‘Synthesis of Knowledge and Action’
Summary of Chs. 5–6
So, I have seen today is a propitious day to concentrate upon 5th & 6th chapters. As we have said, we should read the 5th & 6th chapters together: there is a close link between the two. In fact there is a close link among all the first 6 chapters of the Gita.
So, once again let us say something that we have already said about these two chapters, just to get the link. The 5th chapter starts with a question from Arjuna, in the same way in which the 3rd chapter also begins with a question of Arjuna, and both these questions are similar questions. If you open page 127, 3rd chapter and the first verse, where Arjuna says:
jyāyasī cet karmaṇas te matā buddhir janārdana |
tat kiṁ karmaṇi ghore māṁ niyojayasi keśava ||1|| (III)
“If, according to you, intelligence or knowledge is far superior to action, then, why do you throw me into action, which is so terrible, karmaṇi ghore, ghoraṁ karma, why do you throw me into a terrible action, not only action but terrible action.”
And the 3rd chapter was then the explanation. But the question is, once again raised in another form, in the 5th chapter; and the reason why the similar question has been raised, (not exactly the same but a similar question has been raised), because even though Sri Krishna has explained in the 3rd chapter, the secret of action, and as we saw in the 3rd chapter the secret of action that is given is that: Karma has to be done as a sacrifice, yajñārtham, as a yajñā, as a sacrifice. And in the 4th chapter yajñā is explained in a large way, in which action and knowledge are to be synthesised, and combined, and since this combination of Knowledge and Action is still complex, there is a room for this kind of a questioning, which is similar to the questioning, which has started with the 3rd chapter.
In other words, unless we understand the relationship between Action and Knowledge, in a proper manner, which we have done at length in our previous dialogues, and the proper relationship between Action and Knowledge is that: Knowledge is always superior to Action, which does not mean that Action is therefore to be thrown away. Merely saying that Knowledge is superior to Action does not mean that Knowledge is to be thrown away. But it is always true that Knowledge is superior to Action, but Knowledge itself gets fulfilled in Action, so that if Action is not done, the Knowledge is not fulfilled; that which is superior gets fulfilled when Action is performed. That is why the justification of Action; so you might say that Action is therefore a consequence, but a necessary consequence if you want a fulfilment. Now, this relationship is often not understood, and therefore, we simply say which is superior knowledge is superior or Action is superior. And therefore, the question continues. Our human consciousness always wants to do that which is superior, and in Sri Krishna’s answer, whenever Knowledge is described, He always says rightly that Knowledge is superior to Action. Even while praising that Action should be performed, He does not give up the basic proposition that Knowledge is always superior to Action. And if you do yajñā, if you do Action…