संन्यासः कर्मयोगश्च निःश्रेयसकरावुभौ ।
तयोस्तु कर्मसंन्यासात्कर्मयोगो विशिष्यते ॥५-२॥
In Bhagavad Gita chapter 5 verse 1 Arjuna express to Lord Krishna his dilemma about which path to follow… path of karma sanyasa or nishkama karma yoga. As per Lord Krishna both paths of karma ultimate led one towards God Almighty. In bhagavad gita chapter 5 verse 2 Lord Krishna tells Arjuna thus: path of karma sanyasa and karma yoga… both were meant to lead human beings towards stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana in Hinduism). From spirituality point of view… both paths were equally good! However path of karma yoga… being easier to practice, was more practical to reach God in present times!
The entire teachings of Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita were as simple as they could be! All the teachings in Bhagavad Gita were meant for commoners, masses… never for scholars alone! In laymen terms Lord Krishna advised entire mankind to follow path of karma yoga… nishkama karma yoga to reach God in their present life! As total submission to God Almighty in present Kali Yuga, dark age… metal age was extremely difficult to conceive and achieve Lord Krishna laid total emphasis on following path of nishkama karma yoga in present times! Even for an ardent seeker of spirituality… following path of karma sanyasa was difficult to practice!
It is an absolute fact of life that following path of karma sanyasa or karma yoga alone human beings could not reach stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana in Hinduism). The path of karma sanyasa or karma yoga must always be coupled with path of bhakti yoga to reach God. But as emphasized by Lord Krishna… in the present times of tribulation, strife to practice bhakti yoga as stipulated in Bhagavad Gita was out of question. It was only in times of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Mira Bai people successfully practiced bhakti yoga to reach God in their lifetime. Total submission to God Almighty demands our subduing ego (Aham in Hinduism) in entirety forever. To surrender our ego to God in totality was extremely difficult to practice in present times.
Path of karma sanyasa demands total submission to God Almighty. The feeling of I, the feeling of me must negate to zero if we were ever to travel path of karma sanyasa. Easier said than done… even spiritual stalwarts like Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Maharishi Ramana found it difficult to practice karma sanyasa to reach God. They started their journey towards God via path of bhakti yoga that demands absolute submission to God Almighty. But finding path of karma sanyasa was difficult to follow, both switched to path of jnana yoga to reach God in their lifetime! Eventually both Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Maharishi Ramana reached God in their lifetime… the only two spiritual stalwarts who succeeded in reaching God in last about 150 years amongst 7 billion people existing world over.
As letting go our ego (Aham) in totality was difficult to practice… why not pursue path of karma yoga to reach God in our lifetime! Path of karma yoga simply means indulging in karma with an unattached attitude. Offering fruits of karma performed to God Almighty all the time… is what nishkama karma all about! When we lived a life of recluse… a sanyasi, with the feeling that karma belonged to God Almighty… then fruits of karma also belonged to God Almighty! This was how a true trustee lived on mother earth. JRD Tata, the scion of Tata Empire all his life lived like a true trustee of God Almighty on mother earth. At no stage of life JRD Tata felt that anything belonged to him ever. As per JRD Tata… he was only to take care of wealth bestowed on him by grace of God Almighty… and in that he truly excelled as a great trustee of God Almighty!
The pearls of wisdom contained in Bhagavad Gita repeatedly assured mankind benefits of following path of nishkama karma yoga. If we truly wanted to understand gist of Bhagavad Gita chapter 5 verse 1… We must understand definition of karma as detailed by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. Karma was that inherent ingredient of cosmic system which facilitated movement of life from one manifestation to another. It was through complex process of karma every soul atman, the spirit within moved from one body to another. Path of karma… process of karma is ingrained into every living being! As a human being… we must never underestimate power of nishkama karma yoga. If we truly want to reach God Almighty in the present earthly manifestation of 70 to 80 years of earthly life… we must travel path of nishkama karma yoga without fail!
As a human being, the highest manifest stage in cosmic life cycle… offering fruits of all karma performed in day-to-day affairs of life sometimes seemed extremely difficult! But for a serious seeker of spirituality hell-bent on reaching God… nothing was impossible! Mounted with bulldog determination of Swami Vivekananda… any human being world over, by following path of nishkama karma yoga can reach God in present life! It is only while indulging in nishkama karma yoga; one realized that following path of jnana yoga (absolute wisdom) was necessitated to reach God in present life. Path of nishkama karma yoga was the means… only one of the means, but to reach God… undertaking spiritual journey via path of jnana yoga was an absolute must! Those who realized importance of nishkama karma yoga… also realized what jnana yoga was all about!
One fact that lay hidden in bhagavad gita chapter 5 verse 1 was… our soul atman, the spirit within was pure energy, cosmic consciousness that manifested form of human beings on mother earth. The journey of life as per Lord Krishna always belonged to our soul atman, the spirit within… which was the actual master and controller of every form of life on mother earth, including human beings! As journey of life belonged to our soul atman, the consciousness within… fruits of karma performed at every stage of life also belonged to our soul atman, the spirit within! By letting go our ego (Aham), we were only doing bidding of God Almighty by assisting our soul atman, the spirit within in reaching cosmic end of life… God Almighty himself! To understand doctrine of karma… we have to understand world of souls’ atmans, the spirit within! After all… karma formed intrinsic part of cosmic life of every soul atman!
Commentary by: Vijay Kumar “Atma Jnani”… The Man who Realized God in 1993 – April 21, 2013
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