यदि ह्यहं न वर्तेयं जातु कर्मण्यतन्द्रित: |
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्या: पार्थ सर्वश: || 23||
yadi hyahaṁ na varteyaṁ jātu karmaṇyatandritaḥ
mama vartmānuvartante manuṣhyāḥ pārtha sarvaśhaḥ
yadi—if; hi—certainly; aham—I; na—not; varteyam—thus engage; jātu—ever; karmaṇi—in the performance of prescribed duties; atandritaḥ—carefully; mama—my; vartma—path; anuvartante—follow; manuṣhyāḥ—all men; pārtha—Arjun, the son of Pritha; sarvaśhaḥ—in all respects
If I am not engaged in action always, without relaxation, men follow my path in every way, O Arjuna!
Unworried and unrelaxed, the Lord is every moment actively engaged in work for the protection and welfare of all beings in all the world, because, if He remains inactive, all the people follow the same path and go down unto anarchy and self-destruction. That is why great men, ideal personalities, prophets, and leaders are constantly alert and active in the service of humanity. Even today we come across karma yogis of great eminence. History has recorded the lives of many of the leaders, and the way how they worked till the last breath of their life for a righteous cause.
Moreover, the word atandritah (without relaxation) implies that the seekers and aspirants should be alert and watchful in the sadhana. If the Lord who is eternally free and perfect is so alert and watchful in performing his duty, how much more so should the common man be in his discipline to free himself from the shackles of Samsara. However intelligent one may be, if he is not vigilant, he is easily knocked out of his path by Maya. The senses are so powerful as to draw away the mind from the spiritual idea. Night and day, at all times, under all circumstances, vigilance is necessary to preserve the mind from lapsing into dullness and sense-pleasures. Discrimination between the real and the unreal, God’s grace, ceaseless effort are all necessary for spiritual progress. How much care is needed for the driver of an Express Train in the night! Could he afford to be negligent? How many lives depend on his care and caution? Even so, the seeker has to be continuously vigilant and active in his practices. The human machine is sure to be damaged if he is negligent and a breakdown is certain.
Always: The lord is always alert in the performance of his duty for the welfare of mankind. The Sastras say – ‘negligence is death (Pramado vai mrityuh)’.
Negligence regarding the awareness of Brahman should not be at any time. Such forgetfulness of Atma is death – so says Sanatkumara. The seeker should therefore remember the keyword alert (atandritah) and always be wakeful in his contemplation of the Self.