Bhagavadgita !

Chapter 5

Karma Sannyasa yoga !

|| Om tat sat ||

अर्जुन उवाच:
सन्न्यासं कर्मणां कृष्ण पुनर्योगंच शंससि ।
यच्छ्रेय एतयोरेकं तन्मे ब्रूहि सुनिश्चितम् ॥

"Oh Krishna ! you praise renunciation of all actions, and again karma yoga too. Tell me for certain that one which is better between the two"

श्रीकृष्ण परब्रह्मने नमः
भगवद्गीत
पंचमाध्यायः
कर्मसन्न्यास योग

Bhagavadgita
Fifth Chapter
Karmasannyasa yoga
|| om tat sat ||

The fifth chapter is Karmasanyyasa yoga or yoga of renunciation.

Krishna talked about Sankhya Yoga and Buddhi Yoga essentially teaching Gnyana Yoga in the second , third and fourth Chapters. In chapter two, namely Sankhya Yoga, Krishna talked about Nishkama Karma and proposed Karma Yoga as the way. In the first sloka of the third chapter Arjuna asks - "ज्यायसी चेत् कर्मणस्ते मता बुद्धिः जनार्दन "!(3.01) - specifically asking if Jnyana Yoga is better than Karma Yoga . Then Krishna elaborates that not a moment passes without action - ( न हि कश्चित् क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठति अकर्मकृत् :3.05)- so no one can escape doing action. Then he explains the greatness of Nishkama Karma ,and says following Karmayoga great people attained Moksha . As an example he says King Janaka etc "जनकादयः.." got Moksha following Nishkama Karma. Then he ask Arjuna too to follow his duty and fight. Krishna even says Nishkama Karma is my philosophy( ये मे मत मिदं..3.31) . Those who follow Nishkama Karma are free from the bondage of action.

Effectively saying that Karma yoga as the answer for Arjuna's query.

Then Arjuna asks how is it that people commit sin knowing very well that it is wrong (3.36). Then Krishna again elaborates on the nature of human mind, specifically the desires that drive actions of the ignorant. To control these desires the need is for Buddhi. Saying so he explains Buddhi yoga or Yoga of intellect which is Gnyana yoga. Then Krishna elaborates on the greatness of Gnyanayoga.

Then in Gnyana Yoga, the fourth chapter, Krishna elaborates on the antiquity of Nishkama Karma. He says that over the time people have forgotten Karmayoga . That is why he is teaching the same. Then he says if one does Karma while being in the state of Gnyana , then such Karma does not create bondage. Then he explains about sacrifices or Yagnyas to Arjuna. He elaborates on twelve types of sacrifices which can be easily understood and performed by common people. In that context again he elaborates that Gnyana Yagnya is better than all other Yagnyas. ( नहि ज्ञानेन सदृशं पवित्रमिह विद्यते). Which very much sounds like saying Gnyanayoga is the better one !

Hearing all this Arjuna again gets a doubt as to which is better, Karma Yoga or Gnyana Yoga .
That doubt is the start of fifth chapter.

The fifth chapter starts with Arjuna's question:
अर्जुन उवाच:
सन्न्यासं कर्मणां कृष्ण पुनर्योगं च शंससि।
यत् श्रेयः एतयोः एकं तन्मे ब्रूहि सुनिश्चितम्॥

Meaning that -
" कृष्ण ! कर्मणां सन्न्यासं" - Renunciation of action ,
" योगं च" - and action too
"शंससि"- praising "
" Tell me which is better in these two ".

Here renunciation of action means path of Gnyana or knowledge. Krishna has earlier said that for one who is aware of Self ( Atma Gnyani) there is no need for action (" नैव तस्य कृतेनार्थो नाकृते नेह कश्चन" 3.18) virtually implying that renunciation of action ( for the one who knows self) leads to liberation. In the same breath Krishna also said Nishkama karma is his philosophy ( येमे मतं इदं.. 3.31 ) . These two statement praising both create a doubt in Arjuna's mind

Now Krishna elaborates again !

"सन्न्यासः कर्मयोगश्च " meaning there by that both of them namely Renunciation of action and Karma yoga are -"निश्श्रेयसकरौ"- beneficial . They ensure good, namely "liberation"or Moksha .That mean both lead to same end result . But then among these two meaning that between simple renunciation of actions and the path of action Krishna reaffirms "कर्मयोगो विशिष्यते" Karma yoga is the better way . The path of action is better than the path of renunciation of action without the knowledge of Self.

The follower of the path of action - a Karma Yogi - who does not desire anything, is free from the taint of action even when he performs actions. He is indeed a man of renunciation.

To emphasize that these two are not different he says :
"सांख्ययोगौ पृथक् बालाः प्रवदन्ति न पण्डिताः|" (5.04)
That these two, the path of knowledge and the path of action, are different is said by -" बालाः" childish one -those who do not know anything .
"न पण्डिताः " -The well versed do not say that .
Why? Because the destination of the both the paths is same .

Then one more thing :-
"एकं सांख्यंच योगंच यः पश्यति स पश्यति" (౫.౦౫)
"The one who sees Jnyana Yoga and Karma Yoga as one , he is the one who has understood the truth ( स पश्यति !)

Truthfully having obtained tranquility through Karma Yoga , there after attaining Gnyana yoga is an easy path. Without practicing Karma yoga attaining Jnyana Yoga is that much more difficult.

Karma Yogi who is -
pure in mind ( विशुद्धात्म)
conquered self ( विजितात्म)
conquered the senses ( जितेंद्रियः)
who sees the self in all beings as same as the self in him (सर्वभूतात्म भूतात्मा) ,
such a one is unaffected by the bondage of action.

One may wonder if we do Nishkama Karma what is the need for all these additional thoughts.

Nishkama karma is the first step. Performing Nishkama karma and keeping equanimity in the face of happiness and sorrow requires a pure mind (विशुद्धात्म).

To be able to perform Nishkama karma , one has to be free from the desire for the results. That means he has to control his mind (विजितात्म) and conquer his senses ( जितेंद्रिय) . So these are not new. For such a person performing actions do not bind him.

Having these qualities and having realized the truth will think that he is not doing any action even while seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating , moving, sleeping, breathing, speaking, releasing or holding dedicating the same to God. And he is not affected by the actions too. (5.08, 5.09)

Being a person who realized Self of Brahman he is free from the taint of action.

But what about the person who has not realized Self ?
Krishna has a clear answer for them too.

If one is performing actions without interest in the results of actions, and is dedicating the actions to God then he is unaffected by the actions . And like the water on lotus leaf the sins also do not get attached to him (5.10). Having given up attachment Yogis following path of action undertake work through the body , mind and intellect for the purification of themselves. Being firm in his faith, and being free of concerns of fruits ,the practising Karma Yogi attains highest peace.

What happens to one who is not resolute in his faith?
The one who is interested in pursuit of material happiness continues his run after the pursuit of results. (5.12)

In Karma yoga Arjuna asks the question "अथ केन प्रयुक्तोsयं पापं चरति पूरुषः"(2.36) . Arjuna asks why does one commit sin knowing full that he should not commit sin . As though recalling that question Krishna again tells Arjuna:

"नकर्तृत्वं न कर्माणि लोकस्य सृजति प्रभुः |
न कर्मफल संयोगं स्वभावस्तु प्रवर्तते ||"(5.14)

That is to say -" God is not responsible for the ownership of action , the action itself or the results of the action". All these happen because of the nature of the human being which is controlled by the three Gunas namely "Rajo, Tamo and Satvic"

नादत्ते कस्यचित् पापं नचैव सुकृतं विभुः | (5.15)
meaning that - " The supreme being does not accept the sin or good deeds of anybody"

What Krishna is saying is that the our sins and our good deeds are in our own hands . We are responsible for our own deeds. If we conquer the senses "जितेंद्रियः" and perform Nishkama Karma then as stated "शांतिमाप्नोति नैष्ठिकीं" , what we get is the highest peace !!

What we attain with that peace is Moksha or liberation.

Krishna gain tells what is most important for Moksha . He says:

"तद्बुद्धय स्तदात्मान स्तन्निष्ठा स्तत्परायणाः ।
गच्छन्त्यपुनारावृत्तिं ज्ञाननिर्धूतकल्मषाः "||

तत् बुद्धयः
- having fully focussed on that one( on Him)
तत् आत्मानः
- having their mind dwelling on Him
तत् निष्ठाः
- having all actions fully dedicated to Him
तत् परायणः
- having been totally immersed in him as the ultimate saviour

Such people, having driven away the ignorance with their intellect, are attaining - "अपुनरावृत्तिं" - attaining that status of life which is without rebirth namely Moksha( 5.17).

When one realizes that Paramatma and Jivatma are one and the same , then we realize that if one is focussed on self ( Atma) thinking about self and performing all actions in accordance with that enlightened self he obtains the knowledge of self . That is Gnyana Yoga .

The most important aspect of Gnyani , the one who knows is the समत्व equanimity .

The one who is able to see the same self in the Brahmin endowed with learning and humility , the cow , the elephant , the dog , and the same self in one who cooks dogs meat and lives on the same, as the self in him is the one with equanimity and is the the learned one( 5.18). Whether learned or ignorant, cow or dog , Brahmin or a chandala what is seen by the learned is the is the self in them which is same as the self in him.

That is समत्व or equanimity.

If one has समत्व or that equanimity then -
"इहैव तैर्जितः स्सर्गो येषां साम्ये स्थितं मनः "(5.19)
In this world itself they would (जितः सर्गः) conquer the riddle of life !

ब्रह्म - is said to be - "निर्दोषम् हि समं ब्रह्म" - Not having faults and having equanimity is Brahman !. When one is able to attain a state of equanimity with no faults it is said he attained the state of Brahman

The one with knowledge of self and equanimity he is the one who knows Brahman !

The one who is able to withstand the urges arising from anger and passion in this very life before they fall off the body that one is a poised and a happy man ! (5.23).

Those whose sins have waned away , whose doubts have been dispelled, who have controlled their senses , who are devoted to the welfare of all beings - they are Sages or Rishis. Those sages with the knowledge of self and the equanimity towards all they attain the state of Brahman . That is the ultimate liberation(5.25).

Shutting out the external sense objects, fixing the gaze between the eyebrows , controlling the outgoing and incoming breaths with senses, mind, intellect restrained and free from desire, fear and anger , the sage who has a goal of Moksha is ever free (5.27;28).

Thus Krishna starting with समत्व or equanimity added that those having knowledge of self, Rishis etc obtain Moksha. Then he say in the last sloka of the chapter that by pure worship too they obtain Moksha

भोक्तारं यज्ञतपसां सर्वलोक महेश्वरं।
सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिमृच्छति ||5.29||

It means that " Knowing that the Bhagavan is the enjoyer of Yagnyas, Lord of all worlds, well wisher of all , helps one attain peace. Which means that apart from the Karma yoga and Jnyana yoga - Bhakti yoga too provides one with a way to liberation ( ओम् तत् सत् !)

Arjuna's question led Krishna to insist that path of action is supreme to a path of renunciation of action without understanding that renunciation.

Clearly not performing action with the thought that such inaction will not create bond is ignorance. The point is not about renouncing actions. It is more about giving up the the desire for the results of action

One should not give up action of daily life. What one should give up is the anxiety about the results of such actions or even the fruits of such action . Some times one is prone to blame God for his own seemingly unending problems. That is not correct. God is not responsible for the sins we commit or the good deeds we achieve. With this basic understanding one has to proceed on the right path with full faith in himself.

Controlling the interest in materialistic things one can practice control of senses. When one is trapped by the desire for a particular thing one needs to review if it is indeed necessary. This critical review of needs brings in the control of senses.

When the mind is running towards worldly affairs etc one needs to alert mind to bring in the fact that there is no permanency in the joy that one gets. The joy or happiness that is generated internally has a lasting effect. It is like the story of one who bought a dozen mangoes because he likes them. He felt good eating one or two. But by the third that happiness of eating mangoes has decreased and probably the satisfaction declines.

So it should be obvious that the happiness, satisfaction obtained an external devices is limited by time or the device life. The happiness generated internally however is long lasting.

While Rishis obtain liberation through enquiry into self, control of senses, and seeing all beings as equal , for one immersed in daily life achieving peace is through seeing Bhagavan as the benevolent friend , the leader of the three worlds and worshipping or meditating on him .

||om tat sat ||

भोक्तारं यज्ञतपसां सर्वलोक महेश्वरं।
सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिमृच्छति ॥5.29||

"One attains peace by knowing Me as the lord of all worlds, the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, and the well wisher of all creatures"

||om tat sat||


||om tat sat ||