SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
SlOkam – Original
SrEyO hi gyAnam abhyAsAj gyAnAdh dhyAnaṁ viSishyathE |
dhyAnAth karmapalathyAgas tyAgAch chAnthir anantharam ||
word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)
abhyAsAth – devotion towards bhagavAn (without true love)
gyAnam – the knowledge which facilitates direct vision (which is the means for such devotional practice)
SrEya: hi – isn’t it better?
gyAnAth – the (incomplete) self-realisation
dhyAnam – meditation upon the self (which is means for self-realisation)
viSishyathE (hi) – isn’t it better?
dhyAnAth – (incomplete) meditation
karma pala thyAga: – karma (activities) performed giving up the fruits (which is the means for such meditation)
(viSishyathE (hi) – isn’t it better?)
thyAgAth – engaging in karma yOga giving up the fruits
anantharam – subsequently
SAnthi: – peace of mind (occurs)
Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)
Better than devotion towards bhagavAn (without true love) is the knowledge which facilitates direct vision (which is the means for such devotional practice); better than the (incomplete) self-realisation is the meditation upon the self (which is means for self-realisation); better than the (incomplete) meditation is the karma (activities) performed giving up the fruits (which is the means for such meditation); engaging in karma yOga giving up the fruits lead to peace of mind.
Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam
‘Next to (God-)devotion, (soul-)knowledge is preferable; next to (soul-)knowledge, (soul-)meditation is preferable; next to (soul-)meditation, surrender of work’s fruit; from surrender follows peace.’
If (God-)exercise or practising (God-)devotion constantly (=abhyāsa) (as a mere head-exercise) is hard, by reason of no response coming to it in the interests of the soul from the heart, then the next alternative is to attempt soul-exercise, or practise the akshara-path (Gi: XII-3–4–5) through which to attain to soul-vision (jñāna).
In the interests of the soul, next to the achievement of soul-vision (or soul-cognition), —not arising— the mere contemplation on soul-nature (dhyāna), (as Spiritual Books teach) is to be adopted as the next alternative.
If soul-contemplation be found hard to practise —then it is best to perform works, resigning fruits thereof. This would lead (gradually) to soul-contemplation.
Performing action this-wise; viz., —without interest in the reward,— results in the divorcement of sin; and thereafter comes peace of mind. (Thus):—
- From peace of mind comes soul-contemplation;
- From Soul-contemplation results soul-cognition.
- From soul-cognition arises Parā-bhakti (God-love)
Hence, to him who is inept for Bhakti-Yoga (=the Path of God-love), soul-devotion is recommended as (next) best; but to him who cannot bring a mind peaceful enough to try this, -let him devote himself to doing fruit-forsaken works, based on soul-faith. This would (gradually) lead to soul-contemplation and soul-vision (in order).
The qualifications required for such a disinterested worker are now enumerated:
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