saankhyayogau prithagbaalaaha pravadanti na panditaahaa |
ekamapyaasthitaha samyagubhayorvindate phalam || 4 ||
Only children say that the yoga of knowledge and the yoga of action are different, wise people do not. One who is perfectly established in one, obtains the result of both.
saankhya : yoga of knowledge
yogau : yoga of action
prithak : different
baalaaha : children
pravadanti : say
na : not
panditaahaa : wise people
ekam : one
api : also
aasthitaha : established
samyak : perfectly
ubhayoha : both
vindate : obtain
phalam : result
Shri Krishna reiterates his message from third chapter in this shloka. He says that the path to attain self-realization is one, but it has two stages. In the first stage, the seeker performs actions per his svadharma, but focuses on checking and sublimating the ego while performing his actions. This stage is called karma yoga. When the seeker has exhausted the majority of his desires, he becomes ready for the next stage.
In the second stage, the seeker minimizes actions other than those performed for gaining knowledge through the guidance of a teacher. The second stage is possible only after the ego has been sublimated through renunciation. This stage is called karma sannyaasa.
Shri Krishna then goes on to say that only people who are ignorant of the connection between these two stages say that karma-sannyaasa and karmayoga are different paths. They also think that it is possible to bypass stage one and go straight to stage two. This ability to bypass stage one is only possible for a handful of advanced seekers in this world, seekers who have already sublimated their desires.
Therefore, having known this, he urges us to become wise people and to not think of the path to self-realization as two different paths. If we become established in one stage, we will automatically get the result of self-realization that one gets from pursuing the other stage. In other words, we should follow the one path that we are qualified for, and follow it properly.
How should a wise person look at these two stages? We will see in the next shloka.