Gita Rahasya -Tilak 523

Srimad Bhagavadgita-Rahasya OR Karma-Yoga-Sastra -Bal Gangadhar Tilak


Therefore, it is the common belief of many persons, that our ancient writers, being steeped- in the deep contemplation of Release, have forgotten to deal) with the subject-matter of Morality or Ethics. This mis- understanding will be removed if one carefully considers the Mahabharata or the Gita. But, as the Mahabharata is a very extensive work, it is very difficult to read the whole of it and 1 to give careful thought to the subject-matter in it ; and: although the Gita is small, yet, there is a strong belief, that it deals only with the question of Release, on account of the doctrine-supporting commentaries on it. But no one has taken the trouble to think that the Path of Samnyasa and the Path of Karma-Yoga were both in vogue in India from Vedic times ; that the numbers following the Path of Karma-Yoga were a thousand times greater than of those following the Path of Samnyasa ; and that the great and noble persons, whose lives have been described in the Puranas, were supporters of Karma- Yoga. Then, was not even one of these persons' inclined to vindicate the Path of Karma-Yoga followed by him ? If it is said that there are no works on Karma-Yoga,, because all Spiritual Knowledge is confined to the Brahmin caste, and the Vedantist Brahmins are apathetic towards Action, that statement too would be incorrect. Because, in the times of the Upanisads, and also afterwards, there were Jnanins like Janaka and Sri Krsna among the Ksatriyas; and even learned Brahmins like Vyasa, have written the biogra phies of great Ksatriyas. In writing these biographies, would, it not be necessary to explain the key-note of the character and lives of those men ?

This key-note was Karma- Yoga or the philosophy of worldly life ; and in order to explain this principle, subtle points of righteous or unrighteous conduct have been dealt with in several places in the Mahabharata, and ultimately the Gita has dealt with those principles of Ethics, which have been responsible for the maintenance of the world, consistently with the view-point of Release. There are also many such instances in the other Puranas. But, as all other expositions on the subject turn pale by the side of the brilliance of the Gita, the Bhagavadgita has become the most important work on the philosophy of Karma-Yoga. I have dealt with the true nature of this Karma-Yoga in the foregoing chapters. Yet, it cannot be said that this exposition of the doctrine of the Gita is complete, unless one compares the ethical principles propounded by Western philosophers with the fundamental spiritual principles of the Doable and the Not-Doable enunciated in the Gita. In making this compari- son, it is also necessary to compare the Philosophy of the Absolute Self in the East with such philosophy in the West. But the knowledge of the Absolute Self in the West has not gone much beyond our knowledge.


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