Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 39


एषा तेऽभिहिता सांख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे त्विमां शृणु ।
बुद्ध्या युक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि ॥२-३९॥

esa te abhihita sankhye buddhir yoge tva imam shrinu
buddhya yukto yaya partha karmabandhanam prahasyasi ॥ 2-39 ॥

 

Transliteration

In Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 39 Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna, O Partha (son of Kunti)… whatever I have told you until yet, I shall summaries it all. My desire that you follow path of dharma (righteousness), follow your inner instincts, follow all that comes from within, maintain equipoise in all circumstances of life, realize that you were primarily a soul atman and not the manifest physical human form, life and death were only part of cosmic life, that souls atmans were eternal… could neither be created or destroyed, senses and sense objects were ephemeral, Moha (extreme emotional attachment) relates to physical manifest world and not world of souls atmans… all formed part of Sankhya, jnana yoga.

 

Further, I shall tell you merits of travelling path of karma yoga following which you shall cut across shackles of karma forever. As per law of karma… every single instance of karma produced a related reaction! Karma was binding in itself. The more we indulged in karma, more the bonding… increase of kleshas! For a spiritual seeker, mere desirelessness meant nothing. We had to free self from attachment to fruits of karma performed. More desires, more bonding (attachment) one experiences! To become free from shackles of karma forever, one needs following path of karma yoga that I shall detail to you now! Apart from following path of jnana yoga, you also need to follow path of karma yoga to reach god!

 

The Explanation

Though path of Sankhya, jnana yoga and path of karma yoga lead to same goal of life… but their functions, their attributes were entirely different. Path of jnana yoga leads to knowledge of inner self. It helps remove discrimination between world of souls’ atmans and God Almighty (Brahman in Hinduism). On contrary path of karma yoga demands human beings indulging in karma, nishkama karma way… without attaching self to fruits of karma performed. Unless we succeeded in negating karma to zero, we would never realize our true identity as a soul atman, the spirit within! Karma needs to be burnt in entirety to reach god in present life, to realize our true inner self!

 

The human intellect (buddhi) acts as a medium for human beings to realize hidden cosmic truths of life!

 

In sacred texts of Hinduism, two forms of Nishtha are prevalent… Sankhya nishtha and Yoga nishtha! Sankhya nishtha correlates to path of jnana yoga (Sankhya) described above. As per Sankhya nishtha, though everything in cosmic world seemed to contain duality but duality was not part of cosmic system. As per practice of Sankhya nishtha, there was no duality between Jiva and Brahman, Ishwar and Bhakta, God and seeker. All was based on Advaita philosophy propagated by Adi Shankaracharya. As per Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, god almighty was the only truth of life! Beyond god nothing existed in cosmos.

 

Sankhya darshan was different from Sankhya philosophy (Sankhya yoga). Sankhya darshan speaks of Dvaita (duality)… a doctrine primarily believed and followed by Mimamsakas! Bhakti yoga forms part of Sankhya darshan, not Sankhya yoga or Sankhya nishtha. For a Bhakta, god was an entirely different entity that needs worshipping. A Bhakta always followed path of religion (path of rituals) and never indulged in path of jnana yoga (path of Sankhya nishtha). Followers of bhakti yoga never believe in the fact that human beings could reach level of a man god like Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammed! Praying and worshipping god all the time was their pastime.

 

But in Sankhya nishtha worship is done considering Jiva and Brahman, Ishwar and Bhakta, God and seeker being the same. From spirituality point of view, only Nishtha of Sankhya Yogis withstood all tests of time. As per Lord Krishna also, the distinction between Jiva and Brahman, Ishwar and Bhakta, God and seeker did not exist. Lord Krishna further tells Arjuna that path of jnana yoga was necessitated to realize precepts of Sankhya nishtha! For realizing we were primarily a soul atman, the spirit within path of jnana yoga was an absolute must! The Advaita philosophy propagated by Adi Shankaracharya also was flawless! In Advaita philosophy, the physical manifest world was a creation of Maya (veil of illusion).

 

Moment our ignorance dissolved completely, what remained was God Almighty alone in all its glory!

 

There is a quote in Lalita Sahasranama, which says… one who makes distinction between Devi (goddess) and a Bhakta (traveler of path of bhakti yoga) was doing so out of ignorance. As per Advaita philosophy… there was no distinction between Devi (goddess) and a Bhakta. On spiritual platform both were primarily the same. When dross impurities within physical manifest self removed forever, one practically became the object itself! When dross impurities within a Jiva (souls’ atmans) removed forever, they regained their lost original pure prime pristine primordial form and merged with the greater whole… God Almighty himself (Brahman in Hinduism).

 

Krishna further expounds doctrine of Yoga nishtha. Spirituality Yoga nishtha stands for karma yoga. As per Krishna all types of karma were binding. The more we indulged, greater the involvement in karma! In Hinduism scriptures this aspect has been defined as karma bandhan (something that binds). To gain release from karma bandhan, to liberate self from bondage of karma… precepts of karma yoga have been further defined by Lord Krishna. The following quote of Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita chapter 3 verse 9… loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah… confirms that karma performed with an attached attitude results in karma bandhan, bondage of karma! As a human being we could never attach self to fruits of karma performed. Only when we indulged in karma with an unattached attitude, the karma was not binding!

 

If all the time we desire reaping fruits of karma performed, where was the question of relief from bondage of karma forever! For a spiritual seeker, for a karma Yogi… indulging in karma with an unattached attitude was the only way of life. Travelers of religious path, those indulging in rituals never truthfully realized this aspect of karma fully. Indulgence in rituals was binding. Spirituality demands indulgence in karma within an attached attitude. The path of both religion and spirituality were miles apart. Religion never led one to God Almighty whereas treading spiritual path any human being world over could easily reach god in ones lifetime.

 

Referring to this quote of Śrī Īśopaniṣad Mantra 2 (also Isha Upanishad Mantra 2)…

कुर्वन्नेवेह कर्माणि जिजीविषेच्छतँ समाः ।
एवं त्वयि नान्यथेतोऽस्ति न कर्म लिप्यते नरे ॥२॥

kurvanneveha karmani jijivisecchhataD samah ।
evam tvayi nanyatheto’sti na karma lipyate nare ॥ 2 ॥

It clearly says that human beings must live hundred years of life while indulging in karma nishkama karma way. When we indulged in karma as detailed in Hinduism scriptures, when we indulged in karma with an unattached attitude towards fruits of karma performed, such karmas were not binding on one.

 

It is further said that apart from path of karma yoga, there was no other path that led to God Almighty! In simple words it means… non-indulgence in karma never led to God Almighty. Abandoning karma, abandoning duty carried no meaning in spiritual world. In a battlefield arrayed for war… it was not for Arjuna to quit the battle on grounds of compassion, love for close relatives and friends.

 

Karma had to be dissolved in totality. Karma could never be undone by any other means. We have to indulge in karma to negate karma to zero forever. This becomes possible when we indulged in karma nishkama karma way… offering fruits of karma performed to God Almighty all the time! We must live life like a trustee, taking care of things as if everything belonged to God Almighty!

 

Mukti from karma can only be achieved by indulgence in karma, nishkama karma way! We must always indulge in karma so that it does not create any bondage at any stage of life. Desirelessness, non-indulgence in karma never results in dissolving karma forever. As per Hinduism scriptures… every single thought precipitates into an act of karma! As the flow of thoughts to our brain could not be stopped willingly… it would be wise on our part to indulge in karma, without seeking fruits of karma performed.

 

Many people considered Vedas as scriptures of Hinduism that propagate Sakaam karma. This was an anomaly… a total misnomer! Vedas propagate indulgence in yagna but with an unattached attitude. Vedas are direct revelations to mankind from God Almighty. They could never be termed wrong or incomplete. It is only we who failed to understand the underlying inner meaning. As per Krishna, Vedas do not propagate indulgence in karma that was binding. Rather all mantras in Vedas propel one towards God Almighty… gaining enlightenment in present life!

 

As per Lord Krishna Vedas indulged in path of jnana yoga, essence of atman brahman! Indulgence in yagna was only the path, gaining enlightenment… the ultimate goal of life! Vedas do not propagate karmas that were binding. By indulging in right karma, proper karma… by offering fruits of karma performed to God Almighty all the time… one can cut across all shackles of karma forever. As long as we attached self to fruits of karma performed, we never truly gained anything in spiritual life!

 

Referring to this quote of Srimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15 Verse 15…

सर्वस्य चाहं हृदि संनिविष्टो मत्तः स्मृतिर्ज्ञानमपोहनं च ।
वेदैश्च सर्वैरहमेव वेद्यो वेदान्तकृद्वेदविदेव चाहम् ॥१५-१५॥

sarvasya cha aham hridi sanivistah
mattah smritih gyanam apohanam cha
vaideh cha sarvaih aham eva vedhyah
vedankrita vedavitta eva cha aham ॥ 15-15 ॥

 

Lord Krishna says, through Vedas it is me who is to be known. I am subject and object of all Vedas. Only through me serious seekers of spirituality finally reached god. All knowledge in Vedas is rendered through me. I am that Brahman exposition of which is detailed in Vedas. The enunciation of all knowledge contained in Vedas was directed towards me. Through Vedas I am to be known. I am the source of all jnana wisdom contained in Vedas. I also am that disseminator of all knowledge contained in Vedas. Beyond me nothing exists in Vedas.

 

If Mimamsakas say that Vedas only propagate knowledge of yagna (Sakaam karma), they feigned ignorance in matters as spiritual. The jnana wisdom contained in Vedas was not limited to reaching swarga (Heaven) as expounded by Mimamsakas.

 

Referring to this quote of Mundaka Upanishad 1.1.4…

तस्मै स होवाच । द्वे विद्ये वेदितव्ये इति ह स्म
यद्ब्रह्मविदो वदन्ति परा चैवापरा च ॥४॥

tasmai sa hovacha ।
dve vidye veditavye iti ha sma
yad brahmavido vadanti para chaiv apara cha ॥4॥

 

Lord Krishna says that two types of Vidyas existed in this world… Para Vidya and Apara Vidya! Para Vidya stood for knowledge of the unknown… God Almighty himself (Brahman in Hinduism). Para Vidya relates to Atma jnana, Brahma jnana. Apara Vidya stands for knowledge of material world. Vedas come into the category of Apara Vidya. Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads fall in category of Para Vidya. As Vedas support yagnas… they primarily dealt with material world.

 

Still, both Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads do not neglect Vedas. As both paths were necessary to reach god… importance of Vedas in spiritual world equated with that of Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads (independent treatises)! The essence of all these three categories of scriptures laid in acceptance of Brahman as the ultimate source of life in cosmic system. Vedas, Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads… all epitomize the world of souls’ atmans and Brahman in all its glory.

 

Lord Krishna finally sums it all by saying that path of karma yoga also was necessitated to reach god in present life. This would otherwise mean that God Almighty could not be reached only via path of jnana yoga (absolute wisdom) contained in Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. Living in Samsara (worldly life) one could not avoid indulging in karma. As advised by Krishna… we must always indulge in karma, offering fruits of karma performed to God Almighty all the time.

 

As everything contained in Bhagavad Gita was an allegory to spiritual values in life… In Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 39 Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to indulge in karma, to prepare self for fighting battle of Dharma (War of righteousness) as none could escape clutches of karma. One could never shun karma as did Siddhartha Gautama. Just by touching feet of wife and child, one could not absolve self of karma in totality. Karma never dissolved that way. Karma needs to be burnt in entirety. This only becomes possible when we indulged in karma, nishkama karma way… by offering fruits of karma performed to God Almighty all the time.

 

Lord Krishna that exists within us in miniscule form as our soul atman, the spirit within all the time prompts us from within to indulge in karma… nishkama karma way! It all the time tells us that journey of life, the ephemeral journey of life on mother earth belonged to our real inner self… our soul atman, the spirit within! As our soul atman, the spirit within was the absolute master and controller of human body… it becomes absolute duty of human beings to do bidding of soul atman, the spirit within all the time! When we indulged in karma with an unattached attitude, such karma was not binding on us and did not result in karma bandhan! Slowly pace by pace we indulged in karma and finally negated it to zero.

 

This is the stage of Nirvikalpa Samadhi (absolute nothingness) when not a single thought entered our brain uninvoked. One finally reaches stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana) and finally moksha salvation. In Geeta Chapter 2 Verse 39 Lord Krishna highlights the difference between path of jnana yoga and path of karma yoga! To undertake spiritual journey in present life, our indulgence in karma was ordained by God Almighty. Why? If it were not so… not thousands but millions would throng to religious centers of learning like Haridwar, Rishikesh or Varanasi! For travelling spiritual path, leaving confines of home was not necessitated. Remaining wherever we are, we could reach god in present life!

 

Running after religious practices, rituals carried no meaning in spiritual world. Lord Krishna advises all to look within… to reach our soul atman, the spirit within… our true inner self that all the time resides in our heart! God Almighty is never found in external confines of cosmos, it all the time existed within us in miniscule form… as our soul atman, the spirit within! Indulgence in path of jnana yoga would help remove ignorance. Indulgence in path of karma yoga administers our indulgence in day-to-day activities of life, our duty as laid in scriptures! Not willing to fight War of Dharma (righteousness) on grounds of compassion was no excuse for Arjuna to withdraw from war.

 

If we were to reach god in present life… our indulgence in karma, our duties were mandated by God! We had no other alternative than to follow dictates of our soul atman, the spirit within!

 

Commentary by: Vijay Kumar “Atma Jnani”… The Man who Realized God in 1993 – Sep 24, 2014

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