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3.94. Arjuna continues his query:

व्यामिश्रेणेव वाक्येन बुद्धिं मोहयसीव मे ।

तदेकं वद निश्चित्य येन श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम् ॥ २ ॥ (3.2)

3.95. By words that seem confused, you bewilder my intelligence, as it were. Therefore set forth one sure course by which I, may attain highest good.

3.96. Arjuna says: “How can you, instead of dispelling my confusion, bewilder me instead?” So he says: “You bewilder my intelligence, as it were.”

3.97. त्वं तु भिन्नकर्तृकयोः ज्ञानकर्मणोः एकपुरुषानुष्ठानासम्भवं यदि मन्यसे, तत्रैवं सति तत् तयोः एकं बुद्धिं कर्म वा इदमेव अर्जुनस्य योग्यं बुद्धिशक्त्यवस्थानुरूपमिति निश्चित्य वद ब्रूहि,

3.98. O Krishna! if you think the disciplines of knowledge and works, meant for different agents and cannot be observed by one and the same person 1/2

3.99. then affirm with certitude which one of these two would suit me in accordance with the power of my intelligence and my standing in life. 2/2

3.100. येन ज्ञानेन कर्मणा वा अन्यतरेण श्रेयः अहम् आप्नुयां प्राप्नुयाम् ;

3.101. “Thus by either knowledge or works I shall achieve the highest good”

3.102. Surely Krishna had not said earlier that He would speak only about one of the two disciplines of knowledge and works so this question.


श्रीभगवानुवाच —

लोकेऽस्मिन्द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ ।

ज्ञानयोगेन साङ्‍ख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम् ॥ ३ ॥ (3.3)

3.104. Sri Krishna said: O sinless one! Two kinds of disciplines in his world were set forth by Me in times of yore.

3.105. For the Samkhyas the discipline of knowledge, and for the Yogins, that of works.

3.106. At the beginning of creation, after bringing forth the mankind, two-fold disciplines were promulgated by Me for the first 3 varnas.

3.107. Why only the 3 varnas? Because they are entitled to carry out the injunctions of the Sastras.

3.108. I sought to reveal a tradition for implementing the vedic scheme of life – वेदार्थसम्प्रदायमाविष्कुर्वता .

3.109. What are they? They are the two-fold goals of worldly prosperity and emancipation. Let me explain:

3.110. One is the discipline of knowledge of the Self itself for the followers of Samkhya who can discriminate between the Self and the non-self.

3.111. From Brahmacharyam itself the followers of this discipline have embraced the life of renunciation.

3.112. Through the mastery of Vedanta they have acquired an unshakeable grip over the principles of that Sastra.

3.113. They are the renouncers of the Paramahamsa order who have established themselves in the ultimate Reality.

3.114. On the other hand the discipline of works constitutes Yoga has been promulgated for the Yogins, the performers of works.

3.115. Bhagavan has clearly declared that Samkhya and Yoga are for two different people having different qualifications.

3.116. Thus Bhagavan has not advocated that the two disciplines have to be practiced in combination by one and the same person.

3.117. Neither did Bhagavan said to Arjuna: “I will teach both disciplines to you so you can practice them in combination but in case of others they will practice only one discipline.”

3.118. Such a suggestion would make Sri Krishna guilty of partiality and antipathy. If so he can no longer be an authoritative teacher.

3.119. Of course this is not the case. Therefore by no line of reasoning whatsoever is it possible to combine knowledge and works.

3.120. The superiority of knowledge to works that Arjuna affirmed remains, since it has not been repudiated by Krishna.

3.121. The world-renouncers alone may practice the discipline of knowledge, since Krishna has stated that the two are to be practiced by different agents.

3.122. The discipline of work may promote life’s ends viz. freedom from rebirth by endowing the agent with fitness to pursue Samkhya.

3.123. This is the only position that has the Lord’s sanction must be understood.

3.124. Arjuna grieved saying to the Lord: “You enjoin on me work alone that binds” as he was proposing to avoid works.

3.125. Krishna in reply says that freedom ensues “not by refusing to work at all” (BG 3.4)


कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते ।

न च संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति ॥ ४ ॥ (3.4)

3.127. Man does not achieve freedom from works by abstention from them.  None attains perfection through mere renunciation of works.

3.128. What is freedom? It is the restful being, the very essence of the Self that works not.

3.129. By abstention from works like sacrifices man cannot achieve freedom from them.

3.130. Work performed in this life or the past lives serve to attenuate the sins incurred and to purify the mind.

3.131. ‘ज्ञानमुत्पद्यते पुंसां क्षयात्पापस्य कर्मणः । यथादर्शतलप्रख्ये पश्यत्यात्मानमात्मनि’ (मो. ध. २०४-८)

3.132. Thus works give a start to the discipline of knowledge by generating knowledge. Abstention denies this start.

3.133. Why does he fail to attain freedom by abstention from works?

3.134. Because the means to such freedom is the performance of works. You cannot reach the moon unless you have a rocket. It is the means!

3.135. To the discipline of knowledge, whose characteristic is freedom from works, Karma Yoga is the means.

3.136. ‘तमेतं वेदानुवचनेन ब्राह्मणा विविदिषन्ति यज्ञेन’ (बृ. उ. ४-४-२२)

3.137. “Brahmanas seek to know the Self through th4 study of the Vedas, through karma.” (B.U.4.4.22)

3.138. It makes Karma Yoga instrumental to the discipline of knowledge. Later in Bagavat Geetha (5.6) Bhagavan says:

3.139. ‘संन्यासस्तु महाबाहो दुःखमाप्तुमयोगतः’ (भ. गी. ५-६) It is hard, O mighty armed! to achieve renunciation without Karma Yoga.

3.140. And on purification of the mind, Krishna says in (5.11) ‘योगिनः कर्म कुर्वन्ति सङ्गं त्यक्त्वात्मशुद्ध (भ. गी. ५-११)

3.141. “Sacrifice, gift giving, and penance purify the mind.”

3.142. Why should one perform work at all when the aim is freedom from works?

3.143. Because by non-performance of work, the mind is clogged and not perfected resulting in lack of knowledge which is a pre-requisite to freedom.

3.144. Due to what reason man fails to attain perfection by renunciation or abstention of work without knowledge? Answer comes next.

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