Following is an excerpt from an Audio Class on Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5 – Verse 1 to 12.
Arjuna is confused because in the 4th chapter of Bhagavad Gita Krishna said that his knowledge is important which also means to give up everything. And now Krishna is telling Arjuna to fight also which means he is telling Arjuna to do Karma yoga as well. So Arjuna ask Krishna to tell him clearly which one is more better? Though it is Krishna’s plan to make Arjuna remain confused. Because this will give Krishna one more chance to stress on the topic that Karma yoga and renunciation are not different. Arjuna thinks that renunciation and work are two different things. To which Krishna replies to Arjuna that working in devotion is better than Renunciation. Both Karma Yoga and Renunciation are same because both have same goal and that is to realize Krishna. But of this two, working in devotion is more easier, safer and more practical. Because when we work in devotion, our hearts get purified and we get realization as well. When one renounces and he also has lot of material desires then he either has to be a cheater or give up renunciation in order to fulfill his material desires. But when someone practices Karma yoga can easily purify his sins and continue working and also get realization. Therefore working in devotion is more practical than Renunciation. Now working in devotion has its draw back, a person practicing Karma Yoga may get attached and also become very selfish. Even when someone renounces, he may get bad desires. So both have problems but compared to Renunciation, Karma Yoga is much more easy and safer. And so Krishna says that one who sincerely does Karma Yoga, Krishna calls him a ‘Nitya Sanyasi’.
So one who is renouncing his fruit of activity is called as a Nitya Sanyasi, means he is always a sanyasi. One who is working but giving up the fruit of his activities. Performing Karma yoga is safer because it achieves the purpose of renunciation. Krishna tells us to practice Karma Yoga and not to worry about renunciation, just focus on giving results to Krishna. The ultimate goal of all the studying and reading and everything is to understand that Krishna is the source of everything. The purpose of all the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita is to act and the purpose of that acting is to act in knowledge. Krishna says that he is in everybody’s heart, he gives remembrance, he gives forgetfulness and the end of all the knowledge is he himself. So when someone starts taking the knowledge of Bhagavat Gita knowing Krishna is the source of everything then he will be in peace.
Krishna also says that simply Renouncing everything will not give you happiness but when somebody is thoughtful and engaging in devotional service then that person will be happy. One who works in devotion who is a pure soul and who controls his mind and senses and is dear to everyone and everyone is dear to him, such a man is never entangled. Krishna says that somebody who is working in this world, can be liberated if he is detached while working. Lotus leaves have a very waxy surface, so when you try to put water on the leaf the water glides down. Similarly when someone who is performing Karma Yoga, the reactions will glide off so one can continue to go to office, you can still be liberated. The reason why we act even when we are detached from everything is because we want to purify ourselves. The person is already liberated if he is engaged in the service of Krishna. So Krishna here is comparing that the one who is greedy is always entangled and selfish and one who is offers the results of his activities is liberated.
Renunciation means renouncing the desire for respect therefore a Sanyasi will not get offended or affected even if someone insults him, because he is renounced detached from everything.
There are three principles
1. Preaching – I belong to the whole world because I belong to Krishna, for example I’m not a Marwari or South Indian or Indian.
2. Purpose – I want Krishna.
3. Faith – I have the faith that Krishna is protecting us.
So the conclusion of this lecture is that Krishna is conveying that Karma Yoga ie doing your work in devotion towards Krishna and renunciation are the same and not different.