Three alternatives are suggested. Karmayoga, Gyanayoga and Bhakthiyoga. Instead of practicing each separately, it is better to have one as the pradhanam [main] and the other two as angam [branches or ancillaries]. Just like in our degree courses we have one subject, say Chemistry, as main and study say, mathematics and physics, as ancillaries. Similarly, if one decides to seek Moksham through Karmayoga, then one has to have Gyanayoga and Bhakthiyoga as ancillaries. But there is a difference. In the education system, pass in the main can be done without studying the ancillaries. Whereas, in seeking Moksham, if Bhakthiyoga has to be practiced, then one has to practice Karmayoga and Gyanayoga. Without these two, a person cannot practice Bhakthiyoga. Let us see what Upanishads say on this. Atman has to have drashtavya:, srothavya:, manthavya: and nidhithyasithavya:. To realize Paramatma, atman has to listen about Him. Then, contemplate on what was listened to. Then meditate without interruption , but with concentration. Such continuous meditation is called Bhakthi and this results in merging with the Paramatma. This will make the atman to feel happy in union with and sorrow in separation from God. Thereafter, the soul departs this body and this world and reaches Moksham and remains with Him in eternal happiness. It is a stairway to Moksham. All born cannot immediately go for Moksham. In this world lots of good things are to be done and this life has to be happily spent. But the objective should be to reach Moksham after this life without the perils of another birth. When will this thought come? First, one should realize that this body is perishable and atman is indestructible. If one thinks atman and body are same, when body perishes, atman also will perish and then there would be no need for Moksham or worry about rebirth. So, this basic knowledge that atman and body are different is essential. Not merely accepting that they are separate, it should be firmly believed that atman is eternal and body is destroyable. Further, it should be realized that in this life happiness and sorrow are mixed. The natural feeling of the atman is always happy. But when inside a body in this earth, mixed feelings are unavoidable. So, the objective should be to get the everlasting happiness, its natural quality. This pursuit is necessary. We normally describe any person dying as that person attained nature. This word attains implies that after death, the soul goes elsewhere. The body seen reaches dust. So when someone attains nature, it means the soul reaches nature and body reaches mud. Also, attained nature means earlier it was in artificial state. Therefore, departing from the body, the atman attains nature and when in the body it was in an artificial state. Thus objective should be that atman should attain its natural state, that is Moksham. This realization about atman and body is the first step in the stairway. This step alone cannot take to the top. The next step is to realize that this atman is servant of God. Paramatma is the ruler and atman is ruled. Therefore, atman has to cling to the Feet of the Lord. Instead of saying that Karmayaoga, Gyanayoga and Bhakthyoga are various paths to reach Moksham, Bhakthyoga is the main. Visiting temples, chanting His names and helping His devotees, will all constitute Bhakthiyoga. For this as main one needs Karma [action] and Gyana [knowledge]. These are needed in any activity. When we drive a car, knowledge of which is brake or accelerator is necessary. But mere this knowledge cannot drive the car, and so the action to press the correct pedal will make the car to move or stop. Both are necessary. For Bhakthi in Him, action and knowledge are essential. Thus to attain Moksham, bhakthi is needed. For bhakthi, karma and gyana are ancillaries. This requires the basic knowledge about atman. This is what Sri Krishna also preaches. He stressed the eternal nature of soul from the 12th sloka of 2nd Chapter till 30th sloka. From the 39th sloka He preaches Karmayoga till 51st sloka and then Gyanayoga is preached. From Chapter 7th to 9th Chapter, He will describe Bhakthiyoga. Thereafter, details of how to attain Moksham. All these emerge from the basic knowledge about atman. With this knowledge we perform our activities or karma. Then Gyana and Bhakthi. This will result in reaching the Lord’s Feet. So, in the stairway, the last step is Bhakthi, preceded by Gyana and Karma. This is what Sri Krishna says in the 39th sloka:
esa te ’bhihita sankhye
buddhir yoge tv imam shrinu
buddhya yukto yaya partha
"Thus far I have described atman to you through analytical study. Now listen as I explain it in terms of working without trivial results. O son of Pritha, when you act with such knowledge you can free yourself from the bondage of karma."
Sri Krishna was telling sankhyam from 12th to 30th sloka. Earlier we have mentioned Sankhya means buddhi or intellect. So, sAnkhyam means the entity, which can be perceived only buddhi or intellect. That is atman. Why Sri Krishna does all these? After all Arjuna said he would not fight. Sri Krishna found that this stubbornness was because of Arjuna mistaking soul for the body. He had not understood that soul could never be destroyed, and so killing of persons will not destroy their souls. Arjuna also mentioned that he was not after trivial results like victory or kingdom. So, Sri Krishna told him that he should not fight fro the smaller objectives. But for Moksham. For this, Karmayoga becomes necessary. Fighting in the battle is Karmayoga for Arjuna. So, if he fights with the knowledge of Karmayoga, then the sins will never bind him in this world. He will reach Moksham. Thus Sri Krishna introduces the Karmayoga concept. If we also understand these basic concepts then the following lectures will be easier to follow.