Doer or Enjoyer?

Chapter III, Verse 27

Sri Nerode’s Translation:


All activities are wrought by the interplay of diverse qualities of nature. Ignorant people, deluded by egoism, thinketh, “I am the doer.”


Helpful Translation:

Creation operates by subtle laws. Only the ignorant egotist believes that he is the creator.


Compelled to reap the results of one’s adherence to or violation of the laws of creation, humans have no legitimate claim to the results. The laws function in spite of one’s personal actions.

If the laws of creation are inflexible, you might wonder, “Does free will exist?”

Free will exists on a level that few comprehend. From the ignorant point of view, the first choice is to decide that one wants to act in harmony with the law. Once that decision has been transformed into the habit of following intuition more choices appear than ever before.

The ignorant man is a slave to his senses. Sense slavery is limiting and offers few options. The ignorant person believes that free will is the ability to choose pleasure over pain. The enlightened man is not limited to this crude choice. The wise choose between which sort of “pleasure” to enjoy not which kind of pain to avoid.

The intellect which binds man to the senses reasons, “I am and I act therefore I create the end result.” The supreme egotist will even twist the meaning of the scriptures and make arguments to support the statement “I am God!”

The wise man is not bound by the intellect nor to sensual experiences. Instead the wise realize that “I am not the doer. I am the one who is entertained!”

Consider a recent visit to an amusement park or state fair. Someone owns the park and someone owns the various rides and amusements at a fair.

The ignorant man is like the owner of a park. He carries around the burdens of park maintenance and development. He may enjoy his work, but the park owner has financial worries and liability concerns. He wonders, “What if someone gets hurt? What if no one likes the new multi-million dollar ride? What if no one shows up, how will I pay my bills?”

The enlightened man is like the child who visits the park for the first time. Each moment is an adventure and every new experience inspires a sort of “awe” that only the ever-new discovery of Bliss can provide. The enlightened man might even be a hired janitor at the busy state fair, who serves others by ensuring cleanliness and safety. From an objective point of view, the consciousness of the enlightened human is an experience of unparalleled joy regardless of his material circumstances.

True “free will” lies in understanding and working with the laws of creation rather than fighting the laws through attachment.


Easter Eggs:

Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:

ahamkara – “I am the doer”


gunais – the nature of the interplay of the three qualities (or gunas)

The three qualities are: positive (Sattwa), negative (Tama) and neutralizing

(Raja). Additional notes about each quality follows:

Neutral –

Existence, truth, bears witness to the truth; illumines, ascertains,

soothes, and uplifts by causing an equilibrium. Makes real happiness

devoid of excitement. Has no motion of its own. Gives the power to will

and to know.

Positive –

Activates, produces motion, causes change in anything it influences. Gives matter its force and impetus; causes desire and endeavor in the mind.

Negative –

This quality covers or hides “neutral” qualities and obstructs “positive” qualities.

In this series of verses, mention is made of the three worlds and of the three gunas or qualities. The three worlds refers to the physical, astral and causal experiences to be had in creation. The egotist in this age is primarily aware of the physical world even though they may claim to have had “spiritual” experiences.

The three qualities (gunas) are present in all of the three worlds because the dual nature of creation is simply black and white with the variations of gray in between.

Download a PDF copy of this post.


Ancient History

%d bloggers like this: