3.1-3.9: KarmaYoga is better for you if you are not qualified for Gyana Yoga.
3.10-3.16: If you are not qualified even for Karma Yoga then practice Karma Kanda
3.17-3.24: If you are qualified for Jana Yoga, still practice Karma Yoga to set example
3.25-329: Karma Yoga and Karma Kanda difference
3.30-3.35: How Karma Yoga elevates
3.36-3.43: Overcome lust, the main obstacle on the path of Karma Yoga.
We are discussing the first section: 3.1-3.9: KarmaYoga is better for you if you are not qualified for Gyana Yoga.
There are two levels for Practicing spiritual life Karma Yoga and Gyana Yoga.
Srila Prabhupada writes here:
Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation.
Both of them are important and religion enables us to do the activities, so chanting Hare Krishna is we can say a religion, study the BG is philosophy but of course in this case it is not completely different as study of BG is related to Krishna so it is religion because it is devotional activity but in general which involves intellectual philosophical understanding is a philosophical part and religion is that by doing something we gain religious experience, so when there is no philosophy it is sentiment. E.g. Why do you worship Krishna because it feels good, and somebody can say when I worship so and so baba I feel that is very good, so they starts worshiping that person so then how do we know what is right and what is wrong? So it goes into sentimentalism and it can go to fanaticism also. Why Fanaticism? Because one may start thinking I worship this God and if you don’t worship him you will go to hell, so when there is no philosophical understanding and there is belief then it becomes fanaticism. On the other hand philosophy without religion is mental speculation because a person may not be doing anything and just thinking maybe it is like this or that, then there is no transformation that is happening. May be, there is so much order in the world so may be God exists, seating on arm chair after Sunday heavy lunch and then picks up news paper and see 25000 people died in earth quake, Oh where was God that time may be he doesn’t exist, and picks up a glass of wine, the pleasure in wine exists so let me drink this and enjoy. So when people stays on mental speculation platform they do not do anything to realize the higher realities. So if we wanted to realize something higher we need to practice spiritual life systematically and to do so we need philosophical understanding, so when religion and philosophy both are there we move steady in our spiritual life.
Like in Science 1. Theory 2. Experiment
When theory and experiment both are there science become a complete body ok knowledge.
E.g. Newton observed fruit falling so may be thousands of people saw fruit falling earlier and what came up in their mind is let me pick it and eat it, they did not think anything more on that but when Newton saw it he was thinking why it is happening like this? And then he postulated the principle of gravity. So theory means we observed something and try to find out explanation for it.
After we observed something we wanted to see whether it is correct or not so we experiment it. So one does various experiment by which one confirms the theory or disapproves the theory.
Similarly in Spirituality 1. Philosophy 2. Religion (this is an approximate or rough comparison)
E.g. Philosophy is knowledge body and soul which is theory and practicality which is religion I will experience higher happiness by which lower desire goes away, e.g. by chanting bad habit etc. goes away.
When both of these are present then Spirituality becomes higher dimension transformational science, why it is higher dimension transformational because it deals with dimension higher than what modern science deals with, transformational as it transforms us.
Material science is experimental whereas spiritual science is experiential. Experiment is done on us and we have to feel the experience, when someone chants Hare Krishna he experiences higher happiness, everyone became purified after chanting. As repeatability is there in general science similarly repeatability is there in Bhakti Science, anyone who has chanted regularly has felt transformation and purity. Heart is laboratory chanting is process.
If there is only philosophy (theory) and no experience (practice) then anyone can come up with any theory as there is no experience. If someone does some experiment but no theory then no background understanding or overall understanding is there, people doing ritual some benefit is there, but if background knowledge understanding is there it is better and it will increase with experience. E.g. someone goes to temple and feels good about it and then he goes to movie theater there also he feels good so going to temple may not last long…or someone may not be inclined to do intense Sadhana as this cannot be done just by feel good factor in the beginning, he will not understand why intense sadhana is required.
Sometime we are chanting we feel very good but sometime not so, we can understand that it is because of lower modes of nature and these modes of nature keeps coming like a sign waves up and down…if we tolerate it for a while then it will be over and better mode will come.
So roughly Srial Prabhupada is correlating Philosophy with Gyana and religion with Karma yoga or Bhakti Yoga. This will be discussed much later.
na karmaṇām anārambhān
naiṣkarmyaṁ puruṣo ’śnute
na ca sannyasanād eva
Word for word:
na — not; karmaṇām — of prescribed duties; anārambhāt — by nonperformance; naiṣkarmyam — freedom from reaction; puruṣaḥ — a man; aśnute — achieves; na — nor; ca — also; sannyasanāt — by renunciation; eva — simply; siddhim — success; samadhigacchati — attains.
Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection.
na karmaṇām anārambhān, when one does not do Karma, arambha is beginning, so if one does not begin Karma one does not do Karma and Krishna is saying just by not doing Karma one does not achieve naiṣkarma, ’śnute means to attain, one does not attain naiṣkarma just but doing naiṣkarma,
na ca sannyasanād eva, And by taking Sanyas one will not get Siddhi, siddhiṁ samadhigacchati, one does not attain perfection.
So here Krishna is emphasizing internal is more important than externals.
What is the connection between this verse and previous verse, in previous verse Krishna is saying there are two levels: Gyana Yoga is higher than Karma Yoga, but Krishna says what makes Gyana Yoga higher than Karma Yoga, or a Jayana Yogi higher than Karma yogi is not just adoption of external forms actually there has to be an inner purification and only when there is inner purification then adoption of the external forms will help but when there is no inner purification that doesn’t lead to transformation, this will not be sufficient it will not bring inner change. So Krishna gives this two statements as indication of adoption of external forms that na karmaṇām anārambhān, naiṣkarmyaṁ puruṣo ’śnute, one thinks when I do activity I get entangled in life and world therefore I will give up activity. I have seen renounciates they have given up all activities and not only give up activities but I will formalize it by taking Sanyas,
na ca sannyasanād eva, siddhiṁ samadhigacchati
So here 3.4 a and c both start with “na”.
So adoption of external form doesn’t lead to inner transformations in and of itself.
So in Bhakti also we have external forms we wear Dhoti Kurta we put tilak Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and Srila Bhakti Siddyantha Thakur says it is not just by putting external forms one becomes a devotee, so one is having external forms but is having vicious mentality then that person is not a devotees but a Kalir Chela, agent of Kali.
Srila Prabhupada said in purport: Without puriﬁcation of heart, sannyāsa is simply a disturbance to the social order.
E.g. Sruti Smiriti Panchratrika vidi vina ekantiki Harir bhakti utpatai kalpate. Without scriptural authorization if one simply practice Bhakti it is Utpata, disturbance or disruption. Mayavadi says: Danda graham matrena naro Narayana bhavet. First of all Nara can never become Narayana he is always a servant of Narayana and just by external danda there will not be any transformation.
In next verse Krishna says far better than this is to practice Bhakti Yoga
In next verse Krishna is saying actually it is very difficult to give up activities in principle.