Monday, July 16, 2007


Nammalwar has sung in praise of Sri Kallarpiran of Sri Vaikuntam, one of the Nava Tiruppathi. In Tamil Vaikuntam is called Vinnagaram [vinn= sky and nagaram=city]. A number of Kshetrams are called Vinnagaram. Oppiliappan koil is called Thiruvinnagaram. Then we have, Parameswara Vinnagaram, Kazhicheerama Vinnagaram, Nandipura Vinnagaram, etc. Only this Kshetram bears the same name as Sri Vaikuntam and the Lord also is called Sri Vaikuntapathi. The Lord exhibits simultaneously His greatness and His simplicity. We will now see the 3rd sloka of 3rd Chapter. Arjuna in the previous two slokas raised his doubts. Sri Krishna told both Karma yoga and gyana yoga and also said that atman sakshatkaram can be achieved only by Gyana yoga. Why not only Gyana yoga to be practiced? Why unnecessary Karma yoga, which means Arjuna has to participate in the war? He thinks Sri Krishna would not exploit Arjuna to eliminate the bad people like Duryodana. He further thinks that Karma yoga is not the step for Gyana yoga as both are having different requirements. Gyana yoga is nivrutti marg in that the senses have to be passive. The Karma yoga, on the other hand is pravrutti marg where the senses have to be active. Therefore Arjuna thinks the paths advised by Sri Krishna are opposite and so raised his doubts. He wants the confusion to be cleared and one path to be advised. Sri Krishna replies:

Sri-bhagavan uvaca
loke ’smin dvi-vidha nistha
pura prokta mayanagha
jnana-yogena sankhyanam
karma-yogena yoginam

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two types of paths to try to realize the self. Some are inclined to understand it by Gyana or intellect, and others by devotional service."

Asmin loke= in this world, maya= by Me, dvi vidha nishta = two types of paths or practices, pura = earlier [in the 2nd Chapter], prokta= were told. The two paths are Karma yoga and Gyana yoga. In the next line He says that Gyana yoga was for Sankhya or intellectuals and Karma yoga for yogis. Here two types of persons qualified for practicing the two yoga are differentiated. Doctor prescribes different medicines for different patients. Similarly, Sri Krishna prescribes different paths for different persons. It is customary for persons in this world to have different tastes and so it is said loke binna ruchi [people have varied interests]. So Arjuna should not get confused that all have to follow Karma yoga and then Gyan yoga. The slokas 55 to 71 in the last Chapter were for those who could control senses. Sankhya means intellect [to differentiate atman from body]. These persons are capable of controlling senses. In the last Chapter He said Karma yoga leads to clarity or purity of mind, which enables to practice Gyana yoga and then atman darshan. In this Chapter, practicing only Karma yoga leads to atman darshan. Some thing like double promotion. Karma yoga includes Gyana. The Gyana that atman is different from body. Service to God in the form of aradhana will please God and so get Moksham. This service is Karma yoga. What about Arjuna’s doubt that the two are contradictory? They are not contradictory. To practice Gyana yoga one should have mind purity or a serene mind. This can be achieved only by control of organs or senses. Such control can be best achieved by Karma yoga. So Karma yoga is step for Gyana yoga and they are not opposed to each other.

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