5.1 sanyAsam karmaNAm krishNa

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Chapter 5

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SlOkam – Original

arjuna uvAcha
sanyAsam karmaNAm krishNa punar yOgam cha Samsasi |
yach chrEya EthayOr Ekam than mE brUhi suniSchitham ||

word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

krishNa – Oh krishNa!
karmaNAm sanyAsam – Performing gyAna yOga giving up karma yOga
puna: – again
(karmaNAm) yOgam cha – karma yOga
Samsasi – you are praising it as the means to attain self realisation.
EthayO: – among these two
yath Ekam – which one
SrEya: suniSchitham – you consider firmly to be best
thath – that
mE – for me
brUhi – explain.

Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

Oh krishNa! You are again praising “performance of gyAna yOga giving up karma yOga” as the means to attain self realisation.  Explain to me which one you consider firmly to best among these two.

Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam

Questions Arjuna:—

‘On renounsal1 of work, Kṛishṇa! and again on doing of works (yoga), do You descant. Which of the two is better, conclusively tell me.’

Arjuna:—

The renunciation of works is Jñāna-Yoga. Yoga is Karma-Yoga, the prosecution of works. Once, You do extol the former, once the latter! Here is a summary of Your teachings:—

In Lecture Two, You did declare that Karma-Yoga was worthy to be followed by the moksha-aspirant, and that as soon as the inner organ (antaḥkaraṇa=mind) became purified of taints, it was then time to embark on Jñāna-Yoga, which would bring about ātma-vision (i.e., soul-consciousness).

But in Lectures Three and Four, You did maintain that Karma-Yoga was preferable even in the case of him who is qualified for Jñāna-Yoga; that Karma-Yoga was alone sufficient, —without the aid of Jñāna-Yoga —as a Means to ātma-attainment.

As between these two then, viz: Karma-Yoga and Jñāna-Yoga, will you tell me truly, which of them is the superior, the ready, the easy, means to attain to ātma?

Śrī Bhagavān responds thus:—

>> Chapter 5 verse 2

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  1. On ‘renounsal’ (sanyāsa), vide XVIII-1.

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