Saturday, August 14, 2010

Are Samkhya Yoga and Karma Yoga inter-dependent?

Lord Krishna in chapter 5 of the Bhagavada Gita explains the importance of devotional work over renunciation of work in shloka 2 as follows:

श्री-भगवान उवाचा
संन्यासः करमा-योगस का
निह्स्रेयासा-करव उभौ
तयोस तू करमा-संन्यसत
करमा-योगो विसिस्यते ।
"The Personality of Godhead replied: The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work."

And then comes the piece which is our topic for today in the 4th shloka of the chapter.

संख्या-योगौ प्रिथाग ब्लाह
प्रवदन्ति न पण्डितः
एकं अप्य अस्थितः संयाग
उभयोर विन्दते फलं।
"Only the ignorant speak of devotional service [karma-yoga] as being different from the analytical study of the material world [Sankhya]. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both."

So, this gives the impression that Sankhya yoga and Karma yoga are tied to each other. But is it? What if somebody decides to do only an analytical study of the world, with material lusts as a guiding factor? The results of that would be utterly different from a person who dedicates himself to a devotional service to the Lord. We can see that from the difference in outcome of a person who is dedicated to the material sciences, who is duly rewarded for his work in money and in fame and all through does not develop any devotion towards anything, while a person who is dedicated to devotional service might live a life of penury without acquiring any analytical knowledge of the material world. Then how can it be said, that an analytical study of the material world -- Sankhya Yoga can lead to realization of results of devotional service -- Karma Yoga, and Karma Yoga can lead to the results of Sankya Yoga?

Or is this an indication of how corrupted our society has become, that we give importance only to the material world and not the physical or spiritual. Perhaps a union of the results of the two was possible in earlier times and not now? Is thus the Gita an indicator of a pristine, pure age? If that is the case, we ought to correct our approach to life to restore the old ways, or if it has always been like this for ages, we can continue along our current path of rewarding endeavours in the material world over those in the spiritual world.

Need citations/links from followers and readers on this topic.