eṣā te’ bhihitā sānkhye
“This knowledge which I have imparted to you, O Parth, is related to Gyan Yog, the Way of knowledge, and now you should listen to me on Karm Yog, the Way of Selfless Action, with which you can successfully sever the fetters of action as well as its consequence (karm).’’
Sri Krishn tells Arjun that the knowledge, he has spoken of, is related to the Way of Knowledge. What knowledge is it except that Arjun should fight? The substance of the Way of Discrimination or Knowledge is only that if we fight according to our disposition after a careful appraisal of our capacity as well as of profit and loss, we shall attain to the state of ultimate bliss if we win, and to heavenly, godlike existence even if we are vanquished. There is gain in both cases. If we do not act, others will speak disparagingly of us and look upon us as having retreated like cowards, and we shall be disgraced. So to forge ahead on the path of action with a careful understanding of one’s innate nature is itself the Way of Knowledge or Discernment.
We usually come across the misconception that no war needs to be fought on the Path of Knowledge. It is said that knowledge involves no action. We think in our vanity: “I am pure.” ‘‘I am enlightened.”- ‘‘I am a part of God himself.” Accepting it as an axiom that excellence be gets excellence, we sit idly. But this is not the Way of Knowledge according to Yogeshwar Krishn. The “action” which has to be performed in following the Way of Knowledge is similar to that which has to be undertaken for the Way of Selfless Action. The only difference between the two ways is that of attitude. The man who treads the Path of Knowledge acts with a proper evaluation of his situation and with self-reliance, whereas the man who takes to the Path of Selfless Action also acts, but with reliance upon the mercy of the adored God. Action is a basic requirement of both the ways and in each of them it is the same, although it has to be done in two different ways. The attitudes behind the action in the two ways are different.
So Sri Krishn asks Arjun to listen to him while he speaks of the Way of Selfless Action, armed with which he can effectively destroy the bonds of action and its consequence. Here the Yogeshwar has, for the first time, spoken of “karm” ( pronounced as “Karma” as well) , although without explaining what it is.
Interpretation: Swami Adgadanand. ©
In Chapter three, Verse Three of Bhagavad Gita, Yogeshwar Krishn sings:
loke’smin dvividhā niṣṭhā
purā proktā mayā’nagha,
karmayogena yoginām (3.3)
“I told you before, O the sinless (Arjun), two ways of spiritual discipline, the Way of Discrimination or Knowledge for sages and the Way of Selfless Action for men of action.”
“Before” here does not mean a bygone era (yug) like the Golden or Treta Age. It rather refers to Verse Thirty Nine of Chapter Two of Bhagavad Gita, alredy quoted in above mentioned post, in which Sri Krishn had spoken of the two ways, recommending the Way of Knowledge for men of wisdom and the Way of Selfless Action for those who are actively engaged in the task that will finally make them one with God. In both the ways, action has to be performed. So action is an essential.
Hence it has to be understood very clearly that “Karm”/ Action is something which has to be performed in either of the two ways of spiritual discipline and Sri Krishna has taken up to teach both the two ways as well “Karm” at a time.