The Bhagavad Gita is the essence of the teachings of the Upanishads and, in simple terms, Lord Krishna explains the way to salvation through the paths of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti Yoga. The first six chapters of Bhagavad Gita are devoted to the exposition of the method of Self-realisation through Karma Yoga and Jnana yoga. The second set of six chapters deals with Bhakti Yoga and states that the object of Bhakti is God. The third set sums up and clarifies the essence of what was earlier explained. The three paths of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti Yoga are intimately intermixed to generate various paths with varying resultant paths which are suitable for different types of personalities or stages in life. Moksha is probably the complete satisfaction after which there is no desire to know or achieve physically in life. As per Lord Krishna one can achieve moksha in all three ways.
Karma is required to be done physically. So, all acts, requiring primarily physical execution are dealt in Karma Yoga. Though Karma yoga requires mental function too, but here physical work is supreme. The knowledge part, observation, inference, discussions, decision between right or wrong are classified under Jnana Yoga. Bhakti yoga is happiness through emotions by complete submission on the part of individual to anybody whom he thinks devoted to. He may be God as per person’s own thinking or any individual the person finds devoted to. Physically and mentally capable persons, in a position to do socially required tasks, doing their work in best possible way, working honestly, truthfully and with a service above self motive, are supposed to pursue Karma Yoga or Jnana Yoga. Bhakti Yoga is pursued by personalities who are primarily concerned with Ishwar Pranidhana (Spiritual Quest) or who cannot take to first two paths, because of age or other reasons. Bhakti Yoga provides eternal bliss and moksha to persons who followed first two paths in their prime life and have now retired from these paths.
Some people are emotionally very loving, very affectionate. Such people find Bhakti Yoga as the supreme and Bhakti Yoga will be very helpful for them to grow very fast towards the highest achievement. Some people are great intellectuals, they have got powerful intellect. They can understand. They can see through things and their logical brain is very strong. For them the Jnana Yoga is the best. The Jnana Yoga uses that intellect to transcend itself to go the highest. There are some people who are very good at hands, doing work, any work you give immediately they are going to do that. They may not be great thinkers but they can do the work very efficiently and see that the work is done. For such people the Karma Yoga is the best. But today in the modern society we need all these dimensions; intellectually one should be very sharp, emotionally highly developed and good at work; otherwise one cannot face the challenges of the modern era of science and technology.
Dr Mahesh Chandra Panda