Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 5.2, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 2 from the chapter 5 called “Karma-sannyasa-yoga (Yoga through Renunciation of Action)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 5.2:

श्री भगवान् उवाच–
सन्न्यासः कर्म-योगश् च निःश्रेयस-कराव् उभौ ।
तयोस् तु कर्म-सन्न्यासात् कर्म-योगो विशिष्यते ॥ २ ॥

śrī bhagavān uvāca
sannyāsaḥ karma-yogaś ca niḥśreyasa-karāv ubhau |
tayos tu karma-sannyāsāt karma-yogo viśiṣyate || 2 ||

śrī bhagavān uvāca–the all-opulent Lord said; sannyāsaḥ–renunciation of activities; karma-yogaḥ–worshipping the Supreme by selflessly offering Him the fruit of one’s prescribed duty; ca–and; niḥśreyasa-karau–bring about auspiciousness; ubhau–both; tayoḥ–of the two; tu–but; karma-sannyāsāt–than renunciation of work; karma-yogaḥ–worshipping the Supreme by selflessly offering Him the fruit of one’s prescribed duty; viśiṣyate–is better.

Śrī Bhagavān said: Both renouncing one’s prescribed duty–karma-sannyāsa–and worshipping the Supreme Lord by selflessly offering Him the fruit of one’s prescribed duty–niṣkāma-karma-yoga–bring auspiciousness, but niṣkāma-karma-yoga is certainly superior to karma-sannyāsa.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

(By Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura; the innermost intention of the commentary named ‘the shower of essential meanings’)

Worshipping the Supreme Lord by selflessly offering Him the fruit of one’s prescribed duty is superior to renouncing one’s prescribed duty. Even if a jñānī performs niṣkāma-karma-yoga, there is no defect. Actually‚ its performance further purifies his heart, thereby establishing him more firmly in knowledge. One may ask, “If a karma-sannyāsī, someone who has renounced his prescribed duty, is experiencing some disturbance at heart due to worldly desires, is he forbidden to engage in action (karma) to mitigate it?” Śrī Bhagavān answers that for a karma-sannyāsī, such a disturbance of heart is an obstacle in the cultivation of transcendental knowledge. One who accepts sense objects, having previously given them up, becomes a vāntāśī, one who eats his own vomit.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

(By Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja; the explanation that illuminates the commentary named Sārārtha-varṣiṇī)

In answer to Arjuna’s ques-tion, Śrī Bhagavān is saying that both renouncing one’s prescribed duty (jñāna-yoga) and selflessly offering the fruit of that prescribed duty to the Supreme Lord (niṣkāma-karma-yoga) are auspicious. However, niṣkāma-karma-yoga is superior to karma-sannyāsa, or jñāna-yoga, because in niṣkāma-karma-yoga, there is less possibility of fall-down. If a person who has abandoned his prescribed duty develops a desire for sense gratification and falls down, he is called a vāntāśī.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.15.36) also confirms this:

yaḥ pravrajya gṛhāt pūrvaṃ tri-vargāvapanāt punaḥ
yadi seveta tān bhikṣuḥ sa vai vāntāśy apatrapaḥ

If a person renounces the sannyāsa āśrama, which is the perfection of religion, economic development and sense gratification, and again enters household life, he is called a vāntāśī, a shameless person who eats his own vomit.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam further says that one may criticize an ill-behaved jñānī, but one is not to condemn a one-pointed devotee, even if the devotee’s conduct is extremely poor. This is also confirmed in the Gītā (9.30)–api cet su-durācāraḥ. “Even if a man of abominable character engages in one-pointed devotional service to Me, he is still to be considered a sādhu, because he is rightly situated in bhakti.”

It should be clearly understood that karma-kāṇḍa is not the same as karma-yoga. The actions prescribed in scripture are called karma. When a jīva engages in such action, considering himself the doer of the action and the enjoyer of its fruits, it is called karma-kāṇḍa. Even when the pious activities prescribed in the Vedas are performed in this way, they bind one to the material world. Karma-kāṇḍa does not lead one to union (yoga) with Śrī Bhagavān, and for this reason it is condemned in all scriptures. Only by selflessly offering the fruit of one’s actions to Bhagavān can yoga with Him be established. This is called niṣkāma-karma-yoga. It can be referred to as a semblance, or beginning, of bhagavad-dharma. It can also be called the gateway to bhakti. In other words, an indirect connection with Bhagavān is established by niṣkāma-karma-yoga. Therefore the Gītā (2.48) states, “yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi…–O Dhanañjaya, in a devotional mood, relinquish attach–ment to the results of your work and perform your prescribed duties, being equipoised in success and failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.”

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