Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 38

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

10. The Way of Knowledge: Jnana-marga

We can reach the goal of perfection, attain the saving truth in three different ways, by a knowledge of Reality (jnana) or adoration and love (bhakti) of the Supreme Person or by the subjection of the will to the Divine purpose (karma). These are distinguished on account of the distribution of emphasis on the theoretical, emotional and practical aspects. Men are of different types, reflective, emotional or active but they are not exclusively so. At the end, know-ledge, love and action mingle together. God Himself is sat, cit and ananda, reality, truth and bliss To those seeking knowledge, He is Eternal Light, clear and radiant as the sun at noonday, in which is no darkness ; to those struggling for virtue, He is Eternal Righteousness, steadfast and impartial; and to those emotionally inclined, He is Eternal Love and Beauty of Holiness.

Even as God combines in Himself these features, man aims at the integral life of spirit. Cognition, will and feeling, though logically distinguishable, arenot really separable in the concrete life and unity of mind. They are different aspects of the one movement of the soul.[1] Jnana as the intellectual pathway to perfection is different from jnana as spiritual wisdom. The spiritual apprehension of the real is not an act of service or of devotion or for that matter, of cognition, however much these acts may lead up to it. As the same word 'inane is employed for both the goal of perfection and the way to it, for the recognition of reality as well as the scheme of spiritual knowledge, some are led to think that the intellectual path is superior to the other methods of approach.


References and Context

  1. Cp. Plotinus: "There are different roads by which this end (of spiritual apprehension) may be reached ; the love of beauty which exalts the poet; that devotion to the one and that ascent of science which make the ambition of the philosopher; that love and those prayers by which some devout and ardent soul tends in its moral purity towards perfection. These are the great highways conducting to that height above the actual and the particular, where we stand in the immediate presence of the Infinite, who shines out as from the deeps of the soul." Letter to .Flaccus. Madhusudana holds that to attain the perfect Godhead who is of the nature of Being, Wisdom and Bliss, the Vedas are of three sections, dealing with action, worship and knowledge; similarly these three sections are embodied in the eighteen chapters of the Gita saccsdanandaruparii tat purnam visnoh param padam, yat praptaye samarabdha vedah kand itrayatmikah, karmopastis tatha` jnanam iti kundatrayam kramat, tadrupa' astadaadhyayair gita kandatrayatmika