Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 107

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

Karma Yoga or the Method of Work

Why then work at all?

arjuna uvaca
1. lyayasi cet karmanas te
mata buddhir janardana
tat kim karmani ghore roam
niyoyayasi kegava
Arjuna said :
(I) If thou deemest that (the path of) understanding is more excellent than (the path of) action, 0 Janardana (Krsna), why then dost thou urge me to do this savage deed, 0 Kesava (Krsna)?

Arjuna misunderstands the teaching that work for reward is less excellent than work without attachment and desire and believes that Krsna is of the view that knowledge without action is better than work and asks, if you think that knowledge is superior to action, why do you ask me to engage in this frightful work? If the Samkhya method of gaining wisdom is superior, then action is an irrelevance.

2. vyamisrene 'vac vakyena
buddhim mohayasi 'vac me
tad ekarn vada niscitya
yena sreyo 'ham apnuyam
(2) With an apparently confused utterance thou seemest to bewilder my intelligence. Tell (me) then decisively the one thing by which I can attain to the highest good.
Iva: confusion is only seeming. It is not the intention of the teacher to confuse Arjuna but Arjuna is confused.[1]
Life is Work; Unconcern for Results is Needful sribhagavan uvaca

3. loke 'smin dvividha nistha
pura prokta mayd 'nagha
jnanayogena samkhyanam
karmayogena yoginam
The Blessed Lord said :
(3) 0, blameless One, in this world a two-fold way of life has been taught of yore by Me, the path of knowledge for men of contemplation and that of works for men of action.
The teacher distinguishes, as modem psychologists do, two main types of seekers, introverts whose natural tendency is to explore the inner life of spirit and extroverts whose natural bias is towards work in the outer world. Answering to these, we have the yoga of knowledge, for those whose inner being is bent towards flights of deep spiritual contemplation, and the yoga of action for energetic personalities with love of action. But this distinction is not ultimate, for all men are in different degrees both introverts and extroverts.
For the Gita, the path of works is a means of liberation quite as efficient as that of knowledge, and these are intended for two classes of people. They are not exclusive but complementary.


References and Context

  1. paramahakarumkasya tava mohahatva nasty eva, tathap bhrantya mamaiva,n bhatiti vasabdenoktam Sridhara.