Sri Krishna, in Gita tells about Moksham in two parts and in two situations. Finally we have to reach the feet of Paramatman. But suddenly we cannot jump to that height. Therefore it is necessary to understand our atman. With this knowledge we should practice Karma yoga uninterruptedly. What is the knowledge about atman? This was detailed from 12th sloka to 37th sloka in 2nd Chapter. Thereafter, He started telling about Karma yoga. In the 38th sloka He explained how a karma yogi would perceive equitably victory/defeat, profit/loss and happiness/sorrow. With this as introduction, from 39th sloka He explained Karma yoga. So we see two steps. First is to realize Paramatman. Before that we have to realize our atman. This is called atma sakshatkaram. That is possessing clear understanding. Nothing more is required to clarify atman- this clarity should be possessed. This will be like seeing atman and so is called atma sakshatkaram. To reach this state what is needed? Three things are needed. One, the ordinary knowledge about atman. This only will mature to get atma sakshatkaram. This is a basic knowledge about atman. Once this knowledge is acquired, then we do karma without attachment or with detachment. This Karma yoga should be continuously performed. This will enable to eliminate the contaminations in our mind or intellect. Why this contamination was there? As long as papa and punya are there this pollution will be there. Confusion is the contamination. What is the confusion? Which is to be discarded and which is to be adhered to? This lack of knowledge to differentiate, is the confusion. As long as this knowledge is not acquired, the knowledge about atman is not going to ripen. Because we have to adhere to atman and leave all others. Thus the mind or buddhi is contaminated. Without the ripening or maturing of knowledge we cannot get atma sakshatkaram. To get this we have to meditate on the atman uninterruptedly. To meditate continuously we require serene mind. Like an automobile requires clear petrol and clean carburetor for smooth running, a serene mind is needed. Rational knowledge of on what we should have attachment and on which we should be detached should be there. In a confused mind meditation is impossible. Without meditation, we cannot get atma sakshatkaram. We can visualize this as stairway. By performing Karma yoga we can eradicate papa and punya. Eliminating papa and punya will facilitate to clear the confusion in our minds as to which are to be adhered to and which are to be discarded, and the mind is serene. Serene mind will allow proper meditation on atman. This will lead to atma sakshatkaram. With clear and full understanding of atman, the inner motive force of atman –Paramatman- will be realized. This requires Bhakti yoga. This will be explained in the 7th, 8th and 9th Chapters. That will be the ultimate and final step. So reaching Paramatman by Bhakti yoga is one part. Since we do not have the ability to go direct to Paramatman, we have to acquire knowledge about Jeevatman. This Jeevatma sakshatkaram is another part. To get this we require doing continuous meditation, which is called Gyana yoga. This requires unpolluted intellect and so we have to get rid of papa and punya. This needs performing Karma yoga. For this basic knowledge about atman is necessary. That is why Sri Krishna sermonized on the basic nature of atman from 12th to 37th sloka of Chapter II. We can recall that He told that atman is everlasting, it is different from body, it is an embodiment of gyana or knowledge, it is full of bliss, it cannot be destroyed, it is indivisible, it can not be moistened or dried and it cannot be cut or burnt. This basic knowledge was tutored and made us to realize that atman is superior to body and it cannot be destroyed and so we should find ways and means to uplift atman. What should be our efforts for this? After learning the attitude of a Karma yogi, we have now learnt till 52nd sloka Karma yoga. The one, who does Karma yoga with buddhi, destroys papa and punya and gets the bliss of Moksham. Looking back we can appreciate the logical manner all the slokas are placed. Like an able Professor teaches, Sri Krishna is taking us step by step to understand our lifestyle. Till 52nd sloka the Karma yoga was deliberated. Karma yoga removes papa/punya. Removal of papa/punya gets us nirmala or unalloyed, serene mind. The next 53rd sloka will tell us what we achieve by a serene mind. In such a mind a coherent and concentrated knowledge can be unshakably established. This knowledge is about atman. Why this knowledge is steadfast? Because, it cannot be shaken by any rewards like that pleasure or this comfort. Our objective is only atma sakshatkaram. We have already seen that in sloka 2.41, the buddhi in pursuit of atman will be unique or singular, while the buddhi striving for other rewards will be in multiples. Rewards are many, buddhi also are many and efforts also are many. In the case of atman as objective, only one effort, objective is one and buddhi also is one. This singular knowledge will be acquired. This knowledge will be resolute and unshakable. It is in a serene and clear mind. Just as a dust-free mirror reflects our face brilliantly, we can see our atman in a serene, free of papa and punya, mind. This constant meditation is Gyana yoga. Without papa/punya there is nothing to distract and drag the mind from meditation, just as a firm ground will not slip below. Continuous Gyana yoga will result in atma sakshatkaram. Let us recapitulate the steps.
· Basic, ordinary knowledge about atman.
· Performing Karma yoga with detachment
· Elimination of papa/punya and acquisition of unconfused mind
· Qualified to undertake Gyana yoga.
· Ripening of Gyana yoga will lead to Atma sakshatkaram.
There can be a doubt here. The first step is knowledge of atman and again the last step also is understanding atman. What is the difference? The first step was very elementary knowledge that atman is different from body and it is eternal. But visualizing the entire atman with its eminence is the last step. Thus this is a refinement process to get atma sakshatkaram. The knowledge at that time will enable one to realize that all atman are same and Paramatman resides in all atman. This knowledge is not acquired in the beginning or first step. We will now see 53rd sloka:
yada sthasyati niscala
samadhav acala buddhis
tada yogam avapsyasi
"When your mind has absorbed so far [Sri Krishna’s sermon], and enlightened the intellect or buddhi , and when it remains resolute and unshaken by others, then you will have attained the atma sakshatkaram”
The word yogam here indicates atma sakshatkaram. So objective of second Chapter is atma sakshatkaram. Arjuna was listening to the sermons of Sri Krishna and this enlightened his intellect or buddhi and enabled him to know what is to be adhered to and what are to be discarded in life, resulting in removing the contamination of papa/punya in the mind. This knowledge is going to blossom as Gyana yoga. This will mature in due course to have atma sakshatkaram.