The beginner says that the path of Samkhya and the path of Yoga are different, but not the wise. Undertaken together, one finds the fruit of both.
Sankhya (सांख्य) – ‘bringing forth knowledge’
Sankhya is known as the path of Knowledge.
Yoga (योग) – ‘union, the act of yoking together’
Yoga is known as the path of Action.
The Path of Knowledge. The word sankhya means knowledge derived through intellect, reason, discrimination and meditation. Sankhya is one of the six major systems of Hindu philosophy.
The Path of Action. The path of yoga, ‘union; the act of yoking together’ gives yoga the distinction of action as its basis.
To the yogi, these two paths are not different. Case in point: The Yoga Sūtras, important aphorisms on the practice of Yoga, was written by Patanjali, a Sankhyist. One who has achieved success in their spiritual path understands this partnership of Knowledge and Action.
That which is attained by Samkhya is also attained by Yoga. Samkhya and Yoga are one. One who sees this, sees correctly.
Yoga Brings Forth Knowledge
A person on the path of Yoga naturally finds themself on the path of Knowledge as well, for Yoga brings knowledge both directly and indirectly.
The path of Action is called Karma Yoga (‘action union’). While some see Karma Yoga as devotional service, the yogi understands that action (karma) as described by Lord Krishna, brings the very knowledge sought by the traveller on the path of Sankhya.
No matter through which door one enters a room, it is still the same room.
Lord Krishna stated earlier that the path of Action is superior to the path of Knowledge. He points out that the path of Action produces Knowledge anyway, and being also the path of Liberation, is therefore the superior of the two.
The yogi on the path of Action avails himself of knowledge through oral teachings, scripture, and personal experience in meditation. In this way, the yogi is also on the path of Knowledge. Action proves knowledge through experience in meditation, and ultimately leads to liberation. But the path of Knowledge alone does not bring liberation.
Correct action produces correct knowledge.
Correct knowledge is proved through correct action.
The Path of Devotion
We must not ignore the path of Devotion. It is not mentioned in these verses for one reason only: It is assumed, for one cannot succeed in either the path of Knowledge or the path of Action without it. Devotion is the very foundation for the success of both.
Devotion (bhakti) – love, trust, respect, honor, reverence, faith, humble submission.
Regardless of one’s personal orientation, Devotion, Action and Knowledge are all necessary for success. As one continues with the practice of any one of these three, progress will ultimately bring them together equally.
The commitment necessary for success on any path is motivated in the Devotee by love and respect for God and Guru, in the Yogi by the desire for union with the Absolute, and in the Knowledge-oriented seeker by the hunger for wisdom and enlightenment. These three united are the bringers of success: the fulfillment of one’s Natural State.
Happiness is Your Natural State
Renunciation is difficult to attain without Yoga. Yoked to Yoga and progressing speedily, the wise soon attain Brahman.
Put another way: Renunciation is easy with Yoga. One who understands Yoga and sticks to it will easily attain God.
Renunciation – Throwing down, laying aside, abandoning, surrender.
Renunciation is generally understood as a vow of poverty and a life of service or yoga practice, and the abandonment of desires. However, in these verses, we have come to realize that renunciation is the abandonment of the role of the doer of actions, which is synonymous with the ‘surrender’ of Surrender Meditation. Yoga (Action) is the means, and yoga (union) is the result.
Lord Krishna says that renunciation is difficult to attain without Yoga. Now, does he mean the path of Yoga, or does he mean ‘union’? When we understand that the path of Action, Yoga, brings about union, then we have it correctly: the answer is both.
If we are practicing Surrender Meditation, we are practicing the path of Action, Karma Yoga. If we pursue knowledge and understand it correctly, we are also practicing the path of Knowledge. As we continue our practice with Devotion, we will experience Truth and gain true Wisdom and Eternal Happiness.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are, even as a being),
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