Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 143

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

True Renunciation

Sãmkhya and Yoga lead to the same goal
arjuna uväca
samnyasam Karmanam krsna
punar yogam ca samsasi
yac chreya etayor ekam
tan me bruhi suniscitam
Arjuna said :
(1.) Thou praisest, 0 Krsna, the renunciation of works and again their unselfish performance. Tell me for certain which one is the better of these two
S. argues that the question is with reference to the unenlightened, for the man who has realized the Self has no longer any object to gain since he has achieved all. In III, 17, it is said that he has no more duties to perform In such passages as III, 4 and IV, 6, the method of work is enjoined as an accessory to the acquisition of the knowledge of the Self, while in VI, 3, it is said that the man who has obtained night knowledge has no longer anything to do with work. Further, in IV, 21, all action is denied to him except that which is required for bodily maintenance. The man who knows the true nature of the Self is directed in V, 8, always to meditate with a concentrated mind on the idea that it is not "1" that do it It is not possible to imagine even in a dream that the man who knows the Self can have any-thing to do with work so opposed to right knowledge and entirely based on illusory knowledge.[1] So S. contends that Arjuna's question relates only to those who have not known the Self. For the ignorant, work is better than renunciation. The intention of the Gita right through seems to be that the work to be abandoned is selfish work which binds us to the chain of karma and not all activity. We cannot be saved by works alone, but works are not opposed to saving wisdom.

sribhagavan uvaca
2. samnyasah karmayogas`
ca mhsmhsreyasakarav ubhau
tayos to karmasamnyasat
karmayogo visisyate
The Blessed Lord said :
(2) The renunciation of works and their unselfish performance both lead to the soul's salvation But of the two, the unselfish performance of works is better than their renunciation.[2]
The Samkhya method involves the renunciation of works and the Yoga insists on their performance in the right spirit. They are at bottom the same but the Yoga way comes more naturally to us. The two ways are not inconsistent. In Samkhya, jnana or insight is emphasized. In Yoga, volitional effort is stressed. In one, we know the Self by thinking away the alien elements; in the other, we will them away.


References and Context

  1. atmatattvavidah samyagdarsanaviruddho mithyajnanahetukah karmayogah svapnepi na sambhavayitum sakyate
  2. See III, 8.

Related Articles

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan
Chapter Chapter Name Page No.
Introductory Essay 1
1. The Hesitation and Despondency of Arjuna 63
2. Samkhya Theory and Yoga Practice 79
3. Karma Yoga or the Method of Work 107
4. The Way of Knowledge 124
5. True Renunciation 143
6. The True Yoga 152
7. God and the World 168
8. The Course of Cosmic Evolution 176
9. The Lord is more than His Creation 181
10. God is the Source of All; to Know Him is to Know All 192
11. The Lord's Transfiguration 200
12. Worship of the Personal Lord is better than meditation of the Absolute 211
13. The Body called the Field, the Soul called the Knower of the Field and Discrimination between them 215
14. The Mystical Father oF All Beings 222
15. The Tree of Life 227
16. The Nature of the Godlike and the Demoniac Mind 231
17. The Three Modes Applied to Religious Phenomena 235
18. Conclusion 239
19. Last Page 254