Chapter 2: Contents of the Gétä Summarized
esa te 'bhihita sankhye
buddhir yoge tv imam srnu
buddhya yukto yaya partha
eñä—all these; te—unto you; abhihitä—described; çäìkhye—by analytical study; buddhiù—intelligence; yoge—work without fruitive result; tu—but; imäm-this; çåëu—just hear; buddhyä—by intelligence; yuktaù—dovetailed; yayä—by which; pärtha—O son of Påthä; karma-bandham—bondage of reaction; prahäsyasi—you can be released from.
Thus far I have declared to you the analytical knowledge of säìkhya philosophy. Now listen to the knowledge of yoga whereby one works without fruitive result. O son of Påthä, when you act by such intelligence, you can free yourself from the bondage of works.
According to the Nirukti, or the Vedic dictionary, saìkhya means that which describes phenomena in detail, and saìkhya refers to that philosophy which describes the real nature of the soul. And yoga involves controlling the senses. Arjuna's proposal not to fight was based on sense gratification. Forgetting his prime duty, he wanted to cease fighting because he thought that by not killing his relatives and kinsmen he would be happier than by enjoying the kingdom by conquering his cousins and brothers, the sons of Dhåtaräñöra. In both ways, the basic principles were for sense gratification. Happiness derived from conquering them and happiness derived by seeing kinsmen alive are both on the basis of personal sense gratification, for there is a sacrifice of wisdom and duty. Kåñëa, therefore, wanted to explain to Arjuna that by killing the body of his grandfather he would not be killing the soul proper, and He explained that all individual persons, including the Lord Himself, are eternal individuals; they were individuals in the past, they are individuals in the present, and they will continue to remain individuals in the future, because all of us are individual souls eternally, and we simply change our bodily dress in different manners. But, actually, we keep our individuality even after liberation from the bondage of material dress. An analytical study of the soul and the body has been very graphically explained by Lord Kåñëa. And this descriptive knowledge of the soul and the body from different angles of vision has been described here as säìkhya, in terms of the Nirukti dictionary. This säìkhya has nothing to do with the säìkhya philosophy of the atheist Kapila. Long before the imposter Kapila's säìkhya, the säìkhya philosophy was expounded in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam by the true Lord Kapila, the incarnation of Lord Kåñëa, who explained it to His mother, Devahüti. It is clearly explained by Him that the Puruña, or the Supreme Lord, is active and that He creates by looking over the prakåti. This is accepted in the Vedas and in the Gétä. The description in the Vedas indicates that the Lord glanced over the prakåti, or nature, and impregnated it with atomic individuals souls. All these individuals are working in the material world for sense gratification, and under the spell of material energy they are thinking of being enjoyers. This mentality is dragged to the last point of liberation when the living entity wants to become one with the Lord. This is the last snare of mäyä or sense gratificatory illusion, and it is only after many, many births of such sense gratificatory activities that a great soul surrenders unto Väsudeva, Lord Kåñëa, thereby fulfilling the search after the ultimate truth.
Arjuna has already accepted Kåñëa as his spiritual master by surrendering himself unto Him: çiñyas te 'haà çädhi mäà tväà prapannam. Consequently, Kåñëa will now tell him about the working process in buddhi-yoga, or karma-yoga, or in other words, the practice of devotional service only for the sense gratification of the Lord. This buddhi-yoga is clearly explained in Chapter Ten, verse ten, as being direct communion with the Lord, who is sitting as Paramätmä in everyone's heart. But such communion does not take place without devotional service. One who is therefore situated in devotional or transcendental loving service to the Lord, or, in other words, in Kåñëa consciousness, attains to this stage of buddhi-yoga by the special grace of the Lord. The Lord says, therefore, that only to those who are always engaged in devotional service out of transcendental love does He award the pure knowledge of devotion in love. In that way the devotee can reach Him easily in the ever-blissful kingdom of God.
Thus the buddhi-yoga mentioned in this verse is the devotional service of the Lord, and the word säìkhya mentioned herein has nothing to do with the atheistic säìkhya-yoga enunciated by the impostor Kapila. One should not, therefore, misunderstand that the säìkhya-yoga mentioned herein has any connection with the atheistic säìkhya. Nor did that philosophy have any influence during that time; nor would Lord Kåñëa care to mention such godless philosophical speculations. Real säìkhya philosophy is described by Lord Kapila in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, but even that säìkhya has nothing to do with the current topics. Here, säìkhya means analytical description of the body and the soul. Lord Kåñëa made an analytical description of the soul just to bring Arjuna to the point of buddhi-yoga, or bhakti-yoga. Therefore, Lord Kåñëa's säìkhya and Lord Kapila's säìkhya, as described in the Bhägavatam; are one and the same. They are all bhakti-yoga. He said, therefore, that only the less intelligent class of men make a distinction between säìkhya-yoga and bhakti-yoga.
Of course, atheistic säìkhya-yoga has nothing to do with bhakti-yoga, yet the unintelligent claim that the atheistic säìkhya-yoga is referred to in the Bhagavad-gétä.
One should therefore understand that buddhi-yoga means to work in Kåñëa consciousness, in the full bliss and knowledge of devotional service. One who works for the satisfaction of the Lord only, however difficult such work may be, is working under the principles of buddhi-yoga and finds himself always in transcendental bliss. By such transcendental engagement, one achieves all transcendental qualities automatically, by the grace of the Lord, and thus his liberation is complete in itself, without his making extraneous endeavors to acquire knowledge. There is much difference between work in Kåñëa consciousness and work for fruitive results, especially in the matter of sense gratification for achieving results in terms of family or material happiness. Buddhi-yoga is therefore the transcendental quality of the work that we perform.