Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2 (Part-4) Saankhya Yogah- Yoga Of Knowledge


yaam  imaam pushpitaam vaacham pravadantyavipashchitah
    vedavaadarataah  paartha naanyad asteeti vaadinah // 2.42 //

kaamaatmaanah  swargaparaa janmakarmaphalaprdaam
    kriyaavisheshabahulaam  bhogaishwaryagatim prati // 2.43 //

bhogaishwarya  prasaktaanaam tayaapahritachetasaam
    vyavasaayaatmika  buddhih samaadhau na vidheeyate // 2.44 //

Arjuna,  those who are obsessed by desires, who look upon heaven as the supreme goal and  argue that there is nothing beyond heaven and pleasures and who are devoted to  the letter of the Vedas are unwise. They make this type of flowery speeches  recommending many acts of various kinds, for the attainment of pleasure and  prosperity and with rebirth as their motive. Thos whose minds are carried away  by such flowery words (who are attracted by and attached to pleasures and  prosperity) are not well-established in the Self (in concentration).

Here  the reference is to the Karma Kanda or the ritualistic portion of the Vedas,  which lays down specific rules for specific actions for attaining specific  results. Those who give too much importance to this section of the Vedas are  called as unwise and lacking in discrimination.

These  people are highly enamored about such Vedic passages which prescribe ways for  attaining heavenly enjoyments.  They say  that there is nothing else than the sensual enjoyments and power here and  happiness in heaven hereafter which can be achieved by performing the rites of  the Karma Kanda of the Vedas. They regard such attainments as the ultimate  object of human existence. Hence ordinary individuals are attracted towards  their flattering talk. They ignore the philosophical section of the Vedas  dealing with the knowledge of the soul and which alone leads to liberation.

Life  in heaven is also transitory. After the fruits of one's good actions have been  exhausted, one has to return to this earth-plane and liberation can be attained  only through knowledge of the Self.

Although  it is stated here that the Karma Kanda of the Vedas cannot give us final  liberation and a declaration is made that such persons tossed by desires shall  never experience any tranquility in their inner lives, we have to keep in mind  that if these rituals when performed without desire for results purify the mind  which is also an initial step in the Jnana Yoga. The point to note is that the  results of the rites and sacrifices performed with desires are ephemeral for  they are limited by time, space and the law of causation.


traigunyavishayaa  vedaa nistraigunyo bhavaarjuna
    nirdwandwo  nityasatwastho niryogakshema aatmavaan // 2.45 //

The  Vedas deal with three attributes (of nature); you be above these three  attributes, O Arjuna.  Free yourself from  the pairs of opposites and ever remain in the quality of sattwa (goodness),  freed from all thoughts of acquisition (of what you lack) and preservation (of  what you have) and be established in the Self.

After  advising Arjuna about the ineffectiveness of the blind obedience to the Karma  Kanda, Sri Krishna tells him to transcend himself from the triple Gunas. Guna  means attribute or quality.  Nature is  made of three Gunas viz., Sattwa - purity, light, harmony; Rajas - passion,  restlessness, motion; and Tamas - inertia, and darkness. These three Gunas  remain in all the living creatures in varying degrees.  The mind and intellect are constituted with  these qualities. Going above these temperaments means going beyond the mind and  intellect to re-discover one to be the Supreme Self. How such transportation  from imperfection to perfection can take place is explained here.

Pairs  of opposites like heat and cold, pleasure and pain, victory and defeat, honor  and dishonor, praise and censure etc. are the experiences of man in his  life.  To ever remain in the quality of  Sattwa means to keep oneself least agitated in one's perceptions of objects and  persons and in the assessment of their true nature.

Every  activity in this world is guided by two prime motives viz. acquisition for  purposes of possession and preservation of possessions acquired. These two  motives in all actions indicate our selfish desire to acquire and hoard.  Renouncing these two temperaments implies getting away from the source of restlessness  and sorrows in life.

Sri  Krishna advises Arjuna the practical method to be free from all the pairs of  opposites and from the thought of acquisition and preservation and ever  remaining in the quality of Sattwa by establishing himself in the Self by  remaining on guard and not yielding to the objects of the senses.  The sorrows of the pairs of the opposites,  the temptation to be impure and the desire for acquiring and preserving  all belong to the ego-centre arising out of  the Self identifying with not-Self i.e. body, mind and intellect.

To  keep ourselves detached from these ego-centric ideas through constant awareness  of our pure divine nature is the path shown by The Lord to establish oneself in  the Self when the individual ego finds itself free from all anxieties of the  world. Necessarily then one will be beyond the three Gunas free from the pairs  of opposites remaining always in the Sattwic quality. This attitude implies  that one should be balanced and not swayed by either extreme. Sattva enables an  aspiring soul to go beyond the Gunas and attain freedom.

Arjuna  is asked to follow these injunctions while engaged in the performance of his  duty.

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