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


yaavaanartha  udapaane sarvatah samplutodake
    taavaan  sarveshu vedeshu braahmanasya vijaanatah // 2.46 //
    To  the Brahmana who has known the Self, all the Vedas are of as much use as is a  reservoir of water in a place where there is a flood.

Only  for a sage who has realized the Self or truth concerning Absolute Reality, the  Vedas (Karma Kanda) are of no use because he is already in possession of the  highest knowledge of the Self. This however does not imply ridiculing or ignoring  the Karma Kanda of the Vedas. They are certainly a useful means for achieving  the goal by the aspirants who just started their spiritual journey and serve  the purpose of the unenlightened. Through the performance of the works  prescribed by the Vedas one becomes fit for the path of knowledge.

All  the transient pleasures derived from the proper performance of rituals enjoined  in the Karma Kanda of the Vedas are comprehended in the Infinite Bliss of Self  Knowledge as the utility of a reservoir in a place having floods. All kinds of  limited bliss are included in the Infinite Bliss. A knower of the Self does not  need t o follow the Vedic injunctions.


karmanyevaadhikaaraste  maa phaleshu kadaachana
    maa  karmaphalahetur bhoor maa te sango'stwakarmani // 2.47 //

Your  right is to work only, but never to claim its fruits.  Do not become an instrument for making your  actions yield fruit, nor let your attachment be to inaction.

This  is one of the most quoted verses of the Gita. This famous verse contains the  essential principle of disinterestedness in action. When we do our work we will  be sidetracked from disinterestedness if we think of name, fame, income or any  such extraneous consideration. Nothing should matter except the willing  fulfillment of the purpose of God keeping in mind that success or failure  depends upon other forces as well.

Sri  Krishna's advice here is a call to the man not to waste his present time in imaginary  fears about the future but to bring out the best in him and live fruitfully  every present moment of his life. Thereby the future will take care of itself  and provide the Karma Yogins with supreme achievement.

Arjuna  is advised that all that is given to him is to act and having known the cause  of action to be noble, bring into that activity all that is  the best in him  and immerse himself in the activity. That  will be the inspired action and its fruits will be such action itself.

This  verse gives the following four guidelines to a Karma Yogin:

  1. his concern is  with the action alone.
  3. he has no concern  with the results.
  5. he should not become  a tool  for gaining a desired result of a  given action since   

            such desired result oriented action  produces bondage and

  1. the above  mentioned ideas should not be taken to mean advocating inaction.

The  advice is to make the worker release himself from his mental anxieties and make  him aware of the divinity through work alone. The work itself is his reward --  satisfaction of the job well done is the end in itself.

By  performing actions in this manner one gets peace and his vasanas get reduced. Freed  from the bondage of expectations he becomes purified for realizing the  knowledge of the Self and attain God-Realization or Salvation. Through this  knowledge one is freed from the wheel of births and deaths.

Bhagavan,  however, warns that one should be careful not to lapse into inaction thinking  that there is no use performing actions without expecting any rewards.

Various  meanings are attached to the word Karma. The followers of Karma Kanda mean it  as rituals and sacrifices. Another meaning is one's duty as per the caste or  station in life. Karma also means action. But a deeper meaning of the word is  destiny or the tendencies, impulses, characteristics and habits-Vasanas-which  determine his next birth and environment. But Karma in the present verse means  action or performing one’s duty.


yogasthah  kuru karmani sangam tyaktwaa dhananjaya
    siddhyasiddhyoh  samo bhootwaa samatwam yoga uchyate // 2.48 //

Perform  your actions, O Dhananjaya (Arjuna), being established in or integrated with  Yoga, abandoning attachment and remaining even-minded both in success and  failure. This Evenness of mind is called Yoga.

From  here the technique of Karma Yoga is discussed exhaustively wherein Yoga means  evenness of mind through work.  In this  path towards progress, a complete erasure of individuality and its false sense  of values are essential.

Evenness  of mind, tranquility of mental composure in all pairs of opposites, is Yoga. In  this context the term Yoga indicates a special condition of mind in which it  comes to a neutral equilibrium in all the ups and downs of life's situations.  It is a state of being an instrument in the hand of God, having given up even  the desire that through our action we shall please Him. Only thus one can  remain unconcerned as to success and failure.   

Attachment  is the notion that arises when a man regards himself not as an instrument but  as a doer of an action. It is necessary for the true worker not only to have  equanimity and poise in his behavior but he should reinforce it with a total  renunciation of his attachment to the anxieties for the results.  By this way he may transform even his ordinary  chores as inspired actions. During the performance of such inspired actions,  the performer becomes self-forgetful and would not care for success or failure  for his venture. This equilibrium is Yoga.
  The  attainment of knowledge of the Self through purity of heart obtained by  performing actions without the expectation of the fruits is success - Siddhi.  Failure is the non-attainment of such knowledge by doing actions with the  expectation of fruits.

The  secret of karmayoga is complete effacement of one’s individuality and total  identification with God’s will. Thus alone does the worker become free from the  joy or grief that results from the success or failure of his works; this alone  ensures that he enjoys peace while performing his duties.


doorena  hyavaram karma buddhiyogaad dhananjaya
    buddhau  sharanamanwiccha kripanaah phalahetavah // 2.49 //

O  Arjuna, far inferior, indeed, is mere action, to action performed with evenness  of mind.  Seek refuge in this evenness. Wretched  are they who work for results.

Actions  performed to gain a result are the cause of future birth and death and hence  create bondage. Such actions are referred to here as inferior. The state of not  being exalted or depressed by success or failure is called evenness. It is not  callousness or indifference but a total devotion of the worker to his duty, whereby  he regards himself as an instrument of God. One attains true evenness only as a  result of the Knowledge of the Supreme Reality. This Knowledge alone, not any  incidental result, should be the goal of work.

They  are wretched indeed who busy themselves with calculation of the gains or losses  resulting from their actions and thus depart from the world without realizing  the Supreme Reality.

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