt—therefore; śhāstram—scriptures; pramāṇam—authority; te—your; kārya—duty; akārya—forbidden action; vyavasthitau—in determining; jñātvā—having understood; śhāstra—scriptures; vidhāna—injunctions; uktam—as revealed; karma—actions; kartum—perform; iha—in this world; arhasi—you should
Therefore let the scriptures be your authority in determining what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. Having learnt the injunctions of the scriptures, you should do your work in the world.
What ought to be done or what ought not to be done in any particular situation? The decision is by the Sastras and not by individual opinion. The Scripture is the authority. As it is declared in the previous verse, man can achieve all the good things of life, happiness and moksha also, if he acts strictly according to the scriptural injunctions. Action contrary to them leads to unhappiness, frustration, and death. One can understand how the Lord values the Vedas and the Sastras, when He, Paramatma Himself declares them to be the highest authority. Let everybody then put his faith in the Sastras, and model his life in harmony with their laws. This is enough. That will lead him to the goal.
Sastravidhanoktam: The method of action, Karma, is clearly stated in the Sastras with all the minutest details. They should be studied and understood first, before plunging into action. Knowledge of the Sastras will help people to perform Karma in the best way possible, and by such Karma the mind is purified, and then Atmajnana is revealed in due course.
Karmakartum iharhasi: The Lord teaches Arjuna to act, to work, and to perform Karma. The condition is that it should conform to the ordinances of the scripture. The Discourse ends with special emphasis on Karma Yoga, and the performance of one’s duty in the special circumstances in which a man is placed.
Question: What is the authority to determine what ought to be done and what ought not to be done?
Answer: The Sastras. One should act according to the declarations of the Sastras.
Question: How should man act?
Answer: He should act after understanding the laws of the Sastras.
Question: What should be the method of action?
Answer: As it is determined by the Sastras.