Tuesday, November 20, 2007


The river flowing in Madurai is called by three names: Vaigai, Vegavathi and Kruthmala. As it flows fast it is called Vegavati. It flowed to the Vaiyam or earth, and so it is Vaiyai or Vaigai. As it flows around this city, it is called Krutha mala. Sri Koodala Azhagar Perumal is gracing the devotees from the banks of this river. Madura means pleasing or sweet. We will today [20th November, 2007] see the Second sloka of Fifth Chapter. Arjuna asked Sri Krishna to clarify which is better suited for him between Gyana yoga and Karma yoga. We may wonder whether there is any competition to choose between these two. An apparent view might have been impressed that Gyana yoga is inferior to Karma yoga. That was not the intention and we are studying Gita on the lines of Swami Ramanuja's Gita Bhashyam and Swami Vedanta Desika's Tatparya Chandrika. Actually, there is no choosing competition between these two. A few can follow Gyana yoga and a large number can follow Karma yoga and these followers are entirely different. Then why does Sri Krishna is advocating Karma yoga? Instead of asking which is better, our question should be which is better for a person in particular? We have to understand that the choice depends on the person and it would vary with person to person. Just like a medicine is prescribed to a particular person depending on the patient's history and constitution. All medicines are good but prescription will vary with patient. Here Arjuna asks what was best for him, a kshatriya engaged in protecting a kingdom, one incapable of controlling senses, one accustomed to karma right from birth and one who can not wait for the results for a long time. Sri Krishna is going to reply recommending Karma yoga for Arjuna. Now the sloka:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
sannyasah karma-yogas ca
nihsreyasa-karav ubhau
tayos tu karma-sannyasat
karma-yogo visisyate

"The Personality of Godhead replied: The renunciation of work[Gyana yoga] and work in devotionKarma yoga] are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work."

Tayas tu = between the two, karma yogo = Karma yoga, visisyate = is better than, karma sannyasat = that different from the Karma yoga, ie. Gyana yoga. Ubhau = both these, nissreyasa karau = are good [ for you, Arjuna]. Both Karma yoga and Gyana yoga are suitable for Arjuna. Here in the first line, it may appear that Sri Krishna is recommending both, but in the second line He makes it clear that His recommendation would be for Karma yoga. He has not told why He recommends Karma yoga. But we should know that it is easier to follow Karma yoga. We have to carefully see one point. In the first line He says both are suited for Arjuna. Does it mean he has a choice? This has been elaborately explained by Swami Vedanta Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika. When Sri Krishna says suitable, He means that will enable atman sakshatkaram. This is a permanent advantage. Both will lead to atman sakshatkaram. We have seen that following Gyana yoga is very difficult. We have to control our senses and we can not be doing what we normally do. Concentration of mind is essential. So, we have to filter out those who have these qualities and capabilities. Those incapable of practicing Gyana yoga have no choice and they have to resort to Karma yoga only. Of those having capacity to perform Gyana yoga, can they all resort to Gyana yoga? Here we have to see whether particular person in question, has loka sangraham or not. Loka sangraham means, as we saw earlier, those who have followers. So, even if one has the capacity to practice Gyana yoga, it would be followed by his followers. All such followers would naturally be not having the same capacity and so they would fail to achieve results in their pursuit of Gyana yoga. So this person also should not practice Gyana yoga. But if there is a person who does not have loka sangraham, then if he has the capacity to practice Gyana yoga, there is nothing to prevent him from practicing Gyana yoga.

Please see the flow chart at the top.

No comments: