Text of the Bhagavagd Gita (Mother's Institute of Research) - Session 19: Chapter 5—Verses 1-5 (15 April 1999)

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 ||3.1||

“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…

So, Sri Krishna constantly underlines the superiority of Knowledge over Action; but with regard to Action He constantly says that Karma is preferable. Why preferable? Because Karma gives you the fulfilment. If we understand this relationship, the problem actually ceases.

But in spite of all that Sri Krishna has said so far, this question still remains in the mind of Arjuna. And that is because in the time of Arjuna, there had come about a great emphasis on the word ‘sannyāsa’; and ‘sannyāsa’ was a word associated with the word ‘Knowledge’. And it was said that sannyāsa is far superior to anything else in the world. That is why Arjuna under the influence of the ideas, which were prevalent at that time, has built up a psychological reverence for sannyāsa, and wherever there is an emphasis on jñāna, he feels there is an emphasis on sannyāsa. And he feels that the mood, in which he is now gripped, of going away from the battlefield, is also sannyāsa. And when he says, “I will go away from the battlefield and not fight”, he is actually following a greater path of sannyāsa, and Sri Krishna seems to be saying something contrary to it, and yet in answering He constantly praises jñāna, constantly praises sannyāsa. So, this is a confusion, which requires to be straightened.

And in the chapter 5 & 6, it is this which is straightened, you might say once for all; but actually in the mind of Arjuna, it still remains. Even in the last chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna comes again to sannyāsa, and tyāga; we shall come to that later on, but at the moment we are still at this point where this question has to be straightened.

So, let us see the question that is put at the very beginning of chapter 5:

saṁnyāsaṁ karmaṇāṁ kṛṣṇa punar yogaṁ ca śaṁsasi |
yacchreya etayor ekaṁ tan me brūhi suniścitam ||5.1||

“O Krishna, you are praising the renunciation of action, and again you are praising performance of action; between the two, etayor, between the two, yacchreya, what is better; tan me brūhi, that you tell me; suniścitam, with definiteness.”

Again, he is complaining that, “You are talking a language, which is bewildering, perplexing, ambiguously, therefore: suniścitam; you just tell me with definiteness, which one of them between the two is better: renunciation of action or performance of action, which is better?”

Now, Sri Krishna answers this question, and He says:

saṁnyāsaḥ karmayogaśca niḥśreyasakarāv ubhau | (5.2)

“The renunciation of action and performance of action, both of them lead you to the supreme welfare: niḥśreyasakarāv ubhau, both of them lead you to the supreme welfare; tayos tu, however, between the two, karmasaṁnyāsāt karmayogo viśiṣyate, which is definiteness now: between the two, karmayogo viśiṣyate, performance of action is superior.”

Now, this superiority is not in the sense in which Knowledge is superior to Action. This is because in terms of fulfilment, Karma yoga is superior; Karma yoga is also superior because it is much easier to pursue. If you want to renounce action, then, the process of renunciation of action is much more difficult than performance of action. From both these points of view, karmayogo viśiṣyate, that which fulfils, and that which is easier to follow. Now, why is it easier to follow Karma yoga? Because karmasaṁnyāsāt: if you want to give up action altogether, it is very difficult. Because even for the maintenance of the body you have to do action: breathing itself is an action. So, if you want to renounce action altogether, you might say in a sense it is impossible. The real ‘Karma Sannyasa’ is basically impossible unless you leave the body altogether. But so long that you are caught up in the body, even if you want to renounce action, it is not possible.

Therefore, all those who follow the process of renunciation of action, even they concede that you should do action but do minimum action. Even those people who want to renounce action their prescription is that since you cannot give up all actions, you simply reduce your action to the minimum: that which sustains your body. And then, they say that you do only certain kinds of Karma. So, there is a whole theory of what kinds of Karma you should do of the minimum amount. So, even those who want to renounce action, even propose some actions at least, although minimum, and certain important actions. That being the case, it is better and much easier to accept the fact that performance of action itself can be used for your highest welfare; so, it is much easier. And also if you do that, you arrive at a greater fulfilment: therefore, karmayogo viśiṣyate.

Now, Sri Krishna however brings out what is called ‘identity of the process of Knowledge and the process of Action’. Here of course He says that karmayogo viśiṣyate, ‘it is much better’. But now, Sri Krishna goes one step farther, and He says that, actually speaking, Sankhya, which is the process of Knowledge, and Yoga, which is the process of Action are basically one and the same thing. Why is it so? Because He says: “Look at the ‘heart’ of the matter”. What is the heart of Sankhya? And what is the heart of Karma yoga?

Karma yoga certainly prescribes that you should perform action; but performance of action is not the heart of Karma yoga. As I said earlier, the Karma yoga of the Gita is not a Karma yoga of ‘duty’. In the Karma yoga, which simply says, “you do your duty”, performance of action is the very heart of duty. But, the Karma yoga that Sri Krishna gives here is a Karma yoga in which Knowledge is superior to Action: that is the very basis of this Karma yoga. And Sri Krishna says that you cannot really be a Karmayogi unless you do Karma with Knowledge: you don’t do merely action for the sake of duty, for performance of duty, but you do your action with Knowledge.

And what Knowledge? Knowledge of yajña; and this Knowledge of yajña, is a Knowledge of the whole universe, and where you perceive that the whole world is nothing but a sacrifice. In that sacrifice you come to know who is the sacrificer, what is the real fire, and who is the receiver of the fire, of the oblation that you made. In other words, without the Knowledge of the Supreme, without the knowledge that the Supreme is the doer of all actions, without your putting yourself into the hands of the Divine, and realising that Divine Himself is performing action through you, unless all this Knowledge is born in you, you are not a Karmayogi. So, the heart of Karma yoga is all this great Knowledge. So, since Knowledge is the very heart of Karma yoga, and the very heart of Jnana yoga is Knowledge, since both of them impose upon you a true Knowledge, both are one and the same.

Now, on the basis of this, even the attitudes, which are required, both in the process of Sankhya and in the process of Yoga, are identical. What are those attitudes? And it is that, which is explained in the verse 3:

jñeyaḥ sa nityasaṁnyāsī yo na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati |
nirdvandvo hi mahābāho sukhaṁ bandhāt pramucyate ||5.3||

This is where Sri Krishna now declares very definitively: “You speak of renunciation of Action, but what is the real renunciation of Action? That which is renunciation of action is not merely becoming niṣkriya; it is not that you come out of the observance of keeping fire alive in your house; because that was also the meaning of Karma in that time. A Karmayogi or Karmi or karamkāṇḍi, is one who always takes care to see that the fire constantly burns in his house; niṣkriya, He says, to be niṣkriya is not the process, the essence of Jnana yoga. The essence of Jnana yoga is not that you cease to become one who does not care to keep fire in his house. What is the essence of it? yo na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati, ‘that’ is the real renunciation; not niṣkriyata, but one who does not become jealous: na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati, real renunciation is only this.

Whether you do action or you do not do action, the common point is only this: both in Karma yoga and in Jnana yoga, both of them have to arrive at this state of consciousness, na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati; he has no ambition, he does not desire, he does not have any jealousy; nirdvandvo, he is free from all dualities. It is ‘this’ condition, which you should consider to be sannyāsa, and if you take this meaning then, Karma yoga and Jnana yoga become equal because in both the cases this sannyāsa has to be obtained. The meaning by which sannyāsa means giving up action, and to arrive at niṣkriyata, and giving up the performance of duties by which fire is kept alive in your house, if this is what you mean by sannyāsa, that is not the real meaning of sannyāsa. The real sannyāsa is only this psychological attitude: na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati nirdvandvo.

If this is the meaning then, in the 4th verse Sri Krishna says:

śāṁkhyayogau pṛthagbālāḥ pravadanti na paṇḍitāḥ |

“That Sankhya and Yoga are different. That the path of Knowledge and the path of Action are different from each other, only bālāḥ pravadanti, only children speak of the difference”: they are not mature, they do not understand.

ekam apy āsthitaḥ samyag ubhayor vindate phalam ||5.4||

“Actually speaking both are one: samyag, identical. And in that sense when you realise it is one, then whether you follow what you call Jnana yoga or whether you follow Karma yoga, it is the same thing.”

The reason is that according to Sri Krishna there are two ways of approach, which differ in the starting point, but they don’t differ in the heart. Sankhya may start with emphasis on Knowledge. Karma yoga may start with an emphasis on Action. But even when you start with the process of Knowledge you have to arrive at a stage of consciousness in which na kāṅkṣati na dveṣṭi, there you arrive at that stage of consciousness. If you start with Action, even there, in the middle of your movement, you must at this condition, na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati nirdvandvo, you do not desire, you do not arrive at any kind of jealousy, and become free from duality. So, the middle, the heart is the same.

Secondly, usually Jnana yoga emphasises knowledge; in the middle it has to get rid of desire, and all dualities; at the end it arrives at the highest Knowledge and many people think it is the end of Jnana yoga. According to Sri Krishna that is not the end of Jnana yoga. Even when you get the Knowledge, you do not yet get fulfilled: that fulfilment comes only when you are able to act. Therefore, Jnana yoga starts with Jnana, ends with Jnana, but not fully get fulfilled in Jnana: this is the concept of Sri Krishna of Jnana yoga in the Bhagavad Gita. There is a Jnana yoga in which you start with Knowledge, you get rid of desire and duality, end with Knowledge and that is the end of the matter.

According to Sri Krishna that is not the end of the matter. After having attained that Knowledge, you gain a capacity by which you can fulfil that Knowledge. And why do you fulfil that Knowledge? Because when you realise that supreme Knowledge, you find that supreme Knowledge consists of the Knowledge of God as in action also. God Himself is acting: the whole world is a manifestation of God’s will. Once you know that God is in action, then how can you refrain from action? Wherever God is, there you should be. If God is in action how can you leave yourself and say let God do and I am not in it? The identity with God implies that you are also with God in His action. Therefore you get fulfilled when you pursue the path of action. In other words, you start with Knowledge, you attain to the supreme Knowledge, but then in supreme knowledge you find that God Himself is active and therefore you become an agent of God, and therefore you get fulfilled in action.

Therefore there is a synthesis of Jnana with Karma, although you start with Jnana. In Karma yoga it is the same thing: you start with Karma, in the middle you give up all the na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati, you arrive at a stage: that is the middle point, both are common. Then you arrive after this to the Knowledge. This process leads you to the Knowledge: yajña, which is the process of all this Karma yoga, arrives at the Knowledge, and in that Knowledge you find that the Supreme is acting, and you are simply the agent of that action. So, you get fulfilled.

So, here there are three steps also: you start with action, the middle point is na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati nirdvandvo, then you arrive at the Knowledge of the Supreme, which also you get in the field of Jnana yoga. You arrive at the Knowledge of the Supreme, and then you arrive at the same conclusion that since the Divine is acting, you cannot give up the Divine, you are one with Him, therefore automatically you begin to act, and that is the culmination of Karma yoga. This being the case, He says:

ekam apy āsthitaḥ samyag ubhayor vindate phalam ||5.4||

Ultimate result of both is the same, both of them have the same culmination; in both the cases the Knowledge is superior to Action; in both the cases you have to arrive at the condition in which you are nirdvandvo na kāṅkṣati na dveṣṭi.

Now, therefore to make it very clear in the 5th verse, Sri Krishna says:

yat śāṁkhyaiḥ prāpyate sthānaṁ tad yogair api gamyate |

“What you attain by the process of Knowledge at the end, is also obtained by the process of Karma yoga.”

ekaṁ śāṁkhyaṁ ca yogaṁ ca yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati ||5.5||

“Therefore, one who sees that Karma yoga and Jnana yoga is the same, it is “he” who rightly perceives.”

This is the first part and definite part of the answer of Sri Krishna, in which what He speaks of is, you might say: ‘synthesis of Knowledge and Action’. The only difference between the process of Knowledge and the process of Action is the starting point. You may emphasise more Knowledge in the starting point; you may emphasise more Action in the starting point. In the 2nd point you arrive at the same thing: the attitude is there of freedom from desire. The 3rd step is the same thing: you arrive at the Knowledge of the Supreme. In the 4th step, when you arrive at the supreme Knowledge, having seen that the Supreme Himself is acting, and you are one with Him, action automatically proceeds. Both of them arrive at a real synthesis of Action and Knowledge. That is why it is said that the first 6 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita give you the basis of the foundation of the synthesis of Knowledge and Action.

As yet, Bhakti is not brought in so much: that will come later on. That there is also to be a synthesis of Bhakti is only hinted at, when sometimes He says: “matparaḥ, you become fully imbued with Me.” So, the Bhakti element is only indicated in the first 6 chapters. This synthesis of Bhakti, of Jnana and Karma is very much emphasised in the chapter 7 to 12: that is the main substance of the Bhagavad Gita in the chapters 7 to 12, where it is said that, “Among all the Bhaktas the Jnani who is a Bhakta is best: one who knows Me and devotes himself to Me with full devotion, he is the real Bhakta.” That is the definition given there, and therefore, Jnana and Bhakti are both synthesised. But this synthesis obtained in the first 6 chapters between Jnana and Karma is continued. If you read the chapters 7 to 12, the synthesis of Knowledge and Action is present. But the emphasis falls upon the synthesis of Knowledge with Bhakti. As a result of it, at the end of the 12th chapter you get a full synthesis of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti. In a sense therefore, nothing more remains to be said in the Bhagavad Gita, and yet there are six more chapters thereafter.

So, what is the purpose of these six chapters? That when you have synthesised all this, since the fulfilment is in action, what is the nature of fulfilment of an action? That is fully described. The synthesis of Knowledge, Action and Devotion of course is the basis and foundation. But since the fulfilment…Bhagavad Gita is both the process of attainment of the culmination, and an exposition of the fulfilment. If it was only a question of attainment of the Divine, then it would be a different treatment. Bhagavad Gita is an exposition of the attainment of the Divine, and also the fulfilment of the Divine in life. And since Sri Krishna wants to explain to Arjuna the justification of the Action, which is the point of culmination of the fulfilment, until He comes to that point, the whole teaching remains incomplete. Therefore the last 6 chapters ultimately explain to Arjuna that having synthesised Knowledge, Action and Devotion, you arrive at the secret of the fulfilment of Action.

Therefore the supreme secret, secret of secrets, the supreme secret is contained only in the last six chapters. That is why we say: sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja,( XV||I, 66). That statement is the culminating point of the Bhagavad Gita. You arrive at an action, where even svabhāva, svadharma, all that also is given up. You simply arrive at that point where the Divine Himself, which is anantaguṇa, the Divine, which is completely free Himself, from whom all Dharma starts but who is not bound by any Dharma; from whom Dharmas may start, He may divide, He may decide, He may determine that this is for you the right thing or the bad thing, He may decide the norms, but He Himself is free from all norms. He is completely free. That is why it is said, ‘the divine action is simply the action of Grace’, and Grace by definition is that which does not depend upon anything; it is simply Grace: prasāda is prasāda, you cannot say that if you do this, then you will get prasāda. The Divine’s pleasure is automatic, it is spontaneous, He simply decides freely, not because you are so virtuous: it is not that He gives a reward of your virtue and says, “Because you are virtuous I now grace you and you attain to Me.” The Divine is not bound by it; He may decide that He will be bound by it. He may so decide, He may tell you, “If you do this, I will give you this”, but He is not bound. He is prasāda; He can select anybody.

Even Valmiki who is a robber by His grace suddenly can become a saint. A complete transfiguration of personality can occur immediately. As Sri Krishna says towards the end of the Gita, “Even caṇḍāla, even an outcaste”, that is to say the lowest kind and mean kind of man who is full of sins, “If he turns to Me, he becomes liberated”. And even if he says, “If he turns to Me”, there is a secret of it: nobody can turn to the Divine unless Divine Himself decides that, “Now he should turn to Me”. So, as Sri Aurobindo says: “He who chooses the Infinite has been chosen by the Infinite.” Already, otherwise you cannot even choose Him. The very fact that you are now turning to the Divine means Divine has decided already that prasāda has to be given to ‘this one’. Therefore, prasāda is always free, but that secret is given in the last 6 chapters. At the moment we are only told that Jnana, and karma both the processes are one and the same. And the culmination of this idea is to be found in the 6th chapter.

As I told you, we should study these two chapters simultaneously to some extent, so I shall also return again…

Now, 6th chapter, in the beginning, the very first 3 or 4 are a continuation of what He said here, in the first 5 verses of the 5th chapter. What he says,

śrībhagavān uvāca , Sri Krishna Himself says:

anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ |
sa saṁnyāsī ca yogī ca na niragnir na cākriyaḥ ||6.1||

He says: “One who is not dependent on karmaphalaṁ, on the fruits of action, and yet kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ, one who does action even when he is not dependent upon the fruits of action, sa saṁnyāsī ca yogī, he is at once the pursuer of the path of Knowledge and the pursuer of the path of Action, because in both the cases, he is the real Sannyasi.” Who is Sannyasi? “na niragnir na cākriyaḥ, do not think that he is Sannyasi who is ākriyaḥ, one who becomes free from…one who renounces action, do not say he is renounced. One who does not keep Agni in his house therefore he is…he has renounced, do not think so.”

These two are not the qualifications of Sannyasa, which normally was thought at that time. That one who sits down under the tree, does no action at all or he is under Sannyasa, that wrong notion, He said, you throw it away. One who does not keep any fire in his house, therefore he is Sannyasi; don’t keep that idea. You can be cākriyaḥ, you can have Agni in your house, and yet you become Sannyasi, how?

anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ |

You do action, even if you are doing actions, but one who does not depend upon the fruits of actions, he is the real Sannyasi; he is the real Karmayogi. So, both are the…same definition is given, therefore it is one and the same: sa saṁnyāsī ca yogī ca, he is the yogi and he is the Sannyasi. The essential point is na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati, it what is repeated here:

anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ |

is another definition of na kāṅkṣati na dveṣṭi nirdvandvo: one who does not do any action for the fruit of action that arises only when na kāṅkṣati, when he does not desire, when he does not envy anybody, and when he becomes free from all dvandvo. So, the first sentence is the same as what was given earlier: na kāṅkṣati na dveṣṭi.

Question: That means 5th chapter with Arjuna’s question replies in 6th chapter, 1.

You might say that 5th chapter first five, answers his question; first 4 verses. First question is Arjuna’s question, first verse. The next 4 verses are the answers. But that answer is fully again reaffirmed in the 6th chapter: that is why the two chapters are to be read together. Because the rest of the 5th chapter enunciates further the nature of divine action. Having done all that again in the 6th chapter, reiterates the conclusion that he has already arrived at in the 5th chapter. He is like a good teacher who again repeats, so it is again reaffirmed.

And then He continues in the next verse:

yaṁ saṁnyāsam iti prāhur yogaṁ taṁ viddhi pāṇḍava |
na hy asaṁnyastasaṅkalpo yogī bhavati kaścana ||6.2||

He says: “What is called Sannyasa, you should also know the same as Yoga; for no one can become a Yogin unless he renounces the desire for the fruits of action.”

This is the essence of it; we have already seen the analyses of it. You may start with Karma, or you may start with Jnana, but the middle point is: renunciation of desire, na kāṅkṣati na dveṣṭi nirdvandvo, that is the middle point for both. The third point also is the same: the Knowledge. When you give this up in the Jnana yoga, you arrive at the highest Knowledge; from here also you go on doing action, but that action cannot become fulfilled unless you know that Knowledge is superior to Action. Therefore you arrive at the highest Knowledge. Having arrived at the highest Knowledge, the result is: fulfilment in action. So, the difference if at all there is between the two is only the starting point: the emphasis you lay down upon it. But not in the real sense of the term, and that is the real basis of the synthesis of Jnana and Karma.

Now, in the 3rd verse:

ārurukṣor muner yogaṁ karma kāraṇam ucyate |
yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śamaḥ kāraṇam ucyate ||6.3||

When you are ascending the path, then if you are following the path of Karma yoga, then you emphasise Karma: yogaṁ kāraṇam ucyate, karma kāraṇam ucyate. When you are moving in Karma yoga, then in the movement of ascent you emphasise karma; but yogārūḍhasya, but when you are becoming the real Yogi, then what happens? tasyaiva śamaḥ, then all Karmas are burnt away. Why? Because when you have been doing Karma, and you realise that Knowledge is superior to Action, then Karma gets thrown into the yajña of Jnana. Then, this very Karma becomes burnt away. You continue action, but that Karma becomes burnt in the fire of Knowledge: yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śamaḥ kāraṇam ucyate, when your action is burnt away, then you really become Yogi: Karmayogi becomes one only when his Karma are burnt away. In other words, when he ends in Knowledge; and whatever proceeds is not his actions at all: his Karma is all thrown away, is burnt away. What action remains is only divine action. Divine is acting through him, and that is all. But as far as he is concerned, śamaḥ, his Karma becomes silenced, he is no more doing action.

yadā hi nendriyārtheṣu na karmasv anuṣajjate |
sarvasaṅkalpasaṁnyāsī yogārūḍhas tadocyate ||6.4||

“When one is not indulged in the objects of the senses, nor in actions, and has renounced all desires, then he is said to have exalted in yoga.”

He is Karmayogi only when his Karmas are so much burnt away, that even when he touches with his senses anything, it does not produce any reaction: it is all burnt away, all action, what we call action. Action is called ‘action which binds you’, only when ‘action’ produces a ‘reaction’, when our action produces a further action. But when you act, and it is burnt away immediately, then you are free even while doing action: you touch the same objects, but it has no…you do not tremble. Then you are free from all trembling because it is no more action, it is only a movement but a movement, which does not bind. Then you become a true Yogi.

So, the Knowledge and Action are both synthesised so much that all action is actually: ‘action which is burnt in the fire of Knowledge’. And if there is any reaction it does not produce… is not produced from your action; it is only the divine action, the Divine Himself is acting out; you are no more acting.

Now, this portion is the first part of the chapters’ 5 & 6: in what sense is Karma and Sankhya, Sankhya and Yoga are one and the same; the identity of Karma yoga and Jnana yoga, and the synthesis of the two.

Now, the remaining portions of the 5th & the 6th chapters deal with four important topics, but they are interrelated. For the sake of mental understanding you can divide four topics, but the way in which they are expanded, they are all combined.

The first part actually describes the divine worker. One who has reached the climax of the synthesis of Knowledge and Action, the one who has arrived at divyam janma, divyam karma, which was the topic of the 4th chapter, what is the divine birth and divine action, that divine birth and divine action can be really achieved only when Action and Knowledge are synthesised. Once you arrive at divine action, then Sri Krishna now gives you certain marks as to how you decide that this man is now doing divine action. Who is a divine worker? What are his characteristics? One who does not think that he is the doer: that is the first part of the divine worker. He is doing, actions proceed from him, but he knows that he is not the doer of actions; not that he merely says that, “I am not the doer”, many people say: (in Hindi) “yeh to Bhagavan karate hai main to nehi karta ho”. That is not merely saying; it is…you really perceive that God himself is doing it, even when you do not have any desire, you really perceive that in your consciousness, there is a complete absence of desire to act, there is no initiative: anārambhaḥ.

When you arrive at a point when you really are equal: equality is the second part of this very consciousness, when you really see, “I am really not the doer, I have not initiated the action at all, it has really proceeded from him”. Just as, when you are walking on the road in which you do not expect anything particular to happen, and suddenly a beautiful fruit falls from the tree, and falls into your hands, how will you say that, “I have made the fruit fall into my hands”? You see…clearly perceive that this fruit has just fallen from the tree automatically: “it has just come in my hands”. So, even if you say, “No, I wanted the fruit to come, and then I ordered the tree to get to drop on my hand, and then I am now the possessor of this fruit.” You cannot say because you have seen clearly that you are just walking, you are not even expecting, not even desiring about it, it has just come from the top, and the fruit has fallen into your hands.

Similar is the condition of the divine worker: he just… he knows, he sees very clearly that it is the Divine Himself who is working out. As Sri Krishna says, “You become the bow, or you become the flute”. The bow cannot by itself do anything, it is the arrow, which really does the thing; the bow is only the sadana, is only the resting place for the arrow. Bow by itself cannot fix the target; the bow by itself cannot pull the string. There is somebody else needed to pull the string, and it is by pulling the string in the right direction towards the target that the arrow flies, and the arrow does the work, the bow does not do anything at all. So, the highest idea that we get analogically of the divine worker is that you really become the bow.

This is the case of the flute also. The flute gives you music only when there is a blow of the wind: a blow of the wind is not the flute. The kind of the sound that is produced, the kind of music that is produced, is dependent upon the musician. The flute cannot by itself combine the various kinds of notes and produce the music. Therefore, just as in the flute, the flute is only the instrument and nothing else; just as in the case of the bow, it is only the instrument and nothing else; when you really see that without any desire, there was a perfect sense of equality in you, you really perceive, “I am not the doer, na karma karomi, I am really not the doer”. When you arrive at that real consciousness, then you are the divine worker.

The second is that there is no desire in you. The third is that there is equality in your consciousness. The fourth is that you have no personal hopes.

You have no personal hopes, nirāśī, this is the word, which we had come across in these verses: you are nirāśī. There is no āśā, not that you become pessimist: nirāśī does not mean that you are pessimist, but there is no personal hope. You don’t say, “I wish, I hope this will happen”. When a yogi says, ‘there is a hope’, it is the Divine Himself saying this: it is not that he has personal hopes. His hopes are no personal hopes; personal hopes are all gone. There is nothing that is personal in his case. He becomes impersonal. All his actions are impersonal; he is above all relationships. For him there is no friend and no foe; nor something near and somebody far: he is equal. These are the characteristics of a divine worker. Now, this is the description that you come across in the 5th chapter of the divine worker.

Then, there is a great enunciation of the state of equality. It is especially emphasised in this chapter, although it is a part of the nature of the divine worker, there is a greater emphasis on this sense of equality. What is equality? It is further defined. You might say that Gita is a Shastra of samatvaṁ. What is real equality? It is described basically in chapter 2, and chapter 5, and later on to some extent. But basically in chapter 2, and chapter 5, you have enunciation of the idea of equality. It is a real Shastra of equality, so that real equality is distinguished from semblances of equality. Many people knowing about the exaltation of the sense of equality, which you find in the Gita, many people like to think that they are already equal minded when they are really not equal minded, but they at least like to congratulate themselves by saying that: ‘we are equal minded’.

It is semblance of equality; it may seem to be equal. When your desires are fulfilled already, you say, “Now I am now equal”, that also happens. When you are very hard in your consciousness, whether this happens or that happens your heart is never moved, so you are equal minded. So, there are many semblances of equality, and which have to be clearly brought out, otherwise people will go in the wrong way. Therefore, Sri Krishna explains equality quite in detail. The equality of which Sri Krishna speaks is an equality, which can arise only when there is no desire, only when you are fully established in Knowledge, and when you have really the Knowledge of Oneness. You must really see brahma samambrahma, ‘the one Brahma in everyone’. True equality arises only when you are founded in a state of desire-less-ness, and when you have perceived oneness.

In fact Sri Aurobindo has described the Bhagavad Gita’s Karma yoga in his great book ‘The Synthesis of Yoga’, and He says, “The essence of Karma yoga, the whole Karma yoga of the Gita consists of combination of two things: equality and oneness.” When you are equal in your consciousness, and when you have seen oneness, and when in your process of action, in the end of action, in the culmination of action, in the fulfilment of action, when these two things remain firmly established then, you can be truly called ‘Karmayogi’. And this is the essence of the Karma yoga of the Bhagavad Gita. That is why, in the Bhagavad Gita, you will see a tremendous emphasis on equality and oneness.

Even in the 11th chapter, where viśvarūpa darśana is given, this viśvarūpa darśana is nothing but a ‘vast’ vision of oneness, one supreme reality manifesting, we shall see at that time when come to the 11th chapter: a vast vision of oneness. There is hardly any book in which equality and oneness are given such a tremendous prominence as in the Bhagavad Gita.

So, the 3rd portion of this chapter is devoted to perception of oneness. And Sri Krishna speaks of brahmanirvāṇa (5.24, 25&26): you become liberated in the Brahman. Brahman is the consciousness of oneness, and you really become liberated only when you attain to the Brahman consciousness. What is this Brahman? How do you remain in Brahman consciousness? Does Brahman consciousness mean that you become inactive afterwards? To correct it, Sri Krishna says that even when you remain in brahmanirvāṇa, you become engaged in lokahita ratāḥ, you become completely engaged in the tasks, in the actions, which are meant for the lokahita, for the welfare of the people. So, brahmanirvāṇa does not mean arriving merely at inactivity, it actually becomes a foundation of the fulfilment of action, which happens by remaining engaged in the welfare of the people. So, brahmanirvāṇa is also a part of these 5th & 6th chapters.

Then, comes the question of the role that individual has to play in lifting oneself from where we are now to this brahmanirvāṇa and lokahita ratāḥ. How do you lift yourself? Can one lift oneself at all? What is the process of lifting oneself? In fact this is the question, which is largely discussed in the 6th chapter. And in this process of lifting, one of the most difficult problems is the control of the mind.

Now, in the question of control of mind, we have in the 3rd chapter itself, Arjuna asking this question that even when we want to be lifted, we still are dragged into instability. What is it that makes our control so difficult? That question still remains alive in the mind of Sri Krishna, and therefore He says that if your mind refuses to be developed, refuses to be controlled, then, there is a very special process: the process of Raja Yoga, the process of Dhyana Yoga. Therefore, Dhyana Yoga is described in the 6th chapter; in fact the title of the 6th chapter is ‘Dhyana Yoga’. But this Dhyana Yoga comes in this context; unless we know the context, why the Dhyana Yoga comes in the 6th chapter, what is his position, we may not be able to put the right value of it. It arises in the context of the question as to how one can lift oneself from where you are to the highest level of the divine worker: this is the first thing, this is the context.

The second point is that you can do that only when you can control yourself, lift yourself. And what is the secret of lifting yourself? To know that you have two selves in you, that is the secret: to realise that you have two selves in you. There is a lower self and there is a higher self in you: ātmanā ātmānaṁ uddhared, this is the key word of the 6th chapter of Bhagavad Gita: ātmanā ātmānaṁ uddhared (6.5). You have a lower self, which has to be lifted by the higher self. You should not allow the lower self to sway you na avasādeyet (6.5), it should not make you down, you should always be lifted by the higher self.

This is one of the most important things, where Sri Krishna says that, “Yourself is your friend, yourself is your enemy; therefore, yourself which is your enemy should be controlled by yourself which is your friend.” In this process we will find that manaḥ cañcalaṁ that, “your mind is so vivacious, so unstable”. So, Sri Krishna knows the question of Arjuna, which he has already put. By what means this mana, which is so difficult to control, how is it dragged? what is the special procedure? Is there a special procedure? So, Sri Krishna says: “Yes, there is a procedure, the whole Raja Yoga, the Dhyana Yoga is meant for that purpose. If you find that your mind cannot be controlled, if your mind is controlled easily then, this process is not necessary, it is optional. There are many people who are born yogis, and they do not need to have so much of control because they are already self-controlled. But if you find, and even those who are self-controlled, some vivaciousness remains even in those, as Sri Krishna says even Jnanis, they cannot control Prakriti fully; even Jnanis are completely dragged sometimes:

prakṛitiṁ yānti bhūtāni nigrahaḥ kiṁ kariṣyati ||3.33||

It is Prakriti is so powerful that even if you want to do something, Prakriti throws away all the norms, bombards everything, even hundred resolutions you have taken, ‘no I will not do this wrong thing, this lower thing I will not do but when Prakriti starts behaving, vega, the force and the power, it wants now and here the immediate fulfilment of the desire. If you have this problem then, Sri Krishna says, “This Dhyana Yoga is the process: starts with Asana, do Pranayama, and control your mind by the process of Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana: this is the process, which we shall see, is described in the 6th chapter quite well.

And then, when you have reached again, once again the highest, in this case the whole Raja yoga becomes a part of the synthesis of Karma yoga and Jnana yoga. Jnana yoga is not a separate thing; it is a special procedure, which is given in the Bhagavad Gita as a special means of controlling the mind, which is necessary if you want to lift yourself from where you are to reach to the highest level where you have to go.

Then, of course there are two other questions of Arjuna, which are again centred on this very question of mana. And he says that after having told everything…the same question, because Arjuna is like all of us: we have this question most prominent. So he says that “suppose you start your yoga; you start controlling yourself; ultimately you do not succeed, you fail; then, what happens? You neither remain here nor there, what happens then?” So, Sri Krishna answers that there is nothing, which is wasted: even yogabhraṣta, even when has fallen from yoga, he will take a new birth, either in a rich house, like this house where the children who have started yoga but not completed, where everything is given so easily; so mastery of things is very automatic, and they can start doing yoga. Actually all children of rich people should realise that they are in a very privileged condition, and they should make use of it properly.

Therefore, they are all blessed: many things, which other people find so difficult, they get so easily here, and therefore, they can overcome them very easily. Therefore, the parents have a very special duty: they should regard their children very specially privileged and therefore they have got a very great duty to put them on the path of Yoga as rapidly as possible.

Or, Sri Krishna says, they are born in Yogi’s families, where yoga is constantly happening, where knowledge is so very…they may not be rich physically, monetarily; but in their families there is a constant practice of Knowledge, constant practice of tapasyā, and therefore they get a very special privilege to ascend on a higher path.

Comment: For example Vyasa and Sukhdev.

Yes, born in that family where Knowledge was so automatic.

And the 6th chapter then culminates in brahmabhūta, when you become completely one with Brahman at the culmination of the synthesis of Knowledge and Action. And when you become brahmabhūta, you become identified with the Brahman Himself, and then you become also matbhaktaḥ, and you become…element of Bhakti is also introduced towards the end of the 6th chapter. It opens out the path of the further development of the synthesis of Knowledge and Devotion. But that is the end of the 6th chapter, you might say the 6 chapters are a description of the first block of Yoga, in which Knowledge and Action are synthesised, and the highest that can be achieved is given, and in order to complete that highest element, Bhakti has also to be added and synthesised.

I think this is all, in brief, 5th & 6th chapters and we shall deal upon these elements next time.

Question: Does the brahmabhūta also become triguṇātīta the culmination of the…?*

That is right this is the most important question: triguṇātīta is the most important question; that is brahmabhūta; really you rise from all Prakriti, three guṇas are all transcended and you become brahmabhūta, all right?