Shree Bhagavaan uvaacha:
lokesmindvividhaa nishthaa puraa proktaa mayaanagha |
jnyaanayogena saankhyaanaam karmayogena yoginaam || 3 ||
Shri Bhagavaan said:
In this world, since time immemorial, I have created a two-fold path, O sinless one; the yoga of knowledge for contemplative individuals, and the yoga of action for yogis.
loke : world
asmin : this
dvividhaa : two-fold
nishthaa : path
puraa : since time immemorial
proktaa : spoken
mayaa : by me
anagha : O sinless one
jnyaanayogena : the yoga of knowledge
saankhyaanaam : for contemplative individuals
karmayogena : the yoga of action
yoginaam : for yogis
Earlier, we saw that Arjuna wanted to know which of the two paths, i.e. the yoga of action and the yoga of knowledge, is superior. Shri Krishna addresses that question here. According to him, none of the two is either superior or inferior.
Sant Jnyaneshwar provides an example to show that none of these paths are superior or inferior: like a west-flowing river and an east-flowing river that both meet the same ocean, both paths are same.
Now, even thought the paths are complementary, there is a subtle difference between them. Let us explore this difference. Consider a child who is in the first grade. Even if he wants to, he cannot jump straight to a masters degree. He would have to finish high school, then college, and only then will he be ready for his masters degree.
In the same way, most of us are at a stage in life where we are active and want to make a contribution to the world. For such yogis or active individuals, the path of action is the most appropriate. Once we reach a stage where we exhaust all of our desires, we can transcend the path of action to pursue the path of knowledge, just like we transcend college education to pursue our masters degree.
I used to know a classmate from school that was a math prodigy. He could solve advanced calculus equations in sixth grade. The teachers used to check with him whether they were teaching sixth grade math correctly, such was his prowess. He did not need to go through elementary math, he was ready for his math PhD even at that young age.
Similarly, there are a few rare individuals who are at an advanced stage of their spiritual journey. They have eliminated most of their desires. Only such rare contemplative individuals can directly pursue the path of knowledge. For most of us, the path of action is the way to go. And karmayoga, or the path of action, is the main subject covered in this chapter.
On a different note, we see that Shri Krishna is hinting that he is something more that the cowherd son of Vasudeva here. We know this because he mentions that he himself has created this two-fold path for realizing the eternal essence. This has not slipped past Arjuna, he will ask this question at the right time.