tasmād yogāya yujyasva
yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 2.50
A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad actions even in this life. Therefore strive for yoga, which is the art of all work.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Since time immemorial each living entity has accumulated the various reactions of his good and bad work. As such, he is continuously ignorant of his real constitutional position. One’s ignorance can be removed by the instruction of the Bhagavad-gita, which teaches one to surrender unto Lord Sri Krishna in all respects and become liberated from the chained victimization of action and reaction, birth after birth. Arjuna is therefore advised to act in Krishna consciousness, the purifying process of resultant action.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Therefore endeavor for the yoga as described here (yogaya yujyasva). Between all actions done with or without desire (karmasu), action performed with indifference to results (yogah) is a skill (kausalam).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
2.50 He, who is established in evenness of mind in the performance of actions, relinquishes good and evil Karmas which have accumulated from time immemorial causing bondage endlessly. Therefore acquire this aforesaid evenness of mind (Buddhi Yoga). Yoga is skill in action. That is, this evenness of mind when one is engaged in action, is possible through great skill, i.e., ability.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
But one who is engaged in actions performed in spiritual intelligence is superior. By the grace of the Supreme Lord one acting in this way is relieved of both good actions which leads to heaven and evil actions which lead to hell even in this very life. Therefore verily one should always engage oneself in the sacred science of one’s individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness by consecrating in righteousness all activities unto the Supreme Lord for this. This is known as karma yoga. Because this sacred science is the actual skill in performing all activities, is the formula for righteous actions which turns even ordinary activities that normally lead to bondage into the means of liberation by offering them in righteousness unto the Supreme Lord Krishna.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna speaks of directing one’s consciousness by spiritual intelligence. The merits one gains in the course of human existence such as fame, relations, power and wealth though pleasant should not be deemed important or be attached to. But those superior merits one has acquired by surrender and meditation to the Supreme Lord such as righteousness, compassion for all living entities, devotion and love of God should be most attached to. For one whose consciousness is situated in the ignorance of nescience, whatever sacrifice, charity, penance or austerity one performs even for thousands of years are to no avail and bequeath no benefit. This has been well delineated in many Vedic scriptures. Hence it is clearly to be understood that the ignorant do not gain anything spiritual by their actions. Vedic scriptures reveal that both merits and demerits are destroyed if actions are performed in unfavourable circumstances. If merit gets destroyed as well it is always detrimental; but there is no possibility for destruction of any merit for one who is situated in spiritual intelligence even if there is some remnant of desire present.
If one completely liberated by the wisdom of spiritual intelligence happens to desire the realm of the ancestors by his very wish they will be evoked before him. If this liberated one wishes to enter higher planetary systems or even the heavenly realms by his wish it is accomplished. Objectives deemed impossible by relative perspectives which the liberated self desires manifests on its own accord due to the inherent potency acquired by uniting one’s individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness of the Supreme Lord and by receiving the power of the Supreme Lords grace.
It is not that one ever can lose their individual existence by uniting ones individual consciousness to the Supreme Lords ultimate consciousness. The soul is always connected with the Supreme Lord but those in the nescience of ignorance are unaware of the souls existence. The difference between the Supreme Lord and all living entities is eternal and thus the individual existence of all living entities is established as being different from the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lords activities are beyond the parameters of the material existence indicating his eternal transcendental position whereas all living entities in the material existence are subject to the cycle of birth and death.
By the dissolution of all illusions the reflection also ends and any and all concepts of losing one’s individual existence by merging, immediately is terminated as knowledge of the eternal difference between the Supreme Lord and all living entities is self-evident by self-realisation. Such conceptions of merging are contrary to wisdom due to the distinct spiritual form of the Supreme Lord.
Not even with imagination can it be suggested that an object reflected is at the same time united with its reflection although one determines the other. Nor in the cessation of consciousness is there any evidence of merging of reflection and reflected. Otherwise how would it be possible to experience the perception of the duality between the two. The misery of the material existence is definitely a reality. As long as the self is incarcerated within a physical body this misery continues to be. Thus it can be understood that the self is also eternal. So the Supreme Lord and the self or soul are eternal and other statement concerning this are either temporary or symbolic.
Narada Muni has personally seen liberated souls different as separate individual beings from the Supreme Lord. The statements found of becoming one with the Lord are indicating that one attains the qualitative spiritual existence and association of the Supreme Lord. Different determinations are found to be stated due to different angles of vision. When a man and a woman are married it is often said that they have become one; but does that mean they have each lost their separate individual existence? No not at all. The proper rational and analysis must be exercised when differentiation is seen in the statements of the scriptures and by doing so the basic principle is strengthened. By proper understanding and rationalisation alone can differentiation be harmonised. Like a river entering the ocean. It is all water but the river maintains its own characteristics which are simultaneously one and different from the ocean.
Yet even if in those instances where difference is not accepted, it still must be admitted that with the entry of the river the volume of the ocean has definitely increased and cannot be denied. The Supreme Lord can be likened unto the sea always open to receive; but because of the seas immensity the total perception is restricted.
Narada Muni has also gone on to declare that the Supreme Lord cannot be attained by even Brahma, Shiva and all the host of demigods. By such words Narada negates equality with the Supreme Lord. Similarly with the words yatra nanyat pashyati, where nothing else is perceived even by such words then deference and subservience to the Supreme Lord is always shown or else how is known to be the Supreme. All these statement have been revealed to dispel illusion and clarify reality and they have been deliberated and determined in various scriptures by powerful summations and profound summations.
These statements should not be considered contradictory as the demigods have temporal physical bodies. Although eternal spiritual beings also have their bodies they are not temporal being spiritually surcharged and being eternally devoid of limitations by the power of devotion to and the power of mercy from the Supreme Lord Krishna. Therefore in the Narayana Shatakshara Kalpa the 16 distinctive signs on the bodies of eternal spiritual beings is given.
In normal parlance due to their exalted nature, eternal spiritual beings are referred to as being beyond duality, beyond the influence of material nature and transcendental to the material existence.
Although material bodies are continuously perishing and returning to the elements. The bodies of the eternal spiritual beings do not perish for they are neither dependent on creation or destruction. But due to the fact that externally they have similar forms that appear to be the same, words are used that describe them in terms that are comprehensible according to time and circumstances. When one hears of descriptions like dwellers of the spiritual worlds possess no bodies and senses sometimes used by Narada Muni it should be understood that these spiritual beings possess no physical bodies and senses as we know of but possess only spiritual bodies filled with spiritual senses and light and bliss.
For eternal spiritual beings this very state itself is the verification for mukti or liberation. What is the use of speaking more if liberation has not been achieved and Swetadwipa has not been attained? According to Vedic scriptures one is not a yogi until one is liberated. Other forms of liberation are negated in the Aditya Purana. Even those demons terminated by Vausdeva Krishna like Sishupal in the end finally get liberation but to attain Swetadwipa special attributes are required.
King Yudisthira asked about liberation and it was confirmed that the other four forms of liberation based on merging with the Lord have been rejected. Only similarity with the form of the Lord is the accepted form of liberation. Achieving liberation and acquiring a spiritual body and through that body entering the abode of the Lord and lovingly interacting in ones eternal position with the Supreme Lord is understood to be liberation in similarity to Lord Krishna and not merging into Him as confirmed in the Narayana Shatkakshara Kalpa
Therefore by achieving liberation all undesirable qualities are destroyed at the root and all things antagonistic to spiritual development are terminated. Then without misery, devoid of all pains and worries, deliverance, beyond sorrow, they go to the place where none returns beyond birth and death. These special statements found in the Vedic scriptures prove that those who become self-realised and achieve liberation do not perceive similarity with the Lord but realise an affinity with the Supreme Lord and in the process by the sole dissolution of their collective karma they enjoy closeness with the Supreme Lord in uninterrupted bliss.
Therefore it is written in Vedic scriptures that after becoming so qualified one enters the eternal spiritual worlds without fail of this there is no doubt. Hence all impurities are completely readicated and seperated from the eternal spirit soul of the liberated spiritual being. Even Brahma prays to attain that pure spiritual state according to his understanding.. “I desire to attain that supreme state of Brahman. O Supreme Brahman, Lord Krishna, Janardana”. Thus Brahma and even Shiva duly pray for this Supreme state. Such a state is not only the removal of all impurities but also the natural condition of eternal bliss.
There is nothing comparable to liberation from the material existence in the material worlds. Neither is there anything comparable to the experiences of this superior bliss once one has achieved liberation. This all encompassing and all pervading bliss transcends speech and is even not found within the mind. Thus it is established that the bliss accompanying liberation is superior to the bliss of brahman. Thus become firmly attuned to equanimity by yoga and getting wisdom perform those excellent actions solely as a matter of duty as offerings to the Supreme Lord Krishna.
Now begins the summation.
Knowledge of the Supreme Lord Krishna and by that knowledge renouncing the fruits of ones actions neutralises the effects of ones actions and is known as excellent actions. Knowledge of the Supreme Lord Krishna is known as spiritual intelligence.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
After pointing out the defects of performing optional activities which are not essential, Lord Krishna extols the virtues of equanimity in that it neutralises all reactions without a doubt both positive and negative. Therefore everyone should make a diligent endeavour to achieve this consciousness of equanimity. For one expertly engaged in actions which do not incur reactions on their path to attain liberation form the material existence and the ultimate truth is the highest skill.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
2.50 Listen to the result that one possessed of the wisdom of equanimity attains by performing one’s own duties: Buddhi-yuktah, possessed of wisdom, possessed of the wisdom of equanimity; since one jahati, rejects; iha, here, in this world; ubhe, both; sukrta-duskrte, virtue and vice (righteousness and unrighteousness), through the purification of the mind and acquisition of Knowledge; tasmat, therefore; yujyasva, devote yourself; yogaya, to (Karma-) yoga, the wisdom of equanimity. For Yoga is kausalam, skilfulness; karmasu, in action. Skilfulness means the attitude of the skilful, the wisdom of equanimity with regard to one’s success and failure while engaged in actions (karma) — called one’s own duties (sva-dharma) — with the mind dedicated to God. That indeed is skilfulness which, through equanimity, makes actions that by their very nature bind give up their nature! Therefore, be you devoted to the wisdom of equanimity.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
2.50 Buddhiyuktah etc. Both indicates the mutual exclusion [of the good and bad actions]. Therefore [strive] for Yoga etc. : Working in that manner alone constitutes the supreme proficiency, by [working] in which manner the good action and the bad action perish. This is the idea here.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
tasmad yogaya yujyasva
yogah karmasu kausalam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
buddhi-yuktaḥ — one who is engaged in devotional service; jahāti — can get rid of; iha — in this life; ubhe — both; sukṛta-duṣkṛte — good and bad results; tasmāt — therefore; yogāya — for the sake of devotional service; yujyasva — be so engaged; yogaḥ — Kṛṣṇa consciousness; karmasu — in all activities; kauśalam — art.