aarurukshormuneryogam karma kaaranamuchyate |
yogaroodhasya tasyaiva shamah kaaranamuchyate || 3 ||

For that contemplative person who desires to ascend to yoga, action is said to be the means. For one who is established in yoga, tranquility is said to be the means.

aarurukshoho : one who desires to ascend
munehe : contemplative person
yogam : yoga
karma : action
kaaranam : means
uchyate : is said to be
yogaroodhasya : one who is established in yoga
tasya : that person
eva : only
shamah : tranquility
kaaranam : means
uchyate : is said to be

In the shlokas so far, Shri Krishna has pointed out the similarity between a karmayogi and a monk in regards to their suitability for practicing meditation. Now, he begins to go one level deeper and tell us where we stand, and how should we prepare ourselves for meditation.

Let’s first understand what is meant by a muni or a contemplative person. Most people in this world harbour the notion that worldly objects, people and situations yield happiness. The contemplative person is one who has spent enough time observing the world and understood that notion to be false. He need not have retreated to the forest to contemplate on this. He knows from his daily life experience that the world cannot give joy. Such a muni, who has the desire to go higher, ascend above the material world, is called “aarurkshoho”.

So for such a muni, there are two possibilities. One is that he is not established in dhyaana yoga or meditation. His mind still harbours desires. His proportion of sattva guna is lower compared to rajas and tamas. For such a seeker, the only means to get established in meditation is karmayoga. Diligent observance of karmayoga will develop the qualities of discrimination and dispassion (viveka and vairagya), which will ultimately purge desires from the mind.

The second possibility is the muni who has achieved a high level of viveka and vairagya. His mind does not harbour desires due to the predominance of sattva. He only performs the bare minimum of actions that are in line with his obligatory duties. Such a person is “aarudha” or elevated. For such a person, meditation will come naturally. All he has to is to follow the instructions given later in this chapter towards “shamaha”, which is quietening the mind.

Consider this illustration. When a child wants to ride a heavy bicycle, he usually cannot climb it directly. He has to put one foot on the pedal and kick the ground with the other foot till the bicycle gathers speed. Only then can he climb the bicycle. So in the initial stage, the child is “aarurkshoho” and has to kick the ground until the bike gathers speed. Then when he ascends the bicycle, he becomes “aarudha”.

Now, when exactly does the seeker become ready to meditate? This is tackled in the next shloka.