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Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 3, Verse 3

Chapter 3: Karma-yoga
Verse: 3
sri-bhagavan uvaca
loke 'smin dvi-vidha nishtha
pura prokta mayanagha
jnana-yogena sankhyanam
karma-yogena yoginam

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who try to realize the self. Some are inclined to understand it by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others by devotional service.

Krishna explains that the two processes of karma and jnana are not exclusive but rather interdependent. The karma stage is the platform where work is recommended. The jnana stage is the platform where one is sufficiently purified and renounce to renounce work They are not separate processes, but rungs on the same yoga ladder. A person will occupy the rung depending on his nistha or faith and purity.

By jnana or empirical, philosophical speculation one indirectly realizes Krishna by first understanding himself to be spirit (and not matter), Krishna to be the Supersoul and finally derive the connection. By devotional service (karma yoga in knowledge), the process is direct and simpler. When one acts in relationship with Krishna, the senses are not deprived from their objects, they are just engaged in a way to please the Lord – so there is less danger of fall down and the process also quickly attracts the mercy of Krishna and His devotees.

Srila Prabhupada brings forth this interdependence of karma and jnana by a very important statement. He says, "Therefore, both the yogas are interdependent, as religion and philosophy. Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation. The ultimate goal is Krishna, because the philosophers who are also sincerely searching after the Absolute Truth come in the end to Krishna consciousness." Thus in an absolute sense, both karma and jnana lead to Krishna. But the best is practice them together and not in mutual exclusion.

Please read the Sanskrit Verse and the Prabhupada's Purport.


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