Gita : Ch-5. Slo-1.

Srimad Bhagavad-Gita :

Chapter 5. ( Karma-sanyasa-yogam )

In chapter five Lord Krishna delineates the concepts of action with detachment and renunciation in actions explaining that both are a means to the same goal. Here He explains how salvation is attained by the pursuance of these paths. Thus this chapter is entitled: Action and Renunciation.

In this Fifth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord says that work in devotional service is better than dry mental speculation. Devotional service is easier than the latter because, being transcendental in nature, it frees one from reaction.

In the Second Chapter, preliminary knowledge of the soul and its entanglement in the material body were explained. How to get out of this material encagement by buddhi-yoga, or devotional service, was also explained therein.

In the Third Chapter, it was explained that a person who is situated on the platform of knowledge no longer has any duties to perform.

And, in the Fourth Chapter, the Lord told Arjuna that all kinds of sacrificial work culminate in knowledge. However, at the end of the Fourth Chapter, the Lord advised Arjuna to wake up and fight, being situated in perfect knowledge.

Therefore, by simultaneously stressing the importance of both work in devotion and inaction in knowledge, Lord Krishna has perplexed Arjuna and confused his determination.

Arjuna understands that renunciation in knowledge involves cessation of all kinds of work performed as sense activities.

But if one performs work in devotional service, then how is work stopped?

In other words, he thinks that sannyasam, or renunciation in knowledge, should be altogether free from all kinds of activity because work and renunciation appear to him to be incompatible.

He appears not to have understood that work in full knowledge is nonreactive and is therefore the same as inaction.

He inquires, therefore, whether he should cease work altogether, or work with full knowledge.

Slokam-1. (Arjuna said : O Krishna, from renunciation of activities again you are also praising activities in the science of uniting the individual consciousness. Please tell me definitely which one of the two is more beneficial?)

arjuna uvaca :

Sannyasam  karmanam  krishna  punaryogam  ca  samsasi,

yacchreya  etayorekam  tanme  bruhi  suniscitam.

Arjuna    said :

Krishna   karmanam   sanyasam  =  O Krishna!     karma-sanyasam;

punah  yogaca  =  and   karma-yogam;

samsasi  =  you are praising;

etayoh  yat  sreyah  =  in   these  which  one  is   superior;

tat  ekam  suniscitam  =  decide  that,  which  one;

me  bruhi  =  please  tell  me.


In this chapter Lord Krishna is removing all doubts regarding the application of action and the renunciation of action. He is declaring that moksa or liberation from the material existence is attained by the renunciants who has by virtue of their austerities have conquered the influences of the senses. In the previous chapter Lord Krishna instructed to destroy all doubts by the sword of knowledge taking to the path of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities. But previous to this Lord Krishna had instructed that renunciation of actions was more appropriate for one following the path of jnana yoga or cultivation of Vedic knowledge. Then again Lord Krishna instructed that the person delighting in their atma or eternal soul needs not to perform either karma yoga or jnana yoga. Now it needs to be determined is it possible for a person to simultaneously perform the renunciation of actions while at the same time performing actions and if not what is the superior path for one to embark upon. All these questions will be answered.

Lord Krishna previously presented karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desire of rewards as a pre-eminent discipline but then stated that one in jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge has no need to perform any action and then again He declared that the person who immersed in the atma or soul has no need to perform karma yoga or jnana yoga. In this situation it is difficult for an aspirant of moksa or liberation to determine if karma yoga or jnana yoga is more appropriate or is it possible to simultaneously perform both together. Lord Krishna had stated that one who performs actions as a matter of duty unattached without desire for rewards incurs no sinful reactions. Then again He had instructed that yagna or offerings of worship with spiritual intelligence is superior to yagnas performed with material ingredients because all actions culminate in knowledge. So because the paths appear conflicting and contrary to each other Lord Krishna is being requested to resolve the issue definitively.

In the third chapter karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities was delineated by Lord Krishna with special emphasis of it containing spiritual intelligence. In the third chapter it was shown that even those who follow the path of jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge that karma yoga when performed as a matter of duty without attachment was preferable. This is because in jnana yoga the level of atma tattva or soul realisation contained within each action determines individual success; whereas karma yoga is easy to perform and does not depend on atma tattva for success. In this chapter karma yoga is examined in its efficacy of expeditiousness in achieving atma tattva in comparison to jnana yoga. Also will be illustrated how this should be performed and the eliminating the conception that one is the performer along with how jnana yoga is perceived from this standpoint.

Renunciation and the cultivation of Vedic knowledge is jnana yoga. The performance of prescribed Vedic activities is karma yoga. In chapter two Lord Krishna declared that karma yoga was worthy to be followed by those seeking moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the material existence and as the mind was subsequently purified of all dross then jnana yoga would naturally be embarked upon bringing about atma tattva. But in chapters three and four Lord Krishna explained that karma yoga was preferable to even for onme qualified to perform jnana yoga and futhermore that karma yoga was sufficient in and of itself to achieve atma tattva without the help of jnana yoga. So the conclusion to be given is which of the two is absolutely superior and the best means to achieve atma tattvam.

Because the Supreme Lord Krishna performs such wonderfully phenomenal activities known as lilas or pastimes, He attracts all the worlds. Thus He is know as Krishna the all attractive one. The Kurma Purana states: Oh Lord since You attract all the worlds by your extraordinary activities, enlightened beings who have realised the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence call you Krishna the all attracting one.

In this chapter Lord Krishna explains the equanimity of actions further expounding upon the themes from chapter four, verse 24: being content with what has naturally been ordained and chapter four, verse 15: performing actions in renunciation. The word sannnyasa or renunciation is being explained to answer the question if sannyasa is more propitious then the act of war is contrary to renunciation.

In this chapter the attributes of renunciation and performance of actions are delineated. The compound words sannyasyam karmanam meaning renunciation of all actions significantly contains the word nyaasa denoting equanimity. Thus all actions are recommended to be renounced with equanimity inferring that both karma or performance of prescribed Vedic activities and sannyasa or renunciation of the rewards of prescribed Vedic activities can be performed simultaneously and hence the question to Lord Krishna for clarification.

Arjuna was a prince of the highest royal order that ruled India and the entire Earth as well. He was raised meticulously and comprehensively in the science of sanatan dharma or the principles of eternal righteousness as well as all matters regarding governance and diplomacy, war and conciliation. Due to this he was an adhikari or very qualified being. If the divine discourse of the Bhagavad-Gita was meant only for Lord Krishna to remove the lamentation of Arjuna then there world have been no need for Vedavyasa to record it in the Mahabharata. But in chapter four, verse two Lord Krishna reveals that although it was transmitted by parampara or disciplic succession it was lost on the Earth over the millenniums. Therefore Lord Krishna caused Arjuna to have lamentation as a pretext to reveal the Bhagavad-Gita to the world again and He made Arjuna the symbol of the individual consciousness of everyone to achieve knowledge of the ultimate reality on their quest of attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness and thereby realising the ultimate supreme personality.

To be continued  


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