Bhagavad-gita-rahasya (or Karma-yoga Shastra)

by Bhalchandra Sitaram Sukthankar | 1935 | 327,828 words

The English translation of the Bhagavad-Gita Rahasya, also known as the Karma-yoga Shastra or “Science of Right Action”, composed in Marathi by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1915. This first volume represents an esoteric exposition of the Bhagavadgita and interprets the verses from a Mimamsa philosophical standpoint. The work contains 15 chapters, Sanskri...

Chapter 14 - The Continuity of the Chapters of the Gītā (gītādhyāya-saṃgati)

pravṛtti lakṣaṇaṃ dharmaṃ ṛṣir nārāyaṇo 'bravīt |
  —Mahābhārata, Śānti. (217.2).

"The Ṛṣi Nārāyaṇa has preached an Energistic (pravṛtti-lakṣaṇaṃ) doctrine (dharma)"[1]

It will have been noticed from the Exposition made by me so far that the Bhagavadgītā, that is to say, the Upaniṣad sung by the Blessed Lord, has promulgated the following doctrine, namely, that (i) acquiring complete Equability of Reason by Realising the universal identity of the Ātman in all created things, whether by the Contemplation on the Absolute Self or by Devotion, while being engaged in Action, and (ii) continuing to perform all the various duties which have befallen one in worldly life according to the injunctions of the Śāstras, even after the acquisition of that Equability of Reason, without thinking of taking up Asceticism (saṃnyāsa), is the highest goal (puruṣārtha) or the best path of living one's life for man in this world. Nevertheless, as the order in which this Exposition has been made in this book, is different from the order adopted in the Gītā, it is necessary to consider succinctly in what way the whole of this subject- matter has been arranged in the Gītā. Any subject-matter can be dealt with in two ways; the one is the scientific method, and the other is according to the Purāṇas. Out of these, the method of explaining how the fundamental principles of the doctrine to be established can be derived from things which everybody easily understands by logically arranging and putting forward all the pros and cons of the doctrine under discussion, is known as the scientific (śāstrīya) method. Geometry is an excellent example of this method, and the method adopted in the Nyāya-Sūtras or the Vedānta-Sūtras falls into this class.

Therefore, wherever the Bhagavadgītā refers to the Brahma-Sūtras or to the Vedānta-Sūtras, it is stated that the subject-matter expounded in those Sūtras has been expounded in the form of intentional and definite propositions; cf.,

brahma-sūtra padaiś caiva hetumadbhir viniścitaiḥ
  (Bhagavadgītā 13.4),

I.e., "this subject-matter has been expounded by stating the reasons (hetu), and the conclusions, in absolutely definite words (pada) in the BrahmaSūtras"—(Translator.).

But although, the exposition of the subject-matter in the Bhagavadgītā is scientific, yet, it has not been made in this, that is, in a scientific way.

The subjectmatter in the Gītā has been described in the easy and entertaining form of a conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna; and therefore, at the end of each chapter, we find the words,

śrī kṛṣṇārjuna saṃvāde,

I.e., "in the conversation between. Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna"—(Translator.),

Which show the method of exposition adopted in the Gītā, after the words,

bhagavadgītā-sūpaniṣatsu brahmavidyāyāṃ yogaśāstre,

I.e., "of the Science of Yoga, included in the cult of the Brahman, expounded in the Upaniṣad sung by the Blessed Lord"–(Trans).

I have used the word 'paurāṇika' (i.e., "in the fashion of the Purāṇas"—Translator.) with reference to the catechismal exposition, in order to clearly show the difference between that method of exposition and the scientific method. It would have been absolutely impossible to go into a thorough discussion of all the various matters which are included in a comprehensive word like 'dharma' (Morality) in such a catechismal or 'paurāṇika' exposition extending over only 700 stanzas. Yet, it is a matter of great surprise that all the various subjects, which arise in the Gītā, have been crammed together, without mutual conflict, in that way in the Gītā though succinctly; and this proves the wonderful skill of the author of the Gītā, and explains the propriety of the statement made in the beginning of the Anugītā, that the advice given in the Gītā was given with an 'extremely Yogic (yoga-yukta) frame of mind'. There was no reason to explain once more in detail those matters which were already known to Arjuna.

His chief difficulty was whether or not he should commit such a terrible act like warfare, and if so, how; and when Śrī Kṛṣṇa advanced any particular logical argument in His reply, Arjuna would raise objections to it. The exposition made in the Gītā in the form of this catechism is naturally very succinct or short in some places, whereas there have been repetitions in other places. For instance, the description of the developing-out of three-constituented Matter has appeared with slight differences in two places (Bhagavadgītā Chap. I and XIV); whereas, although the description of the Sthitaprajña, the Bhagavadbhakta, the Triguṇātīta, and the Brahma-bhūta is one and the same, yet, the same has been repeated on different occasions from different points of view. On the other hand, the doctrine that 'artha' (wealth) and 'kāma' (desire), are proper when not inconsistent with dharma (Morality), has been enunciated in the single sentence "dharmāviruddhaḥ kāmo'smi" (7.11), (i.e., "I am that kāma (Desire), which is not contrary to dharma (Morality)"–Trans). In consequence, although all these various subjects have appeared in the Gītā, yet, the readers of the Gītā get confused as a result of their not being acquainted with the traditions of the ancient doctrines of the religion of the Śrutis, the religion of the Smṛtis, the Bhāgavata religion, the Sāṃkhya philosophy, the Pūrva-Mīmāṃsā, the Vedānta Philosophy, the Theory of Causality (karma-vipāka) etc., on the authority of which the Knowledge in the Gītā has been expounded; and as they do not really understand the method of exposition, they think that the Gītā, is something unintelligible; or that it must have been expounded before the scientific method of expounding things had come into vogue, and that there are, on that account, to be found inconsistencies or an incomplete exposition in various places in the Gītā; or that at any rate, the Knowledge expounded in it is inaccessible to their intelligence. If one refers to the various commentaries for clearing one's doubts, one gets all the more confused, since almost all the commentaries are in support of some doctrine or other, and it becomes extremely difficult to harmonise the mutually conflicting opinions of the commentators. I know several even very learned readers, who have got confused in this way. In order that such a difficulty should no more remain, I have so far expounded the various subjects described in the Gītā, by scientifically arranging them in a way I thought best. If I now explain how these various subjects have more or less figured in the conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, by reference to the questions or doubts expressed by Arjuna, my whole Exposition will become complete, and it will be easier for me to sum up the entire subject-matter in the next chapter.

My readers must first remember that the Gītā was preached by one omniscient, all-powerful, prosperous, and highly revered Kṣatriya to another powerful archer-warrior, in order to induce the latter to perform his duties according to the law of warriors at a date when our India was well-known on all sides as enjoying the happiness of Spiritual Knowledge, material wealth, worldly success, and complete selfgovernment. Mahāvīra and Gautama Buddha, the protagonists of the Jain and Buddhist religions respectively, both belonged to the warrior class; yet, Śrī Kṛṣṇa did not, as was done by both of them, adopt only the Path of Renunciation from the Vedic religion, and open the door of the Path of Renunciation to all classes, including the warrior class; and the advice given in the Bhāgavata religion is that not only the warrior class, but even Brahmins must adopt the path of taking part in all worldly activities, till death, with a desireless frame of mind, while possessing the Peace (śānti) pertaining to the Path of Renunciation. But whatever advice is given, it is necessary that there should be some occasion for giving it; and in order that the advice given should become fruitful, a desire to receive the Knowledge of that advice must, in the first place, have arisen in the mind of the disciple. Therefore, in order to explain both these things, Vyāsa has explained in detail in the FIRST CHAPTER of the Gītā, the occasion for Śrī Kṛṣṇa to give this advice to Arjuna. The armies of the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas were standing on the field of Kuru, to fight with each other, and the fight was about to start, when Śrī Kṛṣṇa, at the desire of Arjuna, took and left his chariot in the middle of both the armies, and said to him, "look at these Bhīṣma, Droṇa, and others with whom you have to fight". Then, when Arjuna had looked at both the armies, he saw that his own ancestors, uncles, grand-fathers, maternal uncles, brethren, sons, grand-sons, friends, relatives, preceptors, co-disciples etc. were ranged on both sides, and that all of them would be killed in the war! It was not that the war had sprung up suddenly. The decision to fight had been arrived at, and the recruiting of the armies on both sides had been going on for many days. Nevertheless, when Arjuna saw the realistic vision of the destruction of the entire clan by this internecine war, even a great fighter like him felt unhappy, and he said:–"Alas! are we going to bring about this terrible destruction of our own clan in order that we should get the kingdom? Is it not better to beg?" And he said to Śrī Kṛṣṇa: "It does not matter if I am killed by my enemies; but, I do not wish to commit terrible sins like patricide, or the murder of one's preceptors, or fratricide, or the destruction of the entire clan, ever if I were to get the kingdom of the three worlds". His body began to tremble, he lost control over his limbs, his mouth became dry, and with a very unhappy face, he threw down his bow and arrows and sat down in his chariot. This part of the story is mentioned in the first chapter, which is called the 'Yoga of the Dejection of Arjuna'; because, although the whole of the Gītā deals with only one subject-matter, namely,, 'the philosophy of Karma-Yoga included in the cult (vidyā) of the Brahman', the subject-matter principally described in each chapter is looked upon as a portion of this philosophy of Karma-Yoga, and each chapter is, with reference to the subject-matter in it, called this Yoga, that Yoga etc. And all these Yogas taken together, make up the entire 'Philosophy of Karma-Yoga included in the cult (vidyā) of the Brahman'. I have explained in the beginning of the book the importance of the first chapter of the Gītā; because, if one does not clearly understand at the outset what the question before one is, one cannot also clearly understand the answer to that question. If the sum and substance of the Gītā is to be understood as being that one should abandon worldly life, and take either to Devotion to the Blessed Lord, or the Path of Renunciation, then there was no necessity to give that advice to Arjuna, as he was ready to give up the terrible warfare of his own accord and to go begging round the world. The author of the Gītā could have put into the mouth of Śrī Kṛṣṇa a stanza or two containing such words as: "Hullo! what a nice thing you have said! I am very glad to notice your repentance! Come; let us both give up this worldly life which is full of Action, and redeem our respective Selfs by the Path of Renunciation or the Path of Devotion!"; and he could have thus ended the Gītā. Then, if the war had taken place thereafter, and Vyāsa had mis- employed his speech by spending three years (Śriman Mahābhārata Ā. 62.52) in describing it, Arjuna and Śrī Kṛṣṇa at any rate would not have, been to blame for it. It is true that the thousands of warriors, collected together on the battle-field of Kuru, would have derided Arjuna and Śrī Kṛṣṇa; but, would a man who was bent on redeeming his own Self, pay even the slightest attention to such derision? Whatever the world said, the Upaniṣads themselves have said:–"yad ahar eva virajet tad ahar eva pravrajet" (Jā. 4), i.e., "that moment when you repent, that very moment you should renounce the world, and not delay the matter". Even if one says that the repentance of Arjuna was not based on Self-Realisation, but on Ignorance (moha), yet, the fact that there was a repentance at all, would finish half the task; and it was not impossible for the Blessed Lord to remove his Ignorance and to give that repentance the foundation of Knowledge. Even among those who follow the Path of Renunciation or the Path of Devotion, there are examples of persons who have given up worldly life, as they had for some reason or other got tired of such life, and later on obtained complete perfection; and Arjuna could have been dealt with in the same way. One could easily have found in the field of Kuru, the handful of saffron colour necessary for colouring the clothes of Arjuna like those of a Saṃnyāsin, or the cymbals, drums, and other instruments necessary for him for singing the praises of the Blessed Lord.

But instead of doing so, Śrī Kṛṣṇa has on the contrary said to Arjuna in the beginning of the SECOND CHAPTER that: "O Arjuna, whence have you got this disastrous idea (kaśmala)? This impotency (klaibya) is unworthy of you! your reputation will go to dogs! therefore, give up this weakness (daurbalya) and stand up and fight!" But when in spite of that advice, Arjuna reiterated his previous unmanly tale of woe, and said to Śrī Kṛṣṇa with a pityful expression on his face: "how shall I kill such great and noble-souled persons like Bhīṣma, Droṇa etc.? My mind is confused by the doubt as to whether it is better to die or to kill them; therefore, tell me which of these two paths is the more meritorious; I am surrendering myself to You", Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw that Arjuna was completely under the sway of this despondence; and smiling a little, He started imparting Knowledge to him with the words "aśocyān anva śocas tvaṃ etc.". Arjuna wanted to act like a Jñānin (scient), and was boasting about Renunciation of Action; and therefore, the Blessed Lord has commenced His advice with the description of the two paths (Niṣṭhās) of 'Abandonment of Action' and 'Performance of Action', which were being followed in the world by Jñānins; and He first tells Arjuna that whichever of the two paths was adopted by him, he would yet be wrong. HE then gives advice to Arjuna, upto the words, "eṣā te 'bhihitā sāṃkhye buddhiḥ" etc. (Bhagavadgītā 2.11–39), (i.e., "I have given this advice or Knowledge to you, or made this Exposition, according to the Sāṃkhya system"~Translator.) regarding the Path of Knowledge or Sāṃkhya system, on the basis of which Arjuna had begun to speak of Abandonment of Action; and then He tells Arjuna, upto the end of chapter, that fighting was his true duty consistently with the Path of Karma-Yoga. If some such stanza like "eṣā te 'bhihitā sāṃkhye" had come before the stanza "aśocyān anva śocas tvaṃ" etc., this same meaning would have been conveyed in a more pronounced way. But, it has come in the course of conversation, in the form of: "so far, I have explained the system of the Sāṃkhyas, I shall now explain to you the philosophy of Karma-Yoga", after the exposition of the Sāṃkhya system was over. In either case, the meaning is the same. I have clearly explained the difference between the Sāṃkhya or Renunciatory path and the Yoga or Activistic path in the eleventh chapter above; and I shall, therefore, without repeating the same subject-matter here only say that, abandoning Action and taking to Asceticism for obtaining Release, after a man has acquired Knowledge by performance of such Actions as are enjoined on the particular castes for the purification of the Mind, having regard to the different stages of life, is known as the Sāṃkhya path; and not abandoning Action at any time, but continuing the performance of Action desirelessly, so long as life lasts, is known as Yoga or Karma-Yoga, The Blessed Lord first says to Arjuna: "in as much as the Ātman is imperishable and immortal according to the Philosophy of the Absolute Self expounded in the Sāṃkhya system, this idea that you are going to kill Bhīṣma etc. is wrong in its very inception; because, the Ātman is not killed, nor does it kill. Just as a man changes one set of clothes and puts on another, so does the Ātman give up one body and take up another; that is all. But it is not right, on that account, to imagine that the Ātman is dead and to lament for it. Well; if, on the ground that the idea that 'I am going to kill' is an illusion, you ask Me, why you should fight at all, then, My answer is, that it is the duty of the warrior class not to withdraw from that warfare which befalls that class according to the Śāstras; and as even according to the Sāṃkhya philosophy, it is considered meritorious to perform. in the beginning all Actions which befall one according to the arrangement of the castes and the stages of life, people will find fault with you if you do not do so; nay, falling in the fight is the duty of soldiers. Then why are you dejected? Give up the Karma-vision that 'I am killing and he is dying'; and perform that Action which befalls you in the course of life, with the idea that you are merely doing, your own duty, so that you will thereby incur no sin whatsoever". This is the advice given consistently with the Sāṃkhya philosophy. But that still leaves untouched the doubt, that it is better not to fight and to renounce the world, immediately on feeling the repentance (if possible), if, according to the Sāṃkhya doctrine, it is considered more meritorious to give up all Action and to renounce the world after the purification, of the Mind.

These doubters say that it is not enough to reply that Manu and other Smṛti writers have dictated that one should renounce the world in old age, after having completed the state of a householder, and that one must live in the state of a householder in youth; because, if renouncing the world sometime or other is the most meritorious course of action, the proper course is to do so without delay, as soon as one gets tired of worldly life; and that is why there are such statements in the Upaniṣads as,

brahmacaryād eva pravrajet gṛhād vā vanād va
  (Jā. 4),

I.e., "one should renounce the world whether in the state of a celibate, or a householder, or of a denizen of the woods"—(Translator.).

That ultimate goal which is to be obtained by renouncing the world is obtained by the warrior by falling on the battle-field.

It is stated in the Mahābhārata that:–

dvāv imau puruṣavyāghra sūryamaṇḍala bhedinau |
parivāṅg yogayuktaś ca raṇe cābhimukho hataḥ ||
  (Udyo. 32.65)

That is, "O, tiger in the shape of a man (puruṣavyāghra), there are only two persons who can pierce the constellation of the Sun and reach the sphere of the Brahman; the one is the Ascetic steeped in Yoga, and the other is the warrior who falls on the battle-field while fighting ";

And we find a stanza conveying the same import in the book on Economics (arthaśāstra) by Kauṭilya, that is, by Cāṇakya, to the effect that:

yān yajña saṃghais tapasā ca viprāḥ svargaiṣiṇaḥ pātra ca yaiś ca yānti |
kṣanena tān apy ati yānti śūrāḥ prāṇān suyuddheṣu parityajantaḥ ||
  (Kauṭi. 10.3, 150–153 and Śriman Mahābhārata Śān. 92–100)

That is: "Warriors, who give up their lives in warfare, go in a moment far beyond that sphere which is obtained after death by Brahmins desiring heaven, by means of many sacrificial offerings, or of austerities";

That is to say, that goal which is reached not only by austere ascetics or those who have renounced the world, but even by those who perform sacrificial ritual, is also reached by the warrior who falls on the field of battle.

This is the summary of the advice given in the Gītā to the effect that,

"The gateway of heaven in the shape of war, is rarely found open by a warrior; if you die in the war, you will obtain heaven, and if you gain victory, you will obtain the kingdom of the world" (2.32, 37).

Therefore, it could even be maintained, according to Sāṃkhya philosophy, that whether Arjuna took up Asceticism or fought, the result would be the same. Nevertheless, the definite conclusion that he must fight under any circumstances is not arrived at by the logical arguments advanced by the Sāṃkhya school. Realising this difficulty which would arise for Arjuna by following the Sāṃkhya philosophy, the Blessed Lord has after finishing with the exposition of the Sāṃkhya system, started with the exposition of the Path of Karma-Yoga; and, in order to clear to clear this doubt, the Blessed Lord has, upto the last chapter of the Gītā, expounded by giving various examples, this KarmaYoga–that is, this position that Action must be performed, and that instead of such Action coming in the way of Release, such Release is, on the other hand, obtained while performing Action. 'The central principle of the Karma-Yoga is that in order to decide whether a particular Action is good or bad, one has first to see whether the Practical Reason (vāsanātmikā buddhi) of the doer was pure or impure, rather than considering the external effects of that Action (Bhagavadgītā 2. 49). But, as the question whether the Practical Reason (vāsanā) was pure or impure has ultimately to be decided by the Pure (or Discerning) Reason (vyavasāyātmikā buddhi), the Desire does not become pure and equable, unless the Discerning Reason is equable. It is, therefore, stated at the same time, that in order to purify the Practical Reason, one must also in the first instance steady the Discerning Reason by means of Concentration (Bhagavadgītā 2.41). If one considers the ordinary activities of the world, the majority of people are seen, engrossed in the Vedic ritual or sacrifices etc., based on Desire, for the acquisition of various forms of happiness based on Desire; and on that account their Desire is seen to be keen to-day on obtaining this fruit or to-morrow some other fruit, that is, engrossed in selfish interests and constantly changing. But, such persons cannot possibly get the permanent happiness of Release, which is of greater importance than the transient result in the shape of heaven, etc. Therefore, the mystic import of the Path of Karma-Yoga is now explained to Arjuna (2.47–53) by his being told that: "give up this desire-prompted activity of Vedic Karma, and learn to perform Action desirelessly; your authority extends only to the performance of Action; obtaining or not obtaining the Fruit of Action is a matter which is never within your control (2.47); those who perform Action believing that the giver of the fruit is the Parameśvara, and with the equable frame of mind that it is same whether or not the Fruit of the- Action is obtained, are not affected by the sin or the merit of the- Action; therefore, acquire this Equable Reason; this Equability of Reason is known as Yoga–that is, the device of performing Action without thereby committing sin; when you have learnt this Yoga, you will obtain Release notwithstanding that you may be performing Action; it is not that Action has to be abandoned in order to attain Release" etc. After the Blessed Lord had explained to Arjuna that that person whose Reason had become equable in this way, was to be called a 'Sthitaprajña' (Steady-in-Mind), (2.53), Arjuna again asked the Blessed Lord to tell him how such a Sthitaprajña behaves. Therefore, the description of the course of life of such a Sthitaprajña has been given at the end of the second chapter; and it is ultimately said that the intellectual state of such a Sthitaprajña is known as the Brāhmī state (the state of being merged in the Brahman). In short, the advice given in the Gītā to induce Arjuna to fight has been started with the description of the two Niṣṭhās, which have become acceptable to Jñānins in this world, namely, the two paths of 'abandoning Action' (Sāṃkhya) and 'performing Action" (Yoga); and the war has first been justified on the basis of the Sāṃkhya system of philosophy; but, seeing that that argument was inconclusive, the science of Realisation according to the Path of Yoga or Karma-Yoga has been started immediately afterwards; and after having mentioned that even a little observance of this Karma-Yoga is highly meritorious, the Blessed Lord has in the second chapter come to the stage of saying that in as much as the Reason which inspires the Karma is looked upon as superior to the Karma itself in the Path of Karma-Yoga, Arjuna should perform Actions after having made his Reason equable like that of a Sthitaprajña, so that he would not incur any sin. Let us now see what further questions arise. As the root of the whole of the exposition of the Gītā is in the second chapter, I have dealt with that matter somewhat at length.

The question of Arjuna at the beginning of the THIRD CHAPTER is: "if in the Path of Karma-Yoga, the Reason is superior to the Karma itself, then it will be enough if I make my Reason equable like that of a Sthitaprajña; why do you ask me to perform such a terrible act like war?". Because, saying that the Reason is superior to the Action, does not answer the question why war should be carried on, and why one should not renounce the world after making one's Reason equable. It is not that one cannot abandon Action (perform KarmaSaṃnyāsa) with an equable Reason. Then, where is the objection to an equable-minded person abandoning Action according to the Sāṃkhya Path? This question is now answered by the Blessed Lord by saying: "it is true that I have mentioned to you the two paths of Sāṃkhya and Yoga; but no man soever can entirely give up Action. So long as he is clothed in a body, Matter (prakṛti) will by its inherent nature, compel him to perform Action; and if you cannot escape this Action, which is the result of Prakṛti, it is more meritorious to equabilise and steady your mind by exercising control over the organs, and to perform all your various duties merely by the organs of Action. Therefore, go on performing Action, for if you do not do so, you will not be able even to obtain food to eat (3.3–8). Action has been created by the Parameśvara; not by man. When Brahmadeva created the universe and all created beings, he at the same time also created the 'Yajña' (sacrificial ritual), and told the created beings that they should obtain their own welfare by means of this Yajña; and as those Yajñas cannot be performed without Action (karma), therefore, Yajña is nothing but Karma. Therefore, it must be said that man and Karma have been created at the same time. But, as the sole purpose of this Karma is the Yajña, and as the Yajña is the duty of man, therefore; the fruit of this Karma does not create a bondage for man. Now it is true, that a man who has become a Jñānin has no more any duty left to be performed for his own benefit; and at the same time, he is in no way concerned with other people. But, from this it does not follow, that one should not perform Action; because, as nobody can escape Action, one comes to the necessary conclusion that such Action must now be performed desirelessly for the benefit of others, though it is not necessary to perform it for one's own selfish interests (Bhagavadgītā 3.17–19). Bearing these things in mind, Janaka and other Jñānins have engaged in Action in ancient times, and I the

Blessed Lord, am doing the same. Besides, bringing about 'lokasaṃgraha' (universal welfare), that is, putting people on the path of self-amelioration by placing before their eyes a good example in the shape of one's conduct, is one of the most important duties of Jñānins (Scients). However Knowledgeful a Jñānin may be, he does not escape the activities of Prakṛti; therefore, far from giving up Action, it is more meritorious to even lose one's life, if necessary, while performing Actions as duties according to one's own religion (dharma), (3.30–35)". Such is the advice which the Blessed Lord has given in this chapter. Seeing that the Blessed Lord had in this way placed the entire responsibility of Action on the shoulders of Prakṛti, Arjuna next asks why a man commits sin, though he has no desire to do so. In reply the Blessed Lord has said that kāma (Desire), krodha (anger), and other mental emotions forcibly stupify the mind; and that, therefore, everybody should control his mind by controlling the organs; and He has then closed the chapter. In short, after establishing the necessity of the Karma-Yoga by saying that (i) though the Reason may have become equable like that of a Sthitaprajña, no one can escape Karma and that (ii) Karma must be performed desirelessly, for universal benefit (lokasaṃgraha), if not for one's own self-interest, the Blessed Lord has by saying, "Dedicate all Actions to me" (3.30–31) given in this chapter the first glimpse (sūta uvāca) of the central principle of the Path of Devotion, namely, of performing all Actions with the idea of dedicating them to the Parameśvara.

Nevertheless, this subject-matter has not been exhausted in the third chapter, and the FOURTH CHAPTER has been started for further dealing with the same subject. In order that Arjuna should not think that the disquisition made so far was something, new, which had been invented by the Blessed Lord merely for the purpose of inducing him to fight, He has in the beginning of the fourth chapter mentioned the tradition of this Karma-Yoga, that is, of the Bhāgavata or Nārāyaṇīya religion, in the Tretāyuga. After the Blessed Lord had said to Arjuna that in the beginning of the Yuga (i.e., "ādau"), He had taught this Path of Karma-Yoga to Vivasvān, Vivasvān to Manu, and Manu to Ikṣvāku, but that as it had been lost in the interim, He had again preached the same Yoga (the Path of Karma-Yoga) to Arjuna, Arjuna rejoined by asking how the Blessed Lord could have been in existence before Vivasvān. In reply to that question, the Blessed Lord has accounted for his several incarnations by saying that He had to take those incarnations for protecting saints and destroying evil-doers and establishing the true religion; and He has justified the Karma-Yoga by saying that though He was in this way performing Action for universal welfare (lokasaṃgraha), He had not acquired or suffered for the merit or the sin of the Action, because He was not attached to the Action; and saying to Arjuna that Janaka and others had in ancient times followed that Yoga, understanding the underlying principle of it, He has advised Arjuna to do the same thing. He has here repeated the doctrine of the Mīmāṃsā school mentioned in the third chapter that "Action (karma) performed for sacrificial ritual does not create bondage"; and pointed out that (i) though throwing sesamum rice, etc., into the fire or slaughtering animals, was a kind of sacrifice, yet, it was a sacrifice of a lower order, being merely a sacrifice of wealth, and that (ii) burning all such mental emotions, as desire, anger, etc., into the fire of self-control or sacrificing all Action into the Brahman with the words, 'na mama' (i.e., 'this is not mine ') were sacrifices of a higher order; and having in this way given a more detailed and comprehensive definition of the word 'Yajña', the Blessed Lord now advises Arjuna that all Actions should be performed giving up the Hope for Fruit for the purpose of this Yajña. Because, although Actions performed for the purpose of the Yajña do not by themselves create bondage according to the Mīmāṃsā doctrine, yet, one cannot escape obtaining the fruit of the Yajña; and, therefore, if even the Yajña itself is performed desirelessly, neither the Actions performed for the purpose of the Yajña, nor the Yajña itself will create bondage. The Blessed Lord has ultimately preached that (i) the Realisation (jñāna) that all created things are located in one's self, or, in the Blessed Lord, is known as 'Equability of Reason'; that (ii) when this Realisation has come, all Actions are reduced to ashes and do not bind the doer; that (iii) "sarva karmākhilaṃ pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate", i.e., "all Action is ultimately merged in Knowledge"; that (iv) Action by itself does not create bondage, which results from Ignorance, and that (v) therefore, Arjuna should give up Ignorance; and follow the path of Karma-Yoga and stand up to fight. In short, the subject-matter of JÑĀNA. (Knowledge)[2] has here been introduced in this chapter by saying that in order to successfully follow the Path of Karma-Yoga, Knowledge in the form of Equability of Reason is necessary.

It is true that the reasons why Action should be performed, that is, the necessity of the Karma-Yoga, has been explained in the third and fourth chapters; but as, already in the second chapter, after explaining the Knowledge contained in the Sāṃkhya philosophy, the Blessed Lord has, even in the. course of the description of the Karma-Yoga, said over and over again that the Reason was superior to the Action, it now becomes necessary to explain which of these two paths is superior. Because, if one says that both the paths are of equal importance, it follows that people are free to choose whichever of the two paths they prefer, and that it is not necessary to follow only the Path of Karma-Yoga. This very doubt came into the mind of Arjuna and he has, in the beginning of the FIFTH CHAPTER, said to the Blessed Lord, "Do not mix up the two paths of Sāṃkhya and Yoga, but tell me definitely which of the two is superior, so that it will be convenient for me to act accordingly "; and the Blessed Lord has removed the doubt of Arjuna by saying that though both the paths are equally productive of Release, yet, the Path of Karma-Yoga is the better one of the two–"karma-yogo viśiṣyate", (i.e., "Karma-Yoga is the better one"—Translator.), (5.2). For further emphasising this doctrine, the Blessed Lord also says that, not only does one attain by means of Karma- Yoga the same Release which can be attained by Renunciation or by the Sāṃkhya Path, but that unless the desireless frame of mind prescribed in the Karma-Yoga is acquired, Renunciation itself is useless; and that once such a desireless frame of mind is acquired, one does not fail to attain the Brahman, notwithstanding that one may be performing Action according to the Path of Yoga. Then, where is the sense of raising a hue and cry that the Sāṃkhya Path is different from the Yoga Path? If one cannot abandon the hundreds of Actions, which one usually performs, such as, walking, speaking, seeing, hearing, smelling, etc., even if one wants to give them up, then the wisest course is not to take the trouble of abandoning Action, but to perform it with the idea of dedicating it to the Brahman. Therefore, true philosophers continue performing Actions desirelessly, and thereby ultimately acquire Peace (śānti) and Release (mokṣa). The Īśvara does not ask you either to give up Action or to perform Action. All this Action is the manifestation of Prakṛti; and as bondage is a characteristic of the Mind, the man, who performs Action after he has become Equable in Reason, that is, after he has become "sarvabhūtātmabhūtātmā", (i.e., "the Self which is identical with the Self (Ātman) of all created beings" ~Translator.), is not bound thereby. It is stated, in short, at the end of this chapter that (i) the man whose Mind has become equable towards the dog, the Cāṇḍāla, the Brahmin, the cow, the elephant, etc., and who has started performing his various activities after having realised the identity of the Ātman (Self) embodied in all created things, obtains Release in the shape of brahma-nirvāṇa wherever he is; that (ii) it is not necessary for him to go anywhere else for the purpose, or to look out for some other means for obtaining Release; and that (iii) he is always free, unbound, and Released.

The same subject-matter is continued in the SIXTH CHAPTER, and the Blessed Lord has here explained in what way that Equable Reason can be acquired by which, one can obtain success in the practice of Karma-Yoga. In the very first stanza, the Blessed Lord has expressed His firm opinion that the man who performs all Actions which fall to his share, as duties, and without entertaining the Hope of Fruit, is the true Yogin, or the true Saṃnyāsin; and that the man who sits quiet giving up the worship of the Fire (agni-hotra) etc. is not the true Saṃnyāsin. HE then goes on to explain the principle of the Independence of the Ātman by saying that whatever Action has to be performed in the shape of the control of the organs, for steadying the Mind, according to the philosophy of KarmaYoga, must be performed by oneself; and that if one does not do so, one cannot properly blame anybody else; and after this, there is in this chapter principally a description of how Yoga in the shape of the control of the organs can be acquired according to the Pātañjala-Yoga-Śāstra.

It is further stated in this chapter that it is nevertheless not enough to merely control the organs by means of religious observance (yama) restraint of the Mind (niyama), physical postures (āsana), control of the breath (prāṇāyāma), etc.; and the necessity of the Realisation of the universality of the Ātman has been emphasised in this chapter by saying that the frame of mind of the man must become Equable towards all created beings as described in the words,

sarvabhūtastham ātmānaṃ sarvabhūtāni cātmani

I.e., "all created beings are located in one's Self and one's Self is located in all created beings"—(Translator.), O

Or, in the words,

yo māṃ paśyati sarvatra sarvaṃ ca mayi paśyati

I.e., "he who sees that I the Parameśvara am everywhere, and that everything is located in me"—(Translator.).

At this juncture, Arjuna experiences the doubt that if this Yoga of Equability of Reason is not acquired in one life, it will become necessary to begin the whole thing over again in the next life, and the story will be repeated in every birth; and that on account of this recurrence in every life, it will not be possible to ever attain Release by this means. In order to remove this doubt, the Blessed Lord has explained, that nothing is wasted in the path of Karma-Yoga, that the impressions received in the previous birth are carried forward into the next birth in which the practice of Karma-Yoga can be carried on further, and that Release is ultimately obtained by gradual degrees; and He has at the end of this chapter, again given to Arjuna a clear and definite advice, that as the Path of Karma-Yoga is in this way the most superior path, and one which is gradually accessible, Arjuna should eschew the various paths of performing Action as such (i.e., without giving up the Hope of Fruit), or the practice of austerities, or the abandonment of Action after Acquisition of Knowledge, and become a Yogin, that is, one who follows the Desireless Karma-Yoga.

Some persons are of the opinion that the exposition of KarmaYoga has come to an end here, that is, at the end of the sixth chapter; that thereafter, the Blessed Lord has described the Path of Knowledge and the Path of Devotion as two 'independent' paths, that is to say, as paths which are mutually independent, or are the same in importance as the KarmaYoga, but different from it, and as such, proper to be followed as alternatives for the Path of Karma-Yoga; that the Path of Devotion has been described from the seventh to the twelfth chapters and the Path of Knowledge in the remaining six chapters; and that if the eighteen chapters of the Gītā are divided up in this way, six chapters each can. be allocated to Action (karma), Devotion (bhakti) and Knowledge (jñāna), and the Gītā becomes equally divided, amongst the three paths. But this opinion is wrong. It becomes clear from the opening stanzas of chapter V, that the question of Arjuna was (i) whether he should give up the fight having regard to the principles of the Sāṃkhya philosophy, or take part in it though he saw the terrible consequences of it in front of his eyes; and; (ii) if. so, how the sin of it could be obviated; and this doubt was not going to be satisfied by giving an ambiguous and childish reply like: "Release can be obtained both by Knowledge and by Karma-Yoga", or, " if you want it, there is also the third path of Devotion". Besides, when Arjuna was asking for definite guidance about one particular course of Action, it would be incorrect to imagine that, omniscient and clever Śrī Kṛṣṇa avoided the issue and showed him three independent and alternative courses of Action. Really speaking, the Gītā considers only the two paths of 'Renunciation' (Saṃnyāsa), and 'Energism ' (Karma-Yoga), (Bhagavadgītā 5.1); and there has been given the definite decision that out of the two, the Path of Karma- Yoga is 'the superior path (Bhagavadgītā 5.2). Devotion has nowhere been mentioned as a third independent Niṣṭhā (Path of Release). Therefore, the theory of three independent paths of Spiritual Knowledge, Action, and Devotion, is a creation of doctrine supporting commentators; and as in their opinion the Gītā considers only the means of obtaining Release, they have evidently got the idea of these three paths from the Bhāgavata (Śrīmad Bhāgavatpurāṇa 11.20.6). But these commentators have not realised that the conclusions reached in the Bhāgavata-Purāṇa are not "the same as those in the Bhagavadgītā. Even the author of the Bhāgavata accepts the theorem that Release cannot be obtained by mere Action, and that Spiritual Knowledge is a necessity.

But the Bhāgavata-Purāṇa says in addition that although Spiritual Knowledge and Desireless Action (naiṣkarmya) are both productive of Release, yet, both of them (that is to say, the desireless Karma-Yoga of the Gītā) are useless without Devotion–

naikarmyam apy acyutabhāvavarjitaṃ na śobhate jñānamalaṃ nirañjanam
  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatpurāṇa 12.12.52 and 1.2.12),

I.e., "Desireless Action unaccompanied by Devotion to the Unfallen (acyuta), does not befit pure and stainless Knowledge"—Translator.).

From this point of view, it is quite clear that the author of the Bhāgavata considers Devotion as the only true Niṣṭhā, that is, the ultimate Release-giving state. The Bhāgavata does not say that the Devotee of the Blessed Lord should not perform Action with the idea of dedicating it to the Īśvara, nor does it say that Action must be performed. The Bhāgavata says that whether one performs Desireless Action or not, these are all different varieties of the Path of Devotion (Śrīmad Bhāgavatpurāṇa 3.29.7–19); and that if there is no Devotion, all Karma-Yogas will bring a person back to worldly life, that is, into the cycle of Birth and Death (Śrīmad Bhāgavatpurāṇa 1.5.34, 35). In short, as the entire emphasis of the author of the Bhāgavata is on Devotion, he has included even the Desireless Karma-Yoga into the Path of Devotion, and maintained that Devotion is the only true Niṣṭhā. But, Devotion is not the principal subject-matter of exposition in the Gītā; and therefore, interpolating this doctrine or terminology of the Bhāgavata into the Gītā is as improper as fixing the bark of a vaṭa-tree on a pippala-tree. Saying that Release cannot he obtained unless one has Realised the Parameśvara, and that Devotion is an easy way for such Realisation, is fully acceptable to the Gītā. But the Gītā does not insist on this particular path, and says that the Spiritual Knowledge, necessary for attaining Release should be obtained by ever body by whichever path he finds easy; and the most important issue in the Gītā is whether or not one should perform Action after the Acquisition of Knowledge (Spiritual Knowledge); Therefore, the Gītā starts with the consideration of the two paths of 'taking part in worldly affairs' and 'abandoning, worldly affairs', which are both followed by the Birth-released (jivanmukta) in this world; and instead of naming the first of these two paths as 'Bhakti-Yoga' (the Device of Devotion), as has been done by the author of the Bhāgavata, the Gītā retains the terminology of the ancient Nārāyaṇīya doctrine by referring to the 'Performance of Action with the idea of dedicating it to the Parameśvara' as 'Karma-Yoga' or 'Karma-Niṣṭhā,' and to the 'Abandonment of Action after Acquisition of Knowledge as 'Sāṃkhya' or 'Jñāna-Niṣṭhā.' If one considers the matter, after accepting this terminology of the Gītā, Devotion can never become a third independent Niṣṭhā (path of Release) of the same grade as Knowledge, or Action. Because, no third position about Karma can now exist except the two affirmative and negative paths of 'performing. Action' and 'notperforming, or abandoning, Action' (Yoga and Sāṃkhya). Therefore, if one has to determine what Niṣṭhā is followed by the Devotee, one cannot decide the matter by merely considering the fact that he follows the Path of Devotion; and one has to consider whether or not he performs Action. Devotion is only a means of reaching the Parameśvara; and although Devotion may be called a 'Yoga' in the sense that it is a 'sādhana' (means), (Bhagavadgītā 14.26), yet, Devotion can never become an ultimate Niṣṭhā. If, after the Knowledge of the Parameśvara has been acquired by means of Devotion, a man continues to perform Action, he is called a 'Karma-niṣṭhā'; and if he abandons Action, he is called a 'Sāṃkhya-niṣṭhā'. And the Blessed Lord has clearly indicated his opinion in the fifth chapter, that out of these two paths, the path of performing Action is the more meritorious. But, the important objection of the School of Renunciation against Action is, that by performing Action, the Realisation of the Parameśvara is obstructed; and that Action must be abandoned, as there can be no Release unless the Knowledge of the Parameśvara has been acquired. It is stated in a general way in the fifth chapter that this objection is groundless, and that one can obtain the same Release by the Path of Action, as can be obtained by the Path of Renunciation (Bhagavadgītā 5.5). But, as this general proposition has not been fully developed in that chapter, the Blessed Lord is now dealing in the sixth chapter with the important question, namely, how the Knowledge of the Parameśvara, and ultimately Release, is obtained by Action, while Action is being performed, which question had been incompletely dealt with in the fifth chapter.

That is why, instead of saying that the Path of Devotion is an independent path, the Blessed Lord has in the beginning of the seventh chapter said to Arjuna, that,

mayyāsakta manāḥ pārtha yogaṃ yuñjan madāśrayaḥ |
asaṃśayaṃ samagraṃ māṃ yathā jñāsyasi tacchṛṇu ||
  (Bhagavadgītā 7.1).

that is, "Pārtha, listen to the way (which I am explaining to you) by which (yathā) you will undoubtedly acquire complete knowledge of Me, while you are following the Path of Yoga, that is, of Karma-Yoga, keeping your mind fixed on Me, and having surrendered yourself to Me"; and this very thing has been described in the next stanza as 'Jñāna-vijñāna' (Bhagavadgītā 7.2). The words "yogaṃ yuñjan" in the first stanza quoted above, namely, in the stanza "mayyāsaktamanāḥ", etc., which words (yogaṃ yuñjan) mean, ' while you are performing the KarmaYoga', are most important, but no commentator seems to have attached any great importance to those words. 'Yoga' is necessarily the 'Karma-Yoga' which has been described in the first six chapters; and this stanza means that 'now', that is, from the seventh chapter, the Blessed Lord is starting a description of that path or 'vidhi' by which the complete knowledge of the Blessed Lord can be acquired while the man is practising this Karma-Yoga. That is to say, this stanza has been intentionally placed at the commencement of the seventh chapter, in order to show the relation between the first six chapters and the next chapter; therefore, it is highly improper to neglect this stanza and to say that "the Path of Devotion has been described as an independent path by itself after the first six chapters". Nay; I will even say that the words 'yogaṃ yuñjan' have been intentionally used in this stanza in order that such a misinterpretation should not be made by anybody. It has been shown in the first five chapters of the Gītā, after fully explaining the necessity of Karma (Action), that the Path of Action is superior to the Path of Renunciation; and then in the sixth chapter, the means mentioned in the Pātañjala-Yoga for acquiring that control over the organs which is necessary for the Karma-Yoga, have been described. But this does not exhaust the description of Karma-Yoga. Control of the organs is a kind of exercise for the organs of Action. It is true that by this exercise, one can keep one's organs under control; but if the Desire of a man is sinful, having the control of the organs is useless; because, we see that when the Desire is sinful, many persons utilise the powers acquired by the control of the organs, for performing such sinful actions as propitiation (jāraṇa) or killing (māraṇa) etc.

Therefore, it is stated in the sixth chapter that simultaneously with controlling the organs, one must also purify one's Desire so that one Realises that,

sarvabhūtastham ātmānaṃ sarvabhūtāni cātmani,

I.e., " all created beings are located in one's self, and one's self is located in all created beings"—(Translator.), (Bhagavadgītā 6.29).

And this purification of Desire is impossible, unless one has Realised the purest form of the Parameśvara, by Realising the identity of the Brahman and the Ātman. In short, even if one has acquired the control of the organs necessary in the Path of Karma-Yoga, one does not thereby drive rasa, that is, the liking for objects of pleasure, out of the Mind. The Blessed Lord has stated already in the second chapter of the Gītā, that in order that this rasa or Desire for objects of pleasure (viṣaya-vāsanā) should go out of the Mind, one has to fully Realise the Parameśvara (Bhagavadgītā 2.59). Therefore, that means, that is, vidhi, by which this Knowledge of the Parameśvara is acquired by a man, while he is following the Path of Karma-Yoga, is being described by the Blessed Lord from the seventh chapter. From the words, "while practising the Karma-Yoga", it follows that this Knowledge has to be acquired while the Karma-Yoga is being practised, and that Karma or Action has not to be abandoned for acquiring that Knowledge; and therefore, the statement that the Paths of Devotion and of Spiritual Knowledge are two independent paths, which have been described from the seventh chapter onwards as alternatives for the Path of Karma-Yoga, is groundless. As the Karma-Yoga in the Gītā has been adopted from the Bhāgavata religion, the description of the vidhi (means) mentioned in the Karma-Yoga for the acquisition of Knowledge, is nothing but the description of the means mentioned in the Bhāgavata or the Nārāyaṇīya doctrine; and that is why Janamejaya has been told by Vaiśaṃpāyana at the end of the Śānti-parva that "the Energistic (pravṛttipara) Nārāyaṇīya doctrine, together with the incidental forms of worship, have been described in the Bhagavadgītā " (see the stanzas quoted at the beginning of the first chapter). As said by Vaiśaṃpāyana, this path also includes the vidhi (practices) relating to the Path of Renunciation; because, although the distinction between these two paths is, that in one of them, Karma has to be performed, whereas in the other, Karma has to be abandoned, yet, as the Spiritual and worldly Knowledge (jñāna-vijñāna) necessary in both is the same, the practices prescribed for acquiring Spiritual Knowledge are common to both. Therefore, in as much as, the express words "while following the Path of Karma-Yoga" have been used in the above stanza, it follows that (i) the exposition of Spiritual Knowledge (jñāna) and worldly Knowledge (vijñāna) in the seventh and subsequent chapters is principally in support of Karma-Yoga; that (ii) the practices relating to the Path of Renunciation, which have been included in that jñānavijñāna have been so included on account of the comprehensive nature of that jñāna-vijñāna, and that (iii) this jñāna-vijñāna, has not been mentioned for supporting the Sāṃkhya Path and suggesting that Karma-Yoga should be abandoned. Another thing, which has to be borne in mind, is that though the followers of the Sāṃkhya school attach importance to Spiritual Knowledge, they attach no importance whatsoever to Action (karma) or Devotion (bhakti); whereas, Devotion has been looked upon as easy and important in the Gītā. Not only is that so, but even while dealing with the subjects of Spiritual Knowledge and Devotion, Arjuna is being constantly given the advice that "therefore, you must perform Action, that is, fight" (Bhagavadgītā 8.7; 11.33; 16.24; 18.6). Therefore, one is forced to come to the conclusion that the exposition of jñāna-vijñāna in the seventh and the subsequent chapters of the Gītā is supplementary to, and in support of, the Path of Karma-Yoga mentioned in the first six chapters; and that those chapters do not contain any independent exposition of the Sāṃkhya Path or of the Path of Devotion. And when this conclusion has once been. arrived at, the Gītā cannot be divided into three mutually independent parts dealing respectively with Energism, Devotion, and Spiritual Knowledge. One also realises that the conclusion drawn by some persons from the two facts that (i) the sacred canon 'Tat-Tvam-Asi' has three parts, and that (ii) the Gītā, has eighteen chapters, that because six. times three is eighteen, the Gītā should be divided into three equal portions of six chapters each, and the first six chapters should be looked upon as dealing with 'Tvam', the second six chapters with 'Tat', and the third six chapters with 'Asi', is purely imaginary. Because, the one-sided theory that the whole of the Gītā deals only with the Acquisition of the Knowledge of the Brahman, and does not contain anything more than an exposition of the canon 'Tat-Tvam-Asi' falls to the ground as shown above.

When in this way, an explanation has been given as to why the Paths of Devotion and Knowledge have been included in the Gītā, one can easily understand the continuity between the chapters seven to seventeen inclusive, of the Gītā. It has been stated previously in the sixth chapter, that one has to consider the form of the Parameśvara, by which the Mind becomes free from love of pleasure' (rasa-varja) and equable, once from thepoint of view of the Perishable and Imperishable (kṣarākṣara), and again from the point of view of the Body and the Ātman; and that, by such consideration, one arrives at the ultimate conclusion that " whatever is in the Body (piṇḍa), is also in the Cosmos (brahmāṇḍa); and the same subjects now appear in the Gītā. But, when one considers the form of the Parameśvara in this way, one sees that it is sometimes perceptible (cognisable by the organs) and sometimes imperceptible; and then, one has, in the course of this consideration, also to consider which of these two forms is the superior form, how the inferior form arises out of the superior form, and many other similar questions. One has also now to decide, whether this worship of the Parameśvara, which has to be performed in order to fully Realise the Parameśvara and to make one's Reason steady, equable, and Self-devoted (ātma-niṣṭha), should be the worship of the perceptible form or of the imperceptible form; and one has to explain why although there is only one Parameśvara, one comes across diversity in the perceptible universe. There is no wonder that eleven chapters were required to explain all these subjects in a systematic way. I do not say that the Gītā does not contain any exposition of Devotion and of Spiritual Knowledge. All that I say is that (i) the practice of looking upon Energism, Devotion, and Spiritual Knowledge as three independent and equivalent Niṣṭhās, and making an equal division of eighteen chapters of the Gītā amongst these three, as on a partition between the members of a joint family, is not proper; that (ii) the Gītā supports only one path, namely, the Path of Karma-Yoga based on Knowledge, in which Devotion is the most important factor; and that (iii) the exposition in the Bhagavadgītā of Sāṃkhya philosophy, of Spiritual and worldly Knowledge, and of Devotion has been made only incidentally, for supplementing and supporting the exposition of the Path of Karma-Yoga, and not for dealing with those subjects as in- dependent subjects. Let us now see how, on the basis of this conclusion, the subject-matter of Spiritual and worldly Knowledge (jñānavijñāna) has been divided amongst the various chapters, for supplementing and for emphasising the exposition of the Karma-Yoga.

In the SEVENTH CHAPTER, the consideration of the perishable and the imperishable world (kṣarākṣara), that is, of the entire Cosmos, has been started; and the Blessed Lord has, in the first place, explained the nature of the imperceptible or imperishable Parabrahman, by saying that this entire universe, which is made up of Spirit (puruṣa) and Matter (prakṛti), consists of "My superior and inferior (parāpara) forms, and that those who worship Me, Realising this My imperceptible form which is beyond Māyā, acquire an Equable Reason (samabuddhi), and are given an excellent final state by Me"; and He has then described His own form by saying that, "all deities, all created things, all Yajñas, all Action, and the Absolute Self are Myself, and there is nothing in the world except Me ". Then, as Arjuna has in the beginning of the EIGHTH CHAPTER asked what is meant by 'adhyātma', 'adhiyajña', 'adhidaiva' and 'adhibhūta ', the Blessed Lord has in reply explained to him the meanings of those words, and said that, "I do not neglect that man who has realised this My form"; and He has then gone on to briefly explain what the imperishable or immortal Principle of the world is; when and how the entire world is destroyed; and what states are ultimately reached respectively by those who Realise and understand the true form of the Parameśvara, and by those who merely perform desire- prompted Action, without acquiring Knowledge. In the NINTH CHAPTER the same subjectmatter is continued, and it is said that Realising by means of Devotion, the tangible form of the intangible Parameśvara, which has in this way filled the entire universe, and surrendering oneself to Him wholly and solely, is the easy or royal and practically experienceable path of Realising the Brahman; and that that very path is also known as the 'king of all cults' and the 'king of all mysticisms.' Nevertheless, the Blessed Lord does not forget to mention every now and then in these three chapters, that the person who is following the Path of Spiritual Knowledge or the Path of Devotion, must continue performing Action, which is the most important principle in the Path of Karma-Yoga. For instance, it is stated in the eighth chapter, that "tasmāt sarveṣu kāleṣu mām anusmara yudhya ca", i.e., "therefore, continue to keep Me before your mind at all times, and fight" (8.7); and in the ninth chapter, that "by dedicating to Me all Action whatsoever, you will be free from the meritorious or evil effects of the Action" (9.27, 28). After explaining to Arjuna in the TENTH CHAPTER the statement made by Him earlier, that "the entire Cosmos has sprung from Me, and is My form", by saying that every one of the excellent things in the world is an incarnation of the Blessed Lord, and giving many examples, the Blessed Lord has, at the desire of Arjuna, actually shown to him in the ELEVENTH CHAPTER, His Cosmic form, and proved to him the truth of the position that the Parameśvara is All-pervading, by placing before his eyes such His Cosmic Form. But, immediately after having satisfied Arjuna in this way, by actually showing him His Cosmic Form, that the true doer was the Parameśvara, He has said to him: "I am the true doer and you are merely a tool; therefore, give up all doubts, and fight" (Bhagavadgītā 11.33). Although it has been proved in this way, that there is only one Parameśvara in the world, yet, in as much as there are such statements in various places as: "although I am imperceptible, fools look upon me as perceptible" (7.24); "yad akṣaraṃ vedavido vadanti" (8.11), i.e., "Him, Whom the knowers of the Vedas, refer to as the Imperishable"; "It is the Intangible,, which is also known as the Inexhaustible" (8.21); "not Realising My true form, fools believe that I have taken up a human form" (9.11); "among all the cults (vidyā), the cult of the Absolute Self is the most excellent" (10.32); and, as said by Arjuna, "tvam akṣaraṃ sadasat tat paraṃ yat" (11.37), (i.e., "You are the sat (Real), and the asat (Unreal), and the akṣara (Imperishable) which is beyond both sat and asat"~Translator.), which, statements mean that the imperceptible form of the Parameśvara is the most excellent form, Arjuna, in the beginning of the TWELFTH CHAPTER, asks the Blessed. Lord the question whether the worship of the Parameśvara which has to be performed, should be the worship of the perceptible form or of the imperceptible form. To this, the Blessed Lord replies that the perceptible form described in the ninth chapter is the easier one to worship; and after describing the state of the highest Devotee of the Blessed Lord as being similar to that of the Sthitaprajña, described in the second chapter, He closes this chapter.

Although it is seen in this way, that it is not possible to divide the Gītā. into three independent portions dealing with Energism, Devotion, and Spiritual Knowledge, yet, some people think that it is easy to divide the Spiritual and worldly Knowledge described from the seventh chapter into the two divisions of 'Devotion' and 'Knowledge'; and they say that the second division of six chapters deals with Devotion. But, anybody will realise after only a little thought, that this opinion is wrong; because, the seventh chapter starts with the Spiritual and worldly Knowledge of the perishable and the imperishable world, and not with Devotion; and if it is argued that the subject-matter of Devotion has come to an end with the twelfth chapter, then we find statements in different places in the subsequent chapters preaching Devotion, such as, "those who do not Realise My form by Intelligence, should worship Me, relying on the statements of others" (Bhagavadgītā 13.25); "that man who offers me unadulterated Devotion, reaches the sphere of the Brahman" (14.26); "that man who Realises the form of the Puruṣottama, only offers Devotion to Me" (Bhagavadgītā 15.19), and ultimately in the eighteenth chapter, "give up all other religions and worship Me" (Bhagavadgītā 18.66). Therefore, it cannot be said that the advice to follow the Path of Devotion is contained only in the second division of six chapters. In the same way, if the Blessed Lord had intended to say that Devotion stood on a different footing from Spiritual Knowledge, then He would not have said "I am now explaining to you that same Spiritual and worldly knowledge" at the commencement of the seventh chapter (7.2), that is to say, at the commencement of the second division of six chapters which, according to these objectors, deals with Devotion, after having introduced the subject-matter of Knowledge in the fourth chapter (4.34–37). It is true that the 'king of cults' (rāja-vidyā) or the 'king of mysticisms' (rāja-guhya), which is the actually realisable (pratyakṣāvagamya) Path, of Devotion, has been mentioned in the subsequent ninth chapter; but at the very commencement of that chapter, there is a statement that: "I am explaining to you Spiritual Knowledge side by side with worldly knowledge" (9.1). It, "therefore, follows that the subject-matter of Devotion has been included in the Gītā in the subject-matter of Spiritual Knowledge. In the tenth chapter, the Blessed Lord has described his own Manifestations (vibhūti); but this very 'thing has been referred to by Arjuna as 'adhyātma' in the commencement of the eleventh chapter (11.1); and, as has been stated above, we find several statements that the imperceptible form is superior to the perceptible form, intermixed here and there with the descriptions of the perceptible form of the Parameśvara. When, having regard to these statements, Arjuna asks in the commencement of the twelfth chapter whether the worship to be performed is the worship of the Perceptible or of the Imperceptible, the Blessed Lord has stated in reply, that the worship of the Perceptible, that is to say, Devotion, was the easier course; and immediately thereafter in the thirteenth chapter, He commences the description of ' Knowledge' (jñāna), and of the Body (kṣetra) and the Ātman (kṣetrajña); and He also says at the commencement of the fourteenth chapter that: "paraṃ bhūyaḥ pravakṣyāmi jñānānāṃ jñānaṃ uttamam" (14.1), i.e., "I am again describing to you completely that same Spiritual and worldly Knowledge", as was stated by Him at the commencement of the seventh chapter; and even while explaining this Knowledge, the thread of Devotion is kept running in the texture. From this it follows, that the Blessed Lord did not intend to deal with Spiritual Knowledge and Devotion individually and independently, and that both these matters are woven together in the exposition of the Spiritual and worldly Knowledge (jñāna-vijñāna) begun in the seventh chapter. That Devotion is something distinct and Spiritual Knowledge is also something distinct, is a stupid theory which has been started by the advocates of those respective paths; that is not the opinion of the Gītā. The Knowledge of the form of the Parameśvara, which has to be acquired by means of meditation on the Absolute Self in the Path of the worship of the Imperceptible (the Path of Knowledge), is also essential in the Path of Devotion; but in the worship of the Perceptible (the Path of Devotion), this Knowledge can, in the beginning, be taken for granted by means of Faith from others (13.25); and that is why the Path of Devotion is actually realisable and ordinarily pleasant (9.2) for everybody, and the Path of Knowledge (or the worship of the Imperceptible) is difficult (12.5); but, the Gītā makes no other distinction between these two paths. The ideal in the Path of Karma-Yoga, namely, making the Reason (buddhi) equable after acquiring the Knowledge of the- Parameśvara, is reached by both these paths. Therefore, the worship of the Perceptible and the worship of the Imperceptible are both equally acceptable to the Blessed Lord; yet, as even the Jñānin needs to perform worship to some extent or other, the Blessed Lord has said, that the devout Jñānin is the most excellent one among the four varieties of Devotees (Bhagavadgītā 7.17); and He has in that way eliminated the conflict between the Path of Devotion and the Path of Knowledge. While the description of Spiritual and worldly Knowledge is going on, it is, in any case, inevitable that there should be a special reference to the worship of the Perceptible in one chapter and to the worship of the Imperceptible in another chapter as occasion arises. But, in order that this should not give rise to the misunderstanding that these two matters are distinct, from each other, the Blessed Lord has not forgotten to say that the perceptible form is inferior to the imperceptible form, while describing His perceptible form, and to say that Devotion is essential, while describing His imperceptible form. Nevertheless, as three or four chapters have been used. up in describing the Cosmic Form and the Manifestations of the Blessed Lord, there is no objection to these three or four chapters (and not to a division of six chapters) being referred to as 'the Path of Devotion' in a comprehensive way, if someone prefers to do so. But in any case, this can never mean that Devotion and Spiritual Knowledge have been distinguished, from each other in the Gītā, and that these two paths have been described as INDEPENDENT paths. In short, in order to acquire the Equability of Reason which is the most important factor in the Karma-Yoga, one must acquire the KNOWLEDGE of the all-pervasive form of the Parameśvara, whether such Knowledge is acquired by the worship of the Perceptible, or of the Imperceptible; and there is no distinction between the two except that of facility. It must, therefore, be borne in mind that this is the sum and substance of the whole of this argument; and that the whole of the portion of the Gītā from the seventh to the seventeenth chapter has been given only one name in the Gītā, namely, 'jñāna-vijñāna' or 'adhyātma'.

After the physical eyes of Arjuna had got the actual experience that the Parameśvara occupies and pervades the whole of the BRAHMĀṆḌA (Cosmos), that is to say, the perishable and the imperishable universe, by having seen the Cosmic Form of the Parameśvara, the Blessed Lord explains, in the THIRTEENTH CHAPTER, the doctrine of the Body and the Ātman, namely, that the same Parameśvara occupies the PIṆḌA (Body), that is to say, the Body of man, or the kṣetra, in the shape of the Ātman; and that the Knowledge of this Ātman, that is to say, of this kṣetrajña, is also the Knowledge of the Parameśvara.

Having first described the Paramātman, that is, the Parabrahman, on the authority of the Upaniṣads by the words "anādi mat paraṃ brahma" etc., it is shown later on that the same subject-matter of the Body and the Ātman has been included in the Sāṃkhya exposition of 'Prakṛti' (Matter) and 'Puruṣa' (Spirit); and it is ultimately said that he who Realises the difference between Prakṛti and Puruṣa, and Realises the all-pervading Paramātman, with 'jñāna-cakṣu' (Spiritual eyes) is RELEASED. But even in this, the thread of Action has been kept in the texture, by saying, "everything is done by Matter (prakṛti), and the Ātman is not the doer, and by Realising this, Action (karma) does not create bondage" (13. 29); and the thread of Devotion is kept in the texture, by saying "dhyānenātmani paśyanti" (13. 24), (i.e., "see the Ātman by meditation" ~Translator.). In the FOURTEENTH CHAPTER, the subject of this Jñāna is continued, and there is a description as to how, although there is only one Ātman or Parameśvara, diversity arises in the world as a result of the difference of the sattva, rajas and tamas constituents of Prakṛti, according to Sāṃkhya philosophy; and it is stated that, he who realises that these are the activities of Matter (prakṛti), and that he is not the doer, and who serves the Parameśvara by Devotion, is the true Released and Triguṇātīta (beyond the three constituents); and in reply to the question of Arjuna, the state of the Triguṇātīta is described in the end in the same way as was the state of Sthitaprajña and the Devotee. In the FIFTEENTH CHAPTER, there is in the beginning a reference to the description of the Parameśvara as a Tree, which is to be found in Smṛti texts, and it is stated that what is called the 'unfoldment of Prakṛti' in Sāṃkhya philosophy is nothing else but that Pipal (aśvattha) Tree; and at the end, Arjuna is told that by worshipping the Puruṣottama (the Absolute puruṣa), Who is beyond the Perishable and the Imperishable, man is gradually Released; and that Arjuna should do the same thing. In the SIXTEENTH CHAPTER, it is said that men are divided into those possessing Divine wealth and those possessing ungodly wealth, in the same way as there arises diversity in the world as a result of the different constituents of Matter (prakṛti); and there is a description of how they act respectively (what their Karma is), and what goal is ultimately respectively reached by them. The SEVENTEENTH CHAPTER contains an Exposition, in reply to a question of Arjuna, of how the diversity resulting from "the different constituents of three-constituented Prakṛti is also to be seen in devotion, charitable gifts, sacrificial ritual, austerity etc.; and in the end, the word 'tat' in 'Om-Tat-Sat', the symbol of the Brahman, has been explained as meaning 'Action performed desirelessly'; and 'sat' as meaning 'Action, which, though good, has been performed desirefully'; and it is explained that this common Symbol pf the Brahman also supports the Path of Karma-Yoga. In short, the summary of these eleven chapters is, that there is only one Parameśvara in the world, whether one Realises Him by seeing. His Cosmic Form or by one's Spiritual eyes; that He is the Ātman in the Body, as also the Imperishable. within the Perishable universe; that He pervades the visible world, and is also outside or beyond that world; that although He is One, one comes across diversity or difference in the visible world as a result of the difference in the constituents of Prakṛti; that as a result of this, allusion (Māyā) or of this difference in the constituents of Matter, there are many differences or divisions in Knowledge, Faith, Austerity, Sacrificial Ritual, Steadiness, Charity, as also among men; and that, man should Realise the Unity in this diversity and should equabilise and steady his Reason by worshipping that One and Permanent Principle–whether that worship is of a perceptible object or of an imperceptible object–and should with such desireless, sāttvika, or equable Reason, perform all the activities which befall him according to his status in life, as mere duties and nothing more. As I have exhaustively dealt with this jñāna-vijñāna in the former chapters of this book, that is, of this Gītā-Rahasya, I have not given a more exhaustive summary of the eleven chapters–from the seventh to the seventeenth chapters–in this chapter. As my present object is only to consider the continuity between the various chapters of the Gītā, I have given here only that portion which is necessary for that purpose.

In as much as the Reason is considered superior to the Action in the Karma-Yoga, the Blessed Lord has started by explaining to Arjuna what is meant by Jñāna-Vijñāna, that is, the Realisation of the unity of the Ātman in all created beings, or the all-pervasiveness of the Parameśvara, which (Realisation) is necessary for making the Reason pure and Equable; and He has so far explained how this Knowledge is impressed on the heart as a result of the worship of the Perceptible or the Imperceptible, according to one's intellectual capacity; and how the Reason acquires stability and equability, and Release is thereby reached without abandoning Action. This subjectmatter has been considered in the light of the Perishable and the Imperishable and of the Body and the Ātman.

Nevertheless, the Blessed Lord has said that after the Reason has become equable in this way, it is better to perform Action, while life lasts, for the benefit of the world, and giving up the Hope of Fruit (phalāśā), rather than abandoning Action (Bhagavadgītā 5.2). Therefore, the stage of Asceticism described in the Smṛti texts finds no place in the Karma-Yoga; and as Arjuna felt a doubt that there was likely to be a conflict between this Karma-Yoga and the Manu Smṛti and other Smṛti texts, he has, in the Commencement of the EIGHTEENTH CHAPTER, asked the Blessed Lord for an explanation of the difference between Tyāga (Abandonment) and Saṃnyāsa (Renunciation). To this the Blessed Lord has replied that as the etymological meaning of the word 'Saṃnyāsa' is 'to leave' and as the Hope of Fruit is left in the Karma-Yoga, though Karma is not left, Karma-Yoga is essentially a 'Saṃnyāsa'; because, although one does not take up the robes of a mendicant and go about begging in the Karma-Yoga, yet, the essence of Saṃnyāsa (Renunciation) or Vairagya (indifference to the world), according to the Smṛtis, is making the mind desireless; and that essence is to be found in the Path of Karma-Yoga. Here, however, another doubt arises, namely: when the Hope of Fruit has been abandoned, the hope of acquiring heaven also does not remain; and therefore, there does not remain any more the necessity of performing the sacrificial ritual etc., which has been enjoined by the Śrutis.

Therefore, the Blessed Lord has definitely advised that in as much as these Actions have the effect of purifying the Mind, one must perform them along with other Actions, though with a desireless frame of mind, and so keep going the cycle of sacrificial ritual for universal benefit. When- in this way all the questions of Arjuna had been answered, the Blessed Lord has dealt with the sāttvika, rājasa and tāmasa divisions into which all of the following things, namely, Knowledge, Action, Doer, Reason, Steadiness, and Happiness- fall according to the different constituents of Matter, and He has in this way finished the subject-matter of the diversity of these constituents. Then, after having explained that out of these, the desireless Action, the desireless Doer, the unattached Reason (anāsakta-buddhi), the happiness arising out of NonAttachment and the Realisation of the Unity of the Ātman, arising out of the Realisation of the principle of "avibhaktaṃ vibhakteṣu." (i.e., " the unity in the diversity "–-Translator.) are sāttvika, and most excellent, the Blessed Lord has justified the arrangement of the four castes on the basis of the same principle, and said that man becomes Accomplished (kṛtakṛtya) in this world, and acquires Peace and Release only by continually performing as duties and desirelessly, all the various Actions, which befall him according to the arrangement of the four castes; and He has further explained to Arjuna that as is an inherent quality of Matter (prakṛti), and one cannot escape it, even if one wants to abandon it, lie should surrender himself to the Parameśvara believing that He is the doer as also the one Who causes things to be done, and perform all Actions desirelessly; that the Blessed Lord is that Parameśvara; and that Arjuna should put faith in Him and worship Him, and He would redeem him from all sins. And having in this way, definitely prescribed the Path of Devotion, the Blessed Lord brings to a close the Activistic (pravṛttipara) religion mentioned in the Gītā. In short, the advice in the Gītā starts with the consideration of the two paths of Sāṃkhya and Karma-Yoga, which had been brought into vogue by learned people after deeply meditating on worldly life and the life after death; and the Path of Karma-Yoga which has been declared to be the superior one of the two, has also been finally advocated in the eighteenth chapter, that is, at the end of the Gītā, after having described in the sixth chapter, the Pātañjala-Yoga necessary for making it (Karma-Yoga) successful, and described in the subsequent eleven chapters the means (vidhi), by which Release is ultimately obtained as a result of the Acquisition of the Knowledge of the Parameśvara while following it, by giving an exhaustive description of the Knowledge relating to the Body (piṇḍa) and the Cosmos (brahmāṇḍa). And it was only when Arjuna had heard this justification made by the Blessed Lord, of the excellence of this Yoga or 'Device' of performing all

Actions, for universal benefit, according to one's own status in life, looking upon them as duties merely, and with the idea of dedicating them to the Parameśvara, without in any way thereby prejudicing the benefit of the Ātman in the shape of Release, that he gave up the idea of renouncing the world and becoming a mendicant; and by his own free will–that is, not because the Blessed Lord had said so, but because he had fully understood the science of the Doable and the Not-Doable–prepared himself for the fight. The Gītā was commenced to be preached for the purpose of inducing Arjuna to fight, and the Gītā also ends in the same way (Bhagavadgītā 18.73).

From the continuity of the eighteen chapters of the Gītā which has been mentioned above, it will be seen that the Gītā is not a pot-pourri of three independent Niṣṭhās of Action, Devotion, and Spiritual Knowledge, nor a blanket made up by sewing together pieces of linen, silk, and embroidery; but that this very fine and costly texture in the shape of the Gītā, which bears the name of 'Karma-Yoga', has been woven from beginning to end with "a mind, which was fully engrossed in Yoga", after the threads of cotton, silk and embroidery had been properly placed in their respective places. It is true that this method of exposition is somewhat looser than a strictly scientific method, because it is catechismal; but when one realises that by such a conversational exposition, the barren- ness of a scientific exposition has been obviated, and that the Gītā has become replete with easiness and affectionateness, no one will be ever so little sorry, that the insipid block system of 'reason' and 'conclusion' followed in a scientific exposition, which appeals only to the intelligence, has been avoided. It will likewise be evident from the above disquisition, that though the system of exposition followed in the Gītā is conversational, that is, Paurāṇic, yet, there is no difficulty on that account in the way of applying to it all the critical tests of the Mīmāṃsā school, and thereby drawing the conclusion of. the Gītā. If one considers the COMMENCEMENT of the Gītā, it will be seen that the Gītā has been enunciated with the idea of preaching the Activistic Path of Karma-Yoga, with the help of the Vedānta-Śāstra, to Arjuna, who had come out to fight according to the religion of a warrior, after he had got involved in the discrimination between the Moral and the Immoral; and it has been shown by me already in the first chapter, that the CONCLUSION (upasaṃhāra) and the result (phala) of the Gītā is also to the same effect, that is to say, Activistic. I have shown that the advice given in the Gītā to Arjuna. contains at least a dozen times in so many words, and indirectly innumerable times, the injunction "Fight," that is, "perform Action" (this is, abhyāśa); and as there is no work in. Sanskrit literature other than the Gītā which preaches Karma-Yoga (this is, apūrvatā), the fact that the Gītā supports the Karma-Yoga is all the more firmly established by the two Mīmāṃsā tests of ABHYĀŚA and APŪRVATĀ. Out of the various tests prescribed by the Mīmāṃsā school for determining the conclusion of a book, only two remain to be considered with reference to the Gītā, namely, ARTHAVĀDA and UPAPATTI. With reference to them, it has become quite clear from the individual consideration of these questions in the various previous chapters, as also from the reference to the arrangement of the chapters of the Gītā made in this chapter, that 'Karma-Yoga' is the only subject which has been dealt with in the Gītā. Therefore, even if all the tests laid down by the Mīmāṃsā school for determining the import of a book are applied to the Gītā, it becomes clear beyond all doubt, that Karma-Yoga based on Spiritual Knowledge, in which the highest place is given to Devotion, is the subject-matter dealt with in the Gītā. There is also no doubt that all other imports which have been ascribed to the Gītā are merely doctrine supporting; but although these alleged imports are doctrinesupporting, yet, unless I explain how it was possible to place these doctrine-supporting interpretations on the Gītā–and especially the one in support of Saṃnyāsa (Renunciation)–the discussion of these doctrine-supporting interpretations is not exhausted. I will, therefore, briefly consider how it was possible for these doctrine-supporting commentators to interpret the Gītā as being in support of Saṃnyāsa, and finish this chapter.

Our philosophers have laid down the doctrine that as man is a rational animal, his principal duty or goal (puruṣārtha) is to discern the essential principle underlying the Body and the Cosmos; and this is what is known as "Release" in religion. Nevertheless, having regard to the usual activities of the visible world, it has been laid down by our Śāstras, that this goal of mankind is four-fold, that is, it consists of duty (dharma), wealth (artha), desire (kāma), and Release (mokṣa). As has been mentioned before, the word 'dharma' (duty) is to be understood here as meaning worldly, social, and moral duty. When the goal of mankind has in this way been considered to be four-fold, the question whether these four parts of it are or are not mutually promotive, naturally arises. Although there may be a verbal difference about the doctrine that there is no

Release unless a man has acquired the KNOWLEDGE of that Principle which pervades both the Body and the Cosmos, by whatever means such Knowledge has been acquired, yet, such difference of opinion is not fundamental. At any rate, this doctrine has been adopted into the Gītā religion. The Gītā also fully accepts the doctrine that if one wishes to acquire the two parts, namely, 'wealth' and 'desire', of that goal, that has to be done according to moral principles. The only thing, therefore, which remains, is to decide the mutual relationship between dharma (that is, the worldly duties pertaining to the four castes), and Release. All shades of opinion accept the position that there can be no Release unless the Mind (citta) has been first purified by means of dharma. A considerable amount of time is taken up in this purification of the Mind (citta). Therefore, even considering the matter from the point of view of Release, it follows that worldly life has got to be gone through consistently with 'dharma' in the period of time before the purification of the Mind (Manu-Smṛti 6.35–37). 'Saṃnyāsa' means 'giving up', and if a man has not successfully led his worldly life with the help of 'dharma', what has he to give up? or, in other words, how can that 'hapless fellow' (karanṭā) who cannot properly attend to his worldly life (prapañca), properly attend to the highest benefit (paramārtha)?, (Dāsabodha 12.1.1–10 and 12.8.21–31). Because, whether the object relates to this worldly life or to the highest benefit, hard labour, firmness of mind, fortitude, and other similar qualities are required for achieving it; and it is quite clear that a man who does not possess these qualities will not be able to achieve any goal whatsoever. But though some persons accept this position, yet, they say that when a man has acquired the Knowledge of the Ātman by continued effort and by control of the mind, he begins to look upon all worldly activities in the shape of the enjoyment of the objects of pleasure as insipid; and, just as a serpent casts off the skin which has become useless to it, so also does the Jñānin give up all worldly objects of pleasure, and become steeped in the contemplation of the form of the Parameśvara (Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad 4.4.7). As this path of leading one's life gives the highest importance to Spiritual Knowledge (jñāna) after the abandonment of worldly affairs, it is called the Path of Knowledge or the Sāṃkhya Path; or, because it consists of the abandonment of all worldly affairs, it is called the Path of Renunciation (saṃnyāsa). But the Gītā religion says to the contrary, that not only is dharma necessary for the purification of the Mind, but it is necessary to continue doing the same Actions, merely as duties, and as part of one's religion, and desirelessly, and for the good of others, even afterwards, that is, after the purification of the Mind, although worldly activities in the shape of enjoyment of objects of pleasure may become unnecessary for one's own benefit. If a Jñānin does not do so, there will remain nobody who can serve as an example for others, and the world will come to an end. No one can escape Action in this world of Action, and if the Mind (buddhi) has become desireless, no action which is performed obstructs Release. Therefore, it is the duty also of Jñānins, not to give up worldly life, but to continue worldly activities, so long as life lasts, with an apathetic frame of mind.

This path of leading one's life which has been preached in the Gītā, is known as the Path of Karma (Karma-niṣṭhā) or KarmaYoga. But although the Karma-Yoga has in this way been proved to be the most excellent way of leading one's life in the Gītā, it has nowhere vilified the Path of Renunciation, but has on the other hand stated that it is productive of Release. And it is quite clear, that the Blessed Lord could not condemn as unacceptable that path which was followed in the commencement of the world by Sanatkumāra and others, and later on by Śuka, Yājñavalkya and others. Considering worldly affairs as sweet or as insipid, depends to a certain extent on a man's inherent nature, resulting from the previous prārabdha (commenced) Karma; and it has been stated before that in spite of a man's having acquired Knowledge, he cannot escape suffering for that Karma which is prārabdha. Therefore, if a Jñānin is filled with a sincere disgust for worldly life and renounces the world, as a result of such an inherent nature, which results from his prārabdha karma, there is no sense in finding fault with him. The perfect man (siddha) whose Reason has become unattached (niḥsaṅga) and pure, as a result of the Realisation of the Ātman, at least places before the eyes of people, in his own form, an example of the highest purity of human intelligence, and of the immensity of human strength involved in keeping under control the most uncontrollable mental emotions which are naturally entranced by objects of pleasure, if he does nothing else; and such a performance is no mean performance from the point of view of universal welfare (lokasaṃgraha). This accounts for the respect in the public mind for the Path of Renunciation; and that reason has also been accepted by the Gītā from the point of view of Release. But when one does not merely consider 'inherent nature' or 'prārabdha karma', but considers scientifically how a Jñānin, who has acquired complete Freedom of the Ātman, should thereafter lead his life in the world of Action, the Path of the Abandonment of Action is seen to be inferior in merit; and one has to draw the conclusion drawn by the Gītā, that the Path of Karma-Yoga followed in the commencement of the world by Marīci and. others and later on by Janaka and others, must be followed by Jñānins in the world, for universal welfare. Because, it now logically follows that Jñānins must perform the work of keeping going the universe which has been created by the Parameśvara; and as in this Path of Karma-Yoga, the power of Jñāna is added to the power of Karma without any conflict, it is seen to be superior to the pure Sāṃkhya Path.

When one considers what the main difference between the two paths of Sāṃkhya and Karma-Yoga is, we arrive at. the equation SĀṂKHYA + NIṢKĀMA-KARMA = KARMA- YOGA; and, as has been stated by Vaiśaṃpāyana, consideration of the Sāṃkhya-Niṣṭhā is easily included in the consideration of the Activistic Karma-Yoga advocated by the Gītā (Śriman Mahābhārata Śān. 348.53); and that is how the commentators on the Gītā who support the Path of Renunciation have found it easy to claim that the Gītā advocates the Sāṃkhya or the Saṃnyāsa. Path. If one neglects those stanzas in the Gītā which prove that Action is meritorious and which preach Action; or, if one passes a remark on one's own responsibility that they are merely an 'arthavāda', that is, incidentally laudatory; or, if by some other device the factor of niṣkāma-karma (Desireless- Action) is subtracted from the abovementioned equation, the same equation is converted into Sāṃkhya = Karma-Yoga; and it becomes easy to say that the Gītā supports the Sāṃkhya Path. But, such interpretations are totally inconsistent with the beginning (upakrama) and the conclusion (upasaṃhāra) of the Gītā; and saying that Karma-Yoga is inferior and that Sāṃkhya is the chief subject-matter of exposition in the Gītā is, as I have clearly shown in many places in this book, as unreasonable as calling the owner of a house a guest and calling the guest the owner; and, in the course of my exposition, I have also refuted the theories that only Vedānta, or only Devotion, or only Pātañjala-Yoga, has been advocated by the Gītā. What is there which cannot be found in the Gītā? The Gītā has adopted something or other from the various important paths prescribed in the Vedic religion for obtaining Release; and even then, the true mystic import of the Gītā is something which is quite different from all the paths according to the rule "bhūtabhṛn na ca bhūtastho" (Bhagavadgītā 9.5), (that is, "supports all created things, and yet is not in them" ~Translator.). The doctrine that there is no Release if there is no Knowledge, which pertains to the Path of Renunciation, that is, to the Upaniṣads, is acceptable to the Gītā; but, as that proposition has been tacked on to the proposition of Desireless Action, the Bhāgavata doctrine in the Gītā easily includes the Path of Asceticism.

Nevertheless, instead of interpreting the words–'saṃnyāsa' or 'vairagya' as meaning the Abandonment of Action, the Gītā says that true vairagya (Abandonment) or true saṃnyāsa (Renunciation) lies in the Abandonment of the Hope of Fruit, and lays down the ultimate doctrine that the Desireless Karma-Yoga is better than the Karma-Saṃnyāsa of the Upaniṣads. The Gītā also accepts the doctrine of the orthodox Mīmāṃsā school that if sacrificial ritual is observed merely for the purpose of the sacrifice, it does not create bondage. But, if the word 'Yajña' (sacrifice) is taken in a comprehensive meaning, all Actions performed after abandoning the Hope of Fruit are a great 'Yajña' in themselves; and the Gītā has, by taking that comprehensive meaning, amplified that doctrine by saying that performing all Actions according to the duties enjoined on the four castes, continually, and desirelessly, is the highest duty of mankind.

The Gītā has considered the Sāṃkhya theory regarding the creation of the world as superior to the Upaniṣad theory; nevertheless, the Gītā has not stopped with Matter (prakṛti) and Spirit (puruṣa) according to Sāṃkhya philosophy, but has taken the chain of the creation of the universe right to the eternal Paramātman of the Upaniṣads. The Gītā, has also described the doctrine (vidhi) of the Nārāyaṇīya or Bhāgavata religion consisting of the worship of Vāsudeva, namely, that the Knowledge of the Absolute Self should be acquired by Faith and Devotion, as it is more difficult to acquire it by Intelligence. But, even in this matter the Gītā does not merely copy the Bhāgavata religion; and, discarding the theory of the Bhāgavata religion regarding the birth of the Personal Self (Jīva) from Vasudeva, as has been done in the Vedānta-Sūtras, it has completely harmonised the doctrines of the Bhāgavata religion relating to Devotion with the doctrines of the Upaniṣads relating to the Body and the Ātman. The only remaining Path of Release is the Pātañjala-Yoga. But, although the Gītā, does not say that the Pātañjala-Yoga is the principal duty of man, yet, since the control of the organs is necessary for making the Reason equable, the Gītā to that extent recommends the practices of yama, (religious observance) niyama (restraint of the Mind), āsana (bodily postures), etc., mentioned in the Pātañjala-Yoga. In short, all the various means mentioned in the Vedic religion for obtaining Release have been to some extent or other referred to and prescribed in the Gītā, as occasion arose, in considering the Karma-Yoga in all its bearings. If all these injunctions are considered independent of each other, there arise inconsistencies; and it appears that the various doctrines mentioned in the Gītā, are mutually contradictory; and this impression is fortified by the doctrine-supporting commentaries of various commentators; but, when one lays down the proposition, as has been done by me, that the principal object of the Gītā is to harmonise Spiritual Knowledge with Devotion, and to support the Karma-Yoga on that basis, all these apparent inconsistencies disappear; and one cannot but admire the super-human wisdom of the Gītā in bringing about a fusion between Spiritual Knowledge, Devotion, and Karma-Yoga in a most comprehensive way. Just as the form of the Ganges does not change whatever the number of rivers which come and join it, so also is the case with the Gītā. Whatever it may contain, the KarmaYoga ultimately remains the principal subject-matter of the Gītā.

But, though the Karma-Yoga is thus the principal subject of the Gītā, yet, as the essence of the philosophy of Release has been beautifully described in it, side by side with the Philosophy of Action, the Blessed Lord has said to Arjuna, in the beginning of the Anugītā, that this Gītā religion, which was propounded to enable him to properly discriminate between the Doable and the Not-Doable is fully competent to place the Brahman within one's reach–

sa hi dharmaḥ suparyāpto brahmaṇaḥ padavedane
  (Śriman Mahābhārata Aśva. 16.12);

And that those who follow this path do not need any other arduous worship for attaining Release. I fully realise that this statement will not be appreciated by people who advocate the Path of Renunciation and who maintain that Release is impossible unless all Action is abandoned; but there is no help for that. Not only does the Gītā not support the Path of Saṃnyāsa or any other path of renunciation, but, I will go further and say that the Gītā has been preached in order to satisfactorily explain, from the point of view of the Knowledge of the Brahman, why Action should not be abandoned even after the Acquisition of Knowledge. Therefore, the followers of the Path of Renunciation must remain satisfied with the numerous Vedic treatises which support the Path of Saṃnyāsa, instead of attempting to foist Saṃnyāsa on the Gītā. Or, just as theBlessed Lord has without pride referred to the Path of Renunciation in the Gītā as leading to Release, so also and with the same equable frame of mind, should the followers of Sāṃkhya philosophy say: "as the Parameśvara intends the world to go on, and as He from time to time takes incarnations for that purpose, the Path of carrying on the activities of worldly life, with a desireless frame of mind, even after the Acquisition of Knowledge, which has been preached by the Blessed Lord in the Gītā, is the most proper path to be followed in the Kali-yuga".


Footnotes and references:


This Ṛṣi is one of the two Ṛṣis Nara and Nārāyaṇa; and it has been mentioned before that Arjuna and Śrī Kṛṣṇa were their respective incarnations. I have quoted in the foregoing pages the statement in the Mahābhārata that the Nārāyaṇīya doctrine has been advocated in the Gītā.


The word 'Knowledge' has been used by me throughout as synonymous with 'Realisation' for translating the word 'Jñāna'. ~Translator.

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