Object, Instrument and Method of Yoga
States of Equality – sannyāsa, and tyāga
This chapter is entitled ‘sāṅkhya yoga’. Sankhya means Jnanayoga, Yoga means Karmayoga. Therefore, this chapter is centred on Jnanayoga and Karmayoga and the centre of this chapter is Buddhi. By the power of Buddhi you can enter into Jnana yoga, by the power of Buddhi you can enter into Karmayoga.
The first part of the 2nd chapter is devoted to the Buddhi as applied in Jnanayoga, and it is said that by applying Buddhi, you understand and realise what is permanent, eternal and when you know what is eternal, you get freedom from grief. You get liberated: mokṣa. But that is the application of Buddhi, in such a way that even if you do action, you still get free from grief, and you get liberation, and that is what we have been centred upon. The first statement of Karmayoga is that, “To action alone you have the right and not to its fruits, and do not do action for the sake of the enjoyment of fruits”. This is where we had reached last time.
We had also added two more sentences that, ‘If you can do an action in a state of equality then you have the measure that you are really doing Karmayoga. Do Karma, do action but have a state of equality that will be the standard, you will be able to judge whether you are doing Karmayoga or not.’ I added that this is where the 2nd chapter ends as far as Karmayoga is concerned.
With the 3rd chapter we are told a new secret of Karmayoga, namely that when you can do Yoga of Karma by sacrificing the work, the concept of yajñā is emphasised in the 3rd chapter. And 3rd chapter is specially designed for Karmayoga alone. This chapter is both: Sankhya and Yoga, (Jnanayoga and Karmayoga). The 3rd chapter is centrally concentrated upon Karmayoga and the secret that is revealed in the 3rd chapter is that, ‘When you do the Karma, you should do it as a sacrifice.’
And the 4th chapter goes further in Karmayoga and although it is entitled ‘Jnanayoga’, we shall see why, but it still continues the definition of Karmayoga. And the secret that is told in the 4th chapter is that when you continue action with the state of equality and as a sacrifice, then in due course, you are elevated to such an extent, that your action is not only action for the Divine, but your action itself becomes Divine’s work (divyam karma). Not your work for the Divine but Divine Himself acting through you, and Divine’s own action passes through you. That is the culmination of Karmayoga that comes in the 4th chapter.
At this stage it is good if we can ask ourselves, why should Karmayoga be called ‘Yoga’? In other words, what is the definition of Yoga? And what is the precise distinction between Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, and Bhaktiyoga?
Every Yoga must have three aspects: there is an object of Yoga, there is an instrument by which Yoga is done, and there is the method of Yoga, a process of Yoga. So you cannot say that you have studied Yoga unless you can answer these three questions. ‘Karmayoga’ why is it so called? You must know what the object of Karmayoga is, what is the instrument by which you are conducting Karmayoga; and what the method of doing it is.
Let us answer these three questions, because we are now studying the Bhagavad Gita not merely as outside students, but as somewhat more competent students so that we have a Shastric knowledge, a scientific knowledge, a much more intimate knowledge of the book itself.