Essays on the Gita - Track 904

Now, as against this view there are others who believe that Sri Krishna considers 'devotion' as the real path. It is not the path of Knowledge, nor the path of Action. It is the path of Devotion that emphasised by Sri Krishna throughout. Now, here also we can have so many statements with the Gita which can confirm this; even in the second chapter itself after stating so much about Knowledge and about Action. The last sentence says that: "Now, you put yourself into Me and that is your ultimate salvation." So, "Put yourself into Me" that is Devotion. So, even in the second chapter itself which is largely detailing the path of Knowledge and Action, with a greater emphasis on action, even that chapter ends ultimately by an emphasis upon 'submitting yourself to Me', to the Divine. And then, when you come to the other chapters, the chapters 9, 10, 11, 12, where Sri Krishna describes who is the dearest to Me, mama priyao, who is the dearest to Me, that is the description that they give, and this is the description of a devotee, one who is a real Bhakta is dearest to Me; and even the last sentence of the Bhagavad Gita: sarvadharman parityajya mam ekaLj §araoao vraja, (XVIII, 66) seems to be giving you the ultimate point of complete devotion and surrender to the Divine, and this is the highest. Now, this line of argument subordinates all the propositions which are made in favour of Knowledge, the idea of nirvaoa for example, the idea of complete silence, complete peace, the knowledge of the Self, knowledge of putastha, one who is absolutely established within one self, where Sri Krishna says that "all actions ends in knowledge"; this is also one of the great statements of the Bhagavad-Gita: all actions ultimately result in Knowledge, culminate into Knowledge. All these statements are subordinated, and we are told that these are only steps but ultimately the highest state is only that of devotion to the Supreme Divine. Therefore cultivate this supreme devotion, and whenever you do any kind of activity of Knowledge or Action it is only a stepping stone but the real ultimate grounding, ultimate resting place is in Devotion. It also subordinates all propositions regarding action, as the all actions are simply a stepping stone until you reach the supreme divine, and then when you reach there all actions drops away, and there is only the surrender to the divine, and ecstasy of the union with the divine.

Now, there is a third school which speaks of the Gita as the gospel of Works. And if there is one thing which the Gita emphasises, and for which there does not seem much argument at all, is that one must do work, and the whole Bhagavad-Gita is nothing but an enunciation of what work, what is work? And how the work is to be done? Which kind of work is to be done? Is there any special kind of work? Or any work? So, it is said that the whole of the Bhagavad-Gita is nothing but an examination of this, and which begins with action, exhortation to action, and ends with an exhortation to action. So, once again one can put forward line of argument to support that the whole of the Bhagavad-Gita is nothing but a teaching of Karma Yoga; that Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga are subordinate; ultimately, all this is to culminate in Karma Yoga.

So, there have been interpretation of the Bhagavad-Gita on all these three lines, and therefore so much of controversies in our country; but really speaking, all the three propositions are true in themselves. Sri Krishna teaches that supreme knowledge is the most desirable thing, that supreme devotion to the divine is the most desirable thing, and the highest action is the most desirable thing; and all the three propositions stand together in the Bhagavad-Gita; they are not opposed to each other.

To show that this is the case we have to read the Gita in minute detail so that we may not miss any important clue to what is called a ""synthesis of Karma, Jnana, and Bhakti", a real synthesis, and what is the ground of synthesis. According to some, even synthesis is not possible; ultimately you have to make a choice between one or the other, although you may use one or the other as a subordinate, as a ladder, but ultimately you have to make a choice and the right choice should be that one which is advocated by one or the other.

So, there is a question of a synthesis. Is the synthesis possible? Can you combine Knowledge and Action? Can you combine Devotion and Action? Is it possible at all even psychologically? There are some people who believe that if you go into the path of Knowledge, action is really impossible. And there are many states of our own even of the ordinary life, when you start reading the book and get absorbed in it, and somebody call you for some work, it is a very difficult tension in the mind to come out of this reading pursuit of knowledge, and then to start doing some work: the two seem to be so conflicting with each other psychologically. So that you may even say that Action and Knowledge can never be combined together it is impossible. And when you reach the highest state of Knowledge, highest state of silence, in silence can there be any action at all? The two are opposite of each other. Knowledge consists of arriving at "The silence of the Self". The Self which is perfect in itself, the self which needs nothing, which wants nothing, which is self sufficient, which is self existent, when you reach into that there is a complete nirvana, complete extinction of any movement: it is an immersion into a peace of a peace, a peace into peace, silence into silence, and therefore to do any action is an impossibility. Where there is a complete silence, how can there be action?