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The Two Paths to Spiritual Perfection in Bhagavad Gita: Buddhi Yog and Sānkhya Yog

Apr 14th, 2024 | 1 Min Read
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Category: Bhagavad Gita


Language: English

Chapter One of the Bhagavad Gita, known as Arjun viṣhād yog, introduces the setting where Arjun's grief and lamentation arise, creating a reason for Shree Krishna to give spiritual instructions. 

In the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, also known as sānkhya yog, Bhagavan reveals to Arjun the importance of understanding one's immortal self and warrior duty. He expounds on the concept of buddhi yog, which involves detaching oneself from the fruits of one's actions. This means that one should strive to control the mind and resist worldly temptations through the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. However, it is important to note that this does not mean giving up actions altogether. Instead, one should renounce attachment to the results of those actions. This is achieved by developing an unwavering intellect resolute in its commitment to spiritual principles.

Shri Krishna explained the two paths leading to spiritual perfection:

  1. The first is acquiring knowledge through the analytical study of the nature of the soul and its distinction from the body. Shree Krishna refers to this as sānkhya yog. People with a philosophical bent of mind are inclined towards this path of knowing the self (ātman) through intellectual analysis. 
  2. The second is the process of working in the spirit of devotion to God or karm yog. Shri Krishna calls this buddhi Yog. Working in this manner purifies the mind, and knowledge naturally awakens in the purified mind, thereby leading to enlightenment. 
न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् |
कार्यते ह्यवश: कर्म सर्व: प्रकृतिजैर्गुणै: ||
na hi kaśhchit kṣhaṇam api jātu tiṣhṭhatyakarma-kṛit
kāryate hyavaśhaḥ karma sarvaḥ prakṛiti-jair guṇaiḥ
Translation: There is no one who can remain without action even for a moment. Indeed, all beings are compelled to act by their qualities born of material nature (the three guṇas).

Shree Krishna states that people who externally renounce the objects of the senses while continuing to dwell upon them in the mind are hypocrites who delude themselves. A person in household life who practises karm yog is superior to the false renunciant who continues to dwell on the objects of the senses in the mind. Until the mind and intellect reach a state where they are absorbed in God-consciousness, physical work performed in an attitude of duty is very beneficial for one's internal purification; even basic bodily activities like eating, bathing, and maintaining proper health require work.

Summary: JKYog India Online Class- Bhagavad Gita [English]- 13.04.2024