[Advaita-l] Karma yoga vs. Jnaana yoga

viswanathan n vishy39 at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 4 01:22:56 CST 2008

Dear Shri. Sadanandaji,
This is an excellent mail which answered my very long
standing questions. I always thought, the combination of four yogas should be adopted according to ones background and not as " sequential" as you have clarified. Like wise your series on "Mind" are also very much enlightening. Thanks again
May I request you to kindly extend this comparion of Jnana yoga to other two yoga, that is, Bhakti and Raja yogas, please.
Pranams again
------------------------------------------------> > Message: 1> Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2008 03:05:18 -0800 (PST)> From: kuntimaddi sadananda <kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com>> Subject: [Advaita-l] karma yoga vs jnaana yoga> To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta> <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>> Message-ID: <411474.22375.qm at web56012.mail.re3.yahoo.com>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1> > A recent discussion on karma yoga and jnaana yoga in advaitin list prompted this write-up.> Hari Om!> Sadananda> ---------------------------------------------> > Karma yoga vs. Jnaana yoga> > After elaborate discussion of the laws governing action and results and how one should act by> surrendering all the fruits of actions, Krishna goes into elaborate glorification of jnaana yoga> and how a jnaani or realized person behaves in the society. Thus, in the end of the second> chapter, Arjuna is provided the knowledge of karma yoga and also how given the taste of how> glorious is the jnaana yoga. Having gained this knowledge Arjuna wonders why Krishna pushes him> to do karma, involving in his case the terrible act of killing his teaches and relatives. Hence> the discussion of karma vs. jnaana starts in the third chapter ? with Arjuna question. > > Essentially Arjuna asks Krishna ? Hay Krishna! If, in your opinion, jnaana is better than karma,> why are you commanding me to do this terrible action? Your statements are confusing to me ?if> jnAna is the direct means for moksha and moksha cannot be the result of any action, then why are> you asking me to follow karma yoga? > > Shankara says ? Arjuna clearly understood that karma and jnaana are two distinct paths. Among the> two, Arjuna also understood that jnaana is superior and it is the one that gives him moksha and> not karma yoga. His confusion is not about whether he should follow some mixture of the two (some> give it with a fancy name Integral yoga, which during Shankara?s time is called - jnaana karma> samucchaya) and in what proportions they should be mixed, etc. Shankara says ? Arjuna?s question> pertains to only why he has to follow the inferior karma yoga while Krishna has endorsed that> jnaana is superior which alone takes him to the final goal. Krishna?s answer also reinforces> Arjuna?s understanding that, yes, both are different, and no integral yoga or mixture of the two> is intended. Krishna is only addressing why Arjuna is qualified to do only karma yoga even though> jnaana yoga is the one what gives moksha. All of us have the same problem. Should we pursue karma> yoga or jnaana yoga? If we need to switch from the former to the later, when do we have to switch?> Is teacher is going to tell us when to switch or should we have to decide ourselves? > > What yoga to follow depends on the seeker?s qualifications. It is like a student asking a> question, should I study high school or go directly to MD course to become doctor? What path I> take depends on the prerequisites that I have. It is not that I have to do a mixture of high> school and MD course together. I can not get to MD courses, even though they are fulfilling to> make me doctor, unless I am prepared to get the prerequisite qualifications. In principle it does> not matter how I acquire the necessary qualifications, but I need to have them before I enter the> MD courses. Similarly karma yoga and jnaana yoga are in sequence and not simultaneous. Krishna> declares these are two distinct paths and the qualifications for each are different ? karma yoga> is the one needed for those whose life styles are tuned to yoga niShTa or yoga of action while> jnaana yoga is for those who life style is tuned to saankhya or jnaana niShTa or yoga of> knowledge. The two life styles are different. Karma yoga is prescribed to Arjuna since his life> style is for that. If one studies Uddhava Gita, that is the last message of Krishna, he commands> Uddhava to proceed to Badiri to jnaana niShTa lifestyle. The difference in life styles is more> related to internal mind set than external circumstances. There are four main differences in the> mind-set of a karma yogi vs. jnaana yogi. One can decide where one belongs by examining one?s own> mind-set. > > 1. Vision of the Goal: > Karma yogi thinks that he has to gain moksha or looks upon himself as mumukshuH ? the one who is> desirous of liberation. Obviously his mind is set to look upon moksha as something to gain or> something to achieve or something to acquire. He feels that he is bound by samsaara and he wants> liberation, freedom for all problems. His mind has already concluded that liberation is very> difficult to acquire, and is the result of many many lives. One needs Grace of God, prayer, merits> of many lives, etc. Even if teacher says you are already free, the mind set is not prepared to> accept it ? it still wants to seek and discover the experience of that freedom. The teaching is> not sufficient; they need to do something to gain that freedom. He wants to experience that self> realization. He has read that something will happen at that time, and he is longing for that> experience of self-realization. Since nothing is happening, the mind is set to the notion that it> is a along way to go. Moksha is ?apraaptasya praaptam?, gaining something that one does not have> it yet. Some even believe or concluded that it will not happen in this life. > > Jnaana yogi: The mind set of jnaana yogi is the recognition that moksha is not something to gain> but some thing to realize or recognize. I am already ?nitya mukta aatma? ? ever free from all> problems ? freedom is my birth right. Moksha is not something to gain, something to achieve or> something to acquire. It is ?praaptasya praaptam? gaining something that is already gained. It is> only something to abide in that knowledge. I am actually free even when I have notion that I am> not free. Habitual thinking of the mind that I am bound is to be dropped by re-educating the mind> so that it firmly abides in the knowledge that I am ever free. > > 2. Attitude towards action: The attitude with respect to action is also different.> Karma yogi: He looks upon karma as saadhana or means to gain moksha as one of the puruShArtha ?> last thing that one has to achieve in this life ? dharma, artha, kaama and moksha. Since it is> last, some people postpone it to the last phase of their life; of course the last phase is when> one cannot achieve anything else. First, one has to give up the fruits of actions or give up the> attachments for the results of the action ? or offer them to the Lord. Since Lord is already> full, he cannot take any more (other than bhakti) so karma yogi is stuck with the results that he> cannot give up. Hence he offers every day ? tan man subkuch terahi ? this body, this mind,> everything is yours. If he is offering everyday or every time aarati is being done, implies that> he has not offered it even once, since he cannot offer the same thing again and again. So giving> up involves not giving the results but giving up the sense of ownership of the results. His> mind-set is still in between ? having desire to fulfill and act upon those actions, but want to> give up the results of the action. Therefore he keeps giving up the results that really do not> belong to him, in the first place. The reason is he still has the mind-set that he is the doer,> and somebody has to do it, and if he does not do it no body will, and that will be more> frustrating for him. It is this mind set that sets him to do his obligatory duties in life. The> most important part of this mind set is ? kartRitva bhaava ? I am a doer notion. It is difficult> to have doership notion but give up the enjoyer-ship notion (bhoktRitva bhaava) by offering the> results to Him. This can be done only for obligatory duties and not for desire prompted actions.> He has to do karma yoga until he realizes that there is nothing really for him to do. > Jnaana yogi: He does not look up karma as saadhana for moksha. He understood that he is ?nitya> mukta aatma? ever liberated self that does not look upon action as a means to accomplish> anything, including chitta suddhi or purification of the mind, or do selfless action for moksha> saadhana or means directly or indirectly for moksha. That does not mean he stops all actions and> stays like a stone. All actions are done under his stewardship with understanding that they are> meant for loka kalyaaNam ? for the benefit of the totality ? starting from prayer. He contributes> for the benefit of the society in whatever form he can ? just prayers, or teaching or actions that> uplift the society. There is no ownership to the results even to give up the results. Only when I> own I can give up. Even taking care of the body is only loka kalyaaNam. Hence all actions will> remain as they are but only the mind-set towards the actions is different. Hence there is no> anxiety for the results since there are no expectations. He enjoys the beauty of the Lord,> manifesting in every action and every thing that happens or does not happen. > Thus he has mentally renounced all ? the sanyaasa bhavana, feeling of renunciation is firmly> rooted in his mind-set. The reason is simple; he has understood that nothing really belongs to him> to begin with, in order for him to give up. > > 3. Moksha or Liberation: The notion about moksha is also different.> Karma yogi: He thinks moksha is something to achieve or to be accomplished. His prayers and his> saadhana all tuned towards it. He wants to be blessed ? Looks upon Iswara whose blessing he needs> or whose grace is needed to gain moksha ? Goes to this temple or that temple ? this puja or that> puja for special blessings from gods and goddesses, holy both here or there, this self-less> service or that ? all ultimately to gain merits to qualify for moksha. > Jnaana yogi: Moksha is an accomplished fact since it is one?s swaruupam itself ? or ones intrinsic> nature. There is really nothing to look for nothing to work for or nothing to do to gain what is> ones nature. Only the problem he finds is his mind is not firmly abiding in that knowledge due to> habitual thinking. To dissolve the habitual thinking, he keeps redirecting the mind to the fact> that he is not all this but that which pervades all this. Mind is set in jnaana or knowledge of> the reality as I am that- getting the mind abiding in that knowledge is the essence of his> efforts. > 4. Nature of Bhakti: The attitude of bhakti towards Iswara is also different.> Karma yogi: His bhakti or devotion towards the Lord is sakaama bhakti - devotion towards the Lord> as giver of fruits of actions - even though desire are reduced but not totally eliminated. The> desires could be different ? desire for heath ? desire for freedom from limitations at body, mind> and intellect level ? ultimately the desire for liberation or moksha. Most of the self-fish> desires are reduced but not totally eliminated. > Jnaana yogi: sakaama bhakti is renounced. All prayer centered on I and mine are renounced since> they are related to body, mind and intellect equipments. He invokes God or Iswara not to gain> something but seeing His presence everywhere. Only desire is to abide in himself or in Godhood?> the truth that is of the nature of sat-chit-ananda swaruupam. Hence pulling the mind back to its> source or to Himself is his full time workless work. His prayers are nishkaama or no self-centered> desires. His prayers may end in himself as the goal of the very prayer ? nothing to ask but just> BE, where the desiring mind has become silent. He becomes a nitya sannyaasi ? who has giving up> even the giving up. > > As the mind becomes calmer, karma yoga gradually moves towards the jnaana as the Vedanta teaching> sinks into his mind more and more firmly. Reinforcement of the knowledge slowly becomes the major> fulltime job for a jnaana yogi until he becomes one with it. > > The notes are based on Swami Paramaarthanandaji recent discourse on Shankara BhAShya on Gita. > > > > > > > > ------------------------------> > _______________________________________________> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/> > To unsubscribe or change your options:> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l> > For assistance, contact:> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org> > > End of Advaita-l Digest, Vol 58, Issue 2> ****************************************
Post free property ads on Yello Classifieds now! www.yello.in

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list