THE YOG OF MEDITATION
Whenever there is rank growth, in the name of dharm, of too many customs and practices, of forms of worship and prayer, and of schools and sects, some great Soul appears, makes his advent to demolish them, and to install and strengthen the one and only God, as also to broaden the path of action that leads to him. The practice of renouncing action and thus of being known for wisdom were also all too prevalent in the age of Krishn. That explains why he affirms, for the fourth time, at the beginning of this chapter, that action is an essential, inevitable requirement of the Ways of both Knowledge and Selfless Action.
He told Arjun in Chapter 2 that there was no more propitious a way for a Kshatriy than to fight. If he loses the war, he will be rewarded with godly existence, while victory will bring him ultimate bliss. Knowing this, he should fight. Krishn further pointed out to him that he had imparted this precept to him in regard to the Way of Knowledge: the precept that he should wage war. The Way of Knowledge does not imply inactivity. While it is true that the initial urge comes from an accomplished teacher himself, the follower of knowledge has to engage in action after self-appraisal and due judgement of the pros and cons, and of his strength. Fighting is thus unavoidable on the Way of Knowledge.
In Chapter 3, Arjun asked Krishn why, when he thought the Way of Knowledge superior to that of Selfless Action, he was prompting him to sinful acts. In the prevailing circumstance he found the Way of Selfless Action more hazardous. Thereupon he was told by Krishn that he had imparted both the ways, but according to the provisions of neither of them is it allowed to go along without the performance of action. A man does not achieve the state of actionlessness by just not commencing work, nor does he attain to ultimate liberation by abandoning an undertaken enterprise. The ordained process of yagya has to be accomplished for both the ways.
So Arjun was well acquainted with the truth that, whether he prefers the Way of Knowledge or the Way of Selfless Action, he has to act. Yet he again asked Krishn in Chapter 5 which of the two ways was better from the point of view of outcome; And which was more convenient? Krishn replied that both were equally propitious. Both the ways take one to the same goal and yet the Way of Selfless Action is superior to that of Knowledge, because no one can gain yog without acquitting himself of selfless action. The required action is the same in both cases. There is thus now no ambiguity about the fact that one cannot be either an ascetic or yogi without performing the appointed task. The only difference is between the attitudes of the wayfarers who tread along the two ways.