Then, in due course some sages found out that Veda is not all this karmakāṇḍa at all. There is so much of knowledge! So, they discovered the knowledge of the Veda and that knowledge discovered from the Veda is ‘Upanishads’. Therefore Upanishads are called jñānakāṇḍa, and there came about a conflict in Indian history between Jnanakandis and Karmakandis, both claiming that they are teaching better: both are right. But they did not know that they are right only ‘partially’: both elements are present and basically those who are doing sacrifices are those who get stuck at a lower level and that they are not trying to see something farther than what the sacrifices can give you. These people who are stuck in karmakāṇḍa, they developed a philosophy and they said that human beings must constantly desire, because by desire you are led to sacrifice, and by sacrifice you get the rewards and you enjoy the rewards. According to this philosophy human beings must desire. Then as a result of desiring they should strive to get the fruits of action and enjoy the fruits of action. And in order to enjoy higher and higher the fruits of action you go on doing more and more sacrifices and try to get better and better fruits of action. This philosophy became so powerful that people began to believe that Veda is nothing than a science of desire and attainment of the fruits of action.
In the time when Arjuna was asking this question, at that time Veda was known is this aspect. Since, according to this philosophy, Veda deals with Karma, and now Sri Krishna is going to explain what is Karma from the point of view of Buddhiyoga, He refers to Veda, He refers to karmakāṇḍa, and He says that “those people who are vedavādaratāḥ, (II,42), who are engaged in the vedavāda, they only talk of ‘action’ and ‘fruits of action’, and I will now teach you by Buddhiyoga that ‘this’ is an imperfect teaching, and this is not the true teaching of Karma. I will now teach you what is real karma”.
We will proceed further:
“O son of Pritha! Unwise men speak flowery words and are supposedly followers of the Vedas and are devoted to the various fruity activities for devotion so they can reach heavenly planes, saying that apart from the ritualistic sacrifice, there is nothing else.” (II, 42)
“Indulge in desires, considering heaven the highest goal, they engage themselves in Karmas only for the sake of prosperity and enjoyment. Thus they create a Karmic basis for future embodiments.” (II, 43)
“Attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, with intellect deprived of discriminative power, they are bewildered by such things and are unable to develop that one-pointed intellect which leads to Samadhi and super consciousness.” (II, 44)
“The Karma portion of the Vedas deals only with three Gunas. Therefore, you become transcendental of these three Gunas.” (That is the lower portion of the Vedic teaching and you should not get stuck there)…“Be free from all dualities. Abide by the eternal Sattwa and having established yourself in the Self, rise above Yoga and Ksema.” (II, 45)
I think we shall stop here because a new subject starts. It is a detail of this Karma: what is Karma, what is desire, and how by Buddhiyoga you can understand the entire process of Karma and arrive at the right perception of Karma, so you can do action rightly?