Comparison was the order of the day. So is it still. Perhaps forever it shall remain so, especially in the field of manifestation. Renunciation and selfless action are now being compared. This is Arjuna’s request.
“Both you extol, O Krishna, renunciation and selfless action. Tell me decisively once and for all, which is the better of the two? ”
Sri Krishna’s immediate answer is: “Both lead to the Bliss Supreme, but action is easier, action is superior.”
The Divine Teacher makes it clear, however, that renunciation cannot be achieved in the twinkling of an eye. And to achieve the fruit of renunciation without selfless action is next to impossible.
Yoga is action freed from separativity. The awareness of a separate feeling is the death of renunciation. Action done with a feeling of universal oneness is the glorious birth of renunciation.
Two schools. One school teaches the renunciation of any work whatsoever. The other school teaches the performance of action, right action. One school says: “Stop doing anything.” The other school says: “Start doing everything.” Alas! Since the message of the Gita has not been truly understood in India, that country abounds in both dry ascetics and unlit men of action.
From action, action springs. Action as such can never put an end to action. Action is continuous. Action is perpetual. No matter how hard we work, how long we work, mere action can never show us the Face of the Supreme. He is a true Karma-Yogi who works for the Supreme and for the Supreme alone. Indeed the Karma Yogi is also the greatest renouncer, for he seeks nothing, rejects nothing. Likes and dislikes to him have equal importance. At his high command are all pairs of opposites. They exist to affirm him, to fulfil him, to crown him with victory, inner and outer.
Krishna’s teachings aim at one Goal, the Bliss Supreme. Human temperaments are bound to differ. Human beings have varying tendencies and leanings. Such being the case, it is difficult for Arjuna to assess the most immediate and most direct path.
Action and renunciation are identical. Action is the tree. Renunciation is the fruit thereof. One cannot be greater than the other. The tree and the fruit grow in the bosom of Infinity to be loved by Eternity and embraced by Immortality.