loke ’smin dvi-vidha nistha
pura prokta mayanagha
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who try to realize the self. Some are inclined to understand it by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others by devotional service.
Commentary by Srila Prabhupada
In the Second Chapter, verse 39, the Lord explained two kinds of procedures—namely sankhya-yoga and karma-yoga, or buddhi-yoga. In this verse, the Lord explains the same more clearly. Sankhya-yoga, or the analytical study of the nature of spirit and matter, is the subject matter for persons who are inclined to speculate and understand things by experimental knowledge and philosophy. The other class of men work in Krishna consciousness, as it is explained in the 61st verse of the Second Chapter. The Lord has explained, also in the 39th verse, that by working by the principles of buddhi-yoga, or Krishna consciousness, one can be relieved from the bonds of action; and, furthermore, there is no flaw in the process. The same principle is more clearly explained in the 61st verse—that this buddhi-yoga is to depend entirely on the Supreme (or more specifically, on Krishna), and in this way all the senses can be brought under control very easily. Therefore, both the yogas are interdependent, as religion and philosophy. Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation. The ultimate goal is Krishna, because the philosophers who are also sincerely searching after the Absolute Truth come in the end to Krishna consciousness. This is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita. The whole process is to understand the real position of the self in relation to the Superself. The indirect process is philosophical speculation, by which, gradually, one may come to the point of Krishna consciousness; and the other process is directly connecting with everything in Krishna consciousness. Of these two, the path of Krishna consciousness is better because it does not depend on purifying the senses by a philosophical process. Krishna consciousness is itself the purifying process, and by the direct method of devotional service it is simultaneously easy and sublime.
Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur
Here the Lord answers. You have asked me to indicate clearly one of either karma yoga or jnana yoga since I have explained both in an impartial way. The two processes that I have explained are for those qualified for karma and jnana, according to different circumstances. It is not that these people are equally suitable for liberation. This is now explained in verses. I have explained in the previous chapter (pura prokta) two types of qualification. For those engaged in knowledge (sankhyanam), who have risen to the state of knowledge purity of the heart, there is steadiness in jnana yoga. That their limited field. They are known in this world for cultivation of knowledge. This is shown in verses such as the following:
tani sarvani samyamya yukta asita mat-parah vase hi yasyendriyani tasya prajna pratisthita
The yogi who is devoted to me, after restraining all the ser will remain seated, unresponsive to sense objects. He whose senses have thus been brought under control is sthita prajna. BG 2.61
For those who are not able to ascend to the platform knowledge by a pure heart, there is a means to ascend to platform. They are fixed or limited to niskama karma yog activities without desire, offered to me. They are known as the engaged in karma. Verses such as the following illustrate this yoga.
sva-dharmam api caveksya na vikampitum arhasi dharmyad dhi yuddhac chreyo ‘nyat ksatriyasya na vidyate
Considering your own duties, you should not be fearful. The is nothing better for the warrior than to fight for the right cause. BG 2.31
The karmi and jnani are different in name only. Actually persons engaged in karma become pure hearted jnanis by the actions. And the jnanis become liberated by bhakti. This is meaning of all my words.