श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् | स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः परधर्मो भयावहः ||३-३५||
śreyānsvadharmo viguṇaḥ paradharmātsvanuṣṭhitāt . svadharme nidhanaṃ śreyaḥ paradharmo bhayāvahaḥ ||3-35||
3.35. Better is one’s own duty, [though] it lacks in merit, than the well-performed duty of another; better is the ruin in one’s own duty than the good fortune from another’s duty.
Shri Purohit Swami
3.35 It is better to do thine own duty, however lacking in merit, than to do that of another, even though efficiently. It is better to die doing one’s own duty, for to do the duty of another is fraught with danger.
Sri Abhinav Gupta
3.34-35 Indriyasya etc., Sreyan etc. A person living the worldly life does entertain likes or dislikes towards every sense-object. For, due to his total ignorance he imagines that actions are performed only by his Self. Thus there is this difference between a man of knowledge and a man of worldly life, eventhough they perform alike their [respective] worldly activities such as eating etc.
The established view of ours [in this regard] is this : For a person, who, freed from attachment in every way, Performs his own duty, there is hardly any bond of merit or demerit. Indeed one’s own duty never disappears from one’s heart and it is certainly rooted there deeply as a natural taste. Not a single creature is born without that. Hence it should not be given up.
3.35 Therefore Karma Yoga is better than Jnana Yoga. For, it forms one’s own duty, since it is natural to one and easy to perform, and though defective, is free from liability to interruption and fall. Jnana Yoga, on the other hand, though performed well for some time, constitutes the duty of another, as it is difficult to practise for one conjoined with Prakrti. It is therefore liable to interruption. For a person who lives practising Karma Yoga - which is his duty because he is alified for it - even death without success in one birth does not matter. For, in the next birth with the help of the experience already gained in the previous birth, it will be possible for him to perform Karma Yoga without any impediments. Jnana Yoga is fraught with fear because of the possibility of errors for anyone who is conjoined to Prakrti. It is another’s duty, on account of it being not easily adoptable by him.
3.35 Svadharmah, one’s own duty; being practised even though vigunah, defective, deficient; is sreyan, superior to, more commendable than; para-dharmat, another’s duty; though svanusthitat, well-performed, meritoriously performed. Even nidhanam, death; is sreyah, better; while engaged svadharme, in one’s own duty, as compared with remaining alive while engaged in somody else’s duty. Why? Paradharmah, another’s duty; is bhayavahah, fraught with fear, since it invites dangers such as hell etc. Although the root cause of evil was stated in, ‘In the case of a person who dwells on objects’ (2.62) and ‘৷৷৷৷.because they (attraction and repulsion) are his adversaries’ (34), that was presented desultorily and vaguely. Wishing to know it briefly and definitely as, ‘This is thus, to be sure’, Arjuna, with the idea, ‘When this indeed becomes known, I shall make effort for its eradication’, said:
3.35 Better is one’s own duty, though ill-done, than the duty of another well-performed. Better is death in one’s own duty; the duty of another is fraught with fear.
3.35 One’s own duty [Customary or scripturally ordained observances of different castes and sects.-Tr.], though defective, is superior to another’s duty well-performed. Death is better while engaged in one’s own duty; another’s duty is fraught with fear.
3.35 Better is one’s own duty, though devoid of merit than the duty of another well discharged. Better is death in one’s own duty; the duty of another is fraught with fear (is productive of danger).
3.35 श्रेयान् better? स्वधर्मः ones own duty? विगुणः devoid of merit? परधर्मात् than the duty of another? स्वनुष्ठितात् than well discharged? स्वधर्मे in ones own duty? निधनम् death? श्रेयः better? परधर्मः anothers duty? भयावहः fraught with fear.Commentary It is indeed better for man to die discharging his own duty though destitute of merit than for him to live doing the duty of another though performed in a perfect manner. For the duty of another has its pitfalls. The duty of a Kshatriya is to fight in a righteous battle. Arjuna must fight. This is his duty. Even if he dies in the discharge of his own duty? it is better for him. He will go to heaven. He should not do the duty of another man. This will bring him peril. He should not stop from fighting and enter the path of renunciation. (Cf.XVIII.47).