buddhim mohayashiva me
tad ekam vada niscitya
yena sreyo ’ham apnuyam
My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively which will be most beneficial for me.
Commentary by Srila Prabhupada
In the previous chapter, as a prelude to the Bhagavad-gita, many different paths were explained, such as sankhya-yoga, buddhi-yoga, control of the senses by intelligence, work without fruitive desire, and the position of the neophyte. This was all presented unsystematically. A more organized outline of the path would be necessary for action and understanding. Arjuna, therefore, wanted to clear up these apparently confusing matters so that any common man could accept them without misinterpretation. Although Krishna had no intention of confusing Arjuna by any jugglery of words, Arjuna could not follow the process of Krishna consciousness—either by inertia or by active service. In other words, by his questions he is clearing the path of Krishna consciousness for all students who seriously want to understand the mystery of the Bhagavad-gita.
Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur
“O my friend Arjuna, it is true that bhakti, beyond the gunas is supreme. But since that is obtained only by the mercy of my great pure devotees in an unexpected manner, it is not attained by the efforts of the individual. Therefore, I have given the blessing to you: be transcendental to the gunas (nistraigunya bhava): be transcendental to the gunas by transcendental bhakti. When this blessing matures, you will attain bhakti by such unexpected mercy of the pure devotee. As it is fitting to the present circumstances, directing you to engage in activity with the words karmany evadhikaras te is also valid.”
“Then why do you not clearly tell me to engage in activity? You throw me into an ocean of doubt. You bewilder my intelligence by those words which are mixture of many meanings (vyamisrena). Though you have mentioned about action (karmany evadhikaras te), you also speak of jnana using the word yoga in such statements as the following:
yogasthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktva dhananjaya siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva samatvam yoga ucyate
Being situated in this niskama karma yoga, perform your duties, giving up attachment, being equal to success and failure, O conqueror of wealth! Such equal mindedness is called yoga. BG 2.48
buddhi-yukto jahatiha ubhe sukrta-duskrte tasmad yogaya yujyasva yogah karmasu kausalam
He who is engaged in niskama karma yoga gives up both pious and impious reactions. Therefore engage in this yoga. Among all types of action, this performance without attachment is a skill. BG 2.50
And you speak only of knowledge in such statements as yada te moha-kalilam buddhir vyatitarisyati: when your intelligence has crossed the denseness of illusion… (Gita 2.52)
The word iva indicates that “Your words are not actually filled with many meanings, and it is not your desire to bewilder me, as you are merciful. Nor is it that I do not know the meaning, but you should speak this clearly.”
The deep sense is this: compared to karma in the mode of passion, karma in the mode of goodness is superior. Superior to that is jnana, which is also sattvika. And bhakti, beyond the modes, is superior to that. If you say that bhakti is not possible for me, then instruct me just on jnana alone. Then I should be free from the bondage of samsara and misery.