Despite Krishna's clear instructions, Arjuna still seems bewildered. He wants to know conclusively which is superior, the path of action or the path of renunciation of action. Krishna replies that both paths lead to the highest goal of God-realization. Actually there is no difference between the two.
Describing the sankhya yoga, Krishna says that the individual soul is a combination of purusha and prakriti. The purusha never acts nor presses anyone to do action. It is prakriti that does everything. Purusha is enveloped by prakriti (through the three gunas). A person is bound when he identifies himself with prakriti. When he identifies himself with the purusha, by constant meditation, he will be freed from bondage. His intellect is absorbed in Brahman, and is identified with Brahman. Established in good thoughts, he will see good and do good to others, and hence he is free from blemish and knows no distinction between good and evil. For the knower of Truth there are no likes and dislikes. He is a witness of every activity of nature, including his own activities. His mind is always fixed on the Self, and experiences eternal happiness. The wise person, knowing this, never enjoys happiness through his senses, for their contacts have a beginning and end; they are veritable sources of pain. One who controls lust and anger etc., which are the products of desire, and sublimates rajas into sattva, and gradually empties the mind, is called a yogi.
Krishna assures Arjuna that both karma and sankhya yoga will lead to the realization of God. In dhyana yoga, the path of meditation, one fixes the thought on the midpoint between the eyebrows and makes the breath rhythmical. The mind becomes steady and one-pointed; one can think continuously of God. Thus, by the practice of karma yoga, control of the mind through concentration, rhythmical breathing, with the knowledge that God is the ultimate enjoyer of all sacrifices and austerities, the mortal becomes immortal and attains supreme peace.
Chapter 5 teaches that renunciation, the spirit of detachment, is the fundamental principle of all yogas. All experience an infinite joy in renunciation. In deep sleep everyone feels immense happiness; one really possesses nothing, thinks of nothing. In this state, the king, beggar and the animal merge into the one consciousness without the least distinction, renouncing all their unnatural superimpositions of personality. When one consciously renounces the activities of the senses, mind and intellect will surely merge into one's essential nature of the supreme consciousness which is the supreme happiness. Thus, renunciation becomes a means to perfection. This is the glory of the wisdom of renunciation. The action done with freedom from individuality spontaneously unites one with universality.
IMPORTANT VERSES OF CHAPTER 5
3. He should be known as a perpetual sannyasi who neither hates nor desires; for, free from the pairs of opposites, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he is easily set free from bondage.
4. Children, not the wise, speak of knowledge and the yoga of action or the performance of action as though they are distinct and different; he who is truly established in one obtains the fruits of both.
6. Without Karma yoga, Jnana yoga i.e. renunciation of doership in relation to all the activitiesof the mind, senses and body is difficult to accomplish; whereas the karmayogi who keeps his mind fixed on God, reaches Brahma in no time, Arjuna.
10. He who does actions, offering them to Brahman and abandoning attachment, is not tainted by sin as a lotus leaf by water.
18. Sages look with equal eye on a Brahmin endowed with learning and humility, on a cow, on an elephant, and even on a dog and an outcast.
29. He who knows Me as the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, the great Lord of all the worlds and the friend of all beings, attains to peace.
1. What is the basis of renunciation?
2. What is it that we actually renounce?
3. Why is the spirit of detachment the fundamental principle on which all yoga is based?