श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात्।स्वभावनियतं कर्म कुर्वन्नाप्नोति किल्बिषम्।।18.47।।
śhreyān swa-dharmo viguṇaḥ para-dharmāt sv-anuṣhṭhitāt svabhāva-niyataṁ karma kurvan nāpnoti kilbiṣham
śhreyān—better; swa-dharmaḥ—one’s own prescribed occupational duty; viguṇaḥ—imperfectly done; para-dharmāt—than another’s dharma; su-anuṣhṭhitāt—perfectly done; svabhāva-niyatam—according to one’s innate nature; karma—duty; kurvan—by performing; na āpnoti—does not incur; kilbiṣham—sin
Better is one's own duty, even if it is destitute of merits, than the duty of another well performed. He who does the duty ordained by his own nature incurs no sin.
18.47 श्रेयान् better? स्वधर्मः ones own duty? विगुणः (though) destitute of merits? परधर्मात् that the duty of another? स्वनुष्ठितात् (than) well performed? स्वभावनियतम् ordained by his own nature? कर्म action? कुर्वन् doing? न not? आप्नोति (he) incurs? किल्बिषम् sin.Commentary Just as a poisonous substance does not harm the worm born in that substance? so he who does his Svadharma (the duty ordained
according to his own nature) does not incur any sin.What is poison to the whole world is sweet to a worm and yet sugarcane juice that is sweet causes its death. So a mans appointed duty which frees him from bondage must? therefore? be practised however difficult it may seem to be. If you try to do the duty of another it will bring,danger. He who has no knowledge of the Self cannot remain even for a moment without doing action. (Cf.III.35)