Chapter 5 Sanyasa Yoga Verse 2

Shloka

Sri Bhagavaan Uvaacha:
Sannyaasah karmayogashcha nihshreyasakaraa vubhau;
Tayostu karmasannyaasaat karmayogo vishishyate.

Translation

The Blessed Lord said:
Renunciation and the Yoga of action both lead to the highest bliss;
but of the two, the Yoga of action is superior to the renunciation of action.

Interpretation

After listening to the question of Arjuna, Lord Krishna starts to answer the question. He says to Arjuna that renunciation and action both are very important part of anyone’s life. He adds that a person can attain the highest state of bliss by renouncing everything or by doing the actions according to his dharma. Lord Krishna then goes on to compare the renunciation and action with each other. He concludes that between the two the action is considered to be always superior in nature than renouncing everything and living as a sanyasi.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The point one needs to ponder here is the superiority of action over the renunciation. One has to understand a very simple fact that doing something is always better than not doing anything.

Then why people think that sanyasi, who doesn’t do anything gets salvation? The answer is that the progression of life is that one should perform all his duties and do actions that they are supposed to do. Once the actions are completed and once the person achieves his goal then he should slowly move towards renunciation and should renounce everything and become a sanyasi. In that context Lord Krishna says that both renunciation and action both lead to highest bliss.

But when He starts comparing both, He concludes that action is more important than renunciation.

There are two reasons for it. The first is a person who has the capability of renouncing, will reach that capability only after he performs all the actions. When the person does all the actions according to his dharma, he understands the plan of the Almighty and then goes to achieve highest level of success. Once success is achieved he starts renunciation. If I explain it with an example, a rich person if he lives like a beggar it is renunciation and a poor person if he lives like a beggar it is because of not doing the actions that he is supposed to do.

The second reason is a person who understands the difference between the both renunciation and action will choose renunciation only after action. An ignorant person renounces every action, thinking that it is renunciation. But in reality it is not renunciation and he can never be a sanyasi. It is his laziness and lack of willpower to do that task and he calls it renunciation. Such a person can never grow in life nor can attain Moksha.