sannyāsaṁ karmaṇāṁ kṛṣṇa
punar yogaṁ ca śaṁsasi
yac chreya etayor ekaṁ
tan me brūhi su-niścitam
arjuna uvāca: Arjuna Said.
karmaṇāṁ: Of the works.
yogaṁ ca: Karmayoga (Service without attachment).
śaṁsasi: Putting in doubt.
yac chreya: What is better.
etayor ekaṁ: Either of these two.
me brūhi: Tell me.
Arjuna said, Oh Krishna, you have said about renunciation of works, and again you are putting in doubt about works without attachment. Please let me know certainly as to which of these two is better.
To be free from the bondage of works by ‘Karmyoga’ (to work without attachment for the result) and to fight by destroying all doubts by the sword of pure knowledge (renunciation) although apparently seem to be contradictory, actually they are one and the same thing. We cannot stop our activities as living entities. Activities dictated by lust are followed by their action and reactions (bondage) and the result of which is enjoyed by the conditioned soul himself. But activities for the service of the Absolute Truth are the products of pure knowledge. When activities, therefore undertaken for the services of the Absolute Truth, one has no responsibility for the result of those actions.
Renunciation of all works means to cease to enjoy the fruits of all works and the very same result is obtained when one performs actions for the transcendental service. Renouncement of anything is the negative side only of positive truth. The value of such renunciation is zero only if there is no positive engagement. Stop playing by a student is certainly a kind of renunciation whose value is zero only if the boy does not engage himself in his valuable studies. Renunciation of works (Sanyasam) therefore is a step forward from the state of satisfying sense-gratification, towards acceptance of engagement in the transcendental services of the Absolute Truth. In the absence of such transcendental service for the Absolute Truth, mere renunciation of works has no value so to say. Arjuna is to fight in order to execute the supreme will of Sree Krishna the Absolute Truth. In order to come to that state of pure knowledge, Arjuna is advised to do works for the Absolute Truth i.e. to work without any attachment for the result of the work. To renounce therefore material attachment of a work is to create interest is spiritual attachment. To renounce therefore material enjoyment means to enter into spiritual felicity. The aim being one and the same there is no difference between Karmayoga and pure knowledge.