श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते |
ध्यानात्कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम् || 12||
śhreyo hi jñānam abhyāsāj jñānād dhyānaṁ viśhiṣhyate
dhyānāt karma-phala-tyāgas tyāgāch chhāntir anantaram
śhreyaḥ—better; hi—for; jñānam—knowledge; abhyāsāt—than (mechanical) practice; jñānāt—than knowledge; dhyānam—meditation; viśhiṣhyate—better; dhyānāt—than meditation; karma-phala-tyāgaḥ—renunciation of the fruits of actions; tyāgāt—renunciation; śhāntiḥ—peace; anantaram—immediately
Than practice (without discrimination) knowledge (derived from the study of the Sastras) is better indeed! than (such) knowledge, meditation is better, than meditation (stillness of mind at the time of meditation) renunciation of all fruits of action is better; immediately after renunciation peace is attained.
Here ‘abhyasa’ means practice without discrimination; ‘jnana’ means knowledge got through study of books, ‘Dhyana’ means thinking over the object at the time of meditation.
Jnanat dhyanam visishyate: Of course, direct experience through ‘Dhyana’ is far higher than mere knowledge got through the study of the scriptures. ‘Dhyana’ means the realisation of knowledge by constant meditation. This is indeed far higher than mere knowledge derived from the study of books.
Dhyanat karmaphalatyagah: Renunciation of action and their fruits is higher than ‘Dhyana’. For the unripened Dhyana – yogi, the mind may be still and pure only at the time of mediation. But when he comes into practical life, there is always the danger of its being contaminated by worldly objects. But for the man who has surrendered all actions to God, the mind is always pure. The ‘Tyagi’ enjoys purity everywhere and at all times. Therefore it is said here that ‘tyaga’ is higher than ‘Dhyana’. From this, we understand the superior excellence of ‘Nishkama Karma’. Most people are engaged in work. Very few can renounce work completely. So for the majority of mankind, this path is most suitable and leads them to a higher realisation than ‘jnana’ and ‘dhyana’. Moreover, purity of mind is essential for all yogas. And such purity is attainable by Nishkama Karma. If this is practised for long, the foundation of spiritual life would be firm and steady. The higher realisation can be had only after this purity is perfected in the mind and heart.
Tyagat santiranantaram: Peace is the immediate reward of self-surrender to God. Renunciation of the ego, renunciation of the objective world, renunciation of sin and evil – this is immediately followed by peace. The impurities of the mind being cleansed, peace flows into it like a flood (tesham santih saswati netaresham). Atma shines forth in the pure heart. Everyone in the sorrowful world is seeking for peace. How to get it? “tyagat santih” – from renunciation, peace is obtained. Therefore one should give up all sensual pleasures, fruits of actions, egoism and the binding sense of doership. Then he shall experience the highest peace. Such is the path shown by the Lord to all mankind.
Question: What is the excellence of ‘Karmaphalatyaga’?
Answer: It is better than practice without understanding, than knowledge obtained from books, than Dhyana which stills the mind only during the time of meditation.
Question: How to attain peace?
Answer: By renunciation of the fruits of action.