Whatever you are, you are offering at that stage, therefore there is an ascent. Gradually you go on expanding yourself and your sacrifice become greater and greater, much more intelligent, much more understanding, much more luminous.
The word niyataṁ means, (if you examine the context in which the word is used in the Bhagavat Gita XVIII, n°47), you will find that niyataṁ means, ‘that which is controlled’, not prescribed, but that which is controlled: yat comes from the word, ‘making an effort’; yatna comes from the word yat. An effort always means: ‘regulated effort’: the real effort is that effort which is a real effort, this is a regulated effort. I may be tilling the soil, but in a haphazard manner: that is not called ‘effort’. The effort is when I really put the plough, yoked with the bull, and see that the plough shall actually…is entering into the soil, and then, when it moves it really cuts the soil and moves forward, therefore it is niyataṁ, it is that which is regulated. All regulation is a method. All methodised effort is yoga. The very definition of Yoga is nothing but ‘methodised effort’. Therefore niyataṁ means is a Karma, which is determined by Yoga. There is no more something to be found in the books, which is a book of prescriptions: niyataṁ means is a work which is determined by the yogic effort.
And “nityaṁ” karma is not only the daily activities which we are obliged to do every time, but it is niyataṁ means which has to be done “nityaṁ”: you have to do all the time the niyataṁ means. All activities, which you have to do all the time, all your activities, daily activities, have to be niyataṁ, have to be determined by Yoga.
Therefore the solution is that ‘all works’, not something this or that or that, ‘all works’ are to be offered, are to be performed. But still, there is a real meaning of svabhāva, svadharma, sahaja: these also have to be taken into account. In the process of rising from lower level to the higher level, this idea of svabhāvam, of svadharma, and sahaja, all the three concepts have to be taken into account. Although in the beginning all actions can be offered (at the end all actions have to be offered), but in the process of ascent, there is a real point in making a distinction. And that is why Sri Krishna says, that an action done according to svadharma is to be preferred:
svadharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ paradharmo bhayāvahaḥ || (III, 35)
This is another sentence in the Bhagavad Gita: sva–dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ, “While doing your action according to svadharma, even if that occurs, it is better than doing something that is appertaining to the Dharma of another, para–dharmo bhayāvahaḥ, is perilous, dangerous: it is perilous to follow somebody’s else’s Dharma”. Now what is the meaning of this?
Question: Is this Swadharma decided by birth?
Answer: Sri Krishna Himself says, guṇa–karma–vibhāgaśaḥ (IV, 13): all Swadharma arises from Swabhava; Swabhava is, according to the varṇa; varṇa, is not decided by janma, by birth, it is decided by “guṇa–karma–vibhāgaśaḥ”. According to your natural qualities and your natural inclination of action, it is that, which decides it.