The paths of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti are not different but inter-related and they all lead to the ultimate goal, salvation. In a lecture, Sri Goda Venkateswara Sastrigal drew attention to Krishna’s exposition on Karma Yoga to Arjuna which till date serves as a veritable golden rule that is applicable to all including the Lord Himself.
“Works do not defile Me; nor do I have any yearning for their fruit,” states Krishna. The Lord explains how this creation has been designed to evolve according to the system of the fourfold order — a classification that rests on the distinction of ‘Gunas’ or the qualities of people and ‘Karma,’ the work they are engaged in. But He Himself remains unattached and above any action or change though He is the cause of the entire scheme that depends on the aptitude or skill for the functioning of the world order.
The Lord tells Arjuna that on no account he should give up his duty as a Kshatriya. While motivating Arjuna to act, He teaches him how to convert action into karma yoga. Work is crucial to human existence, and one should do one’s ordained work in whatever walk of life he may be placed. Each individual is endowed with a certain ability and temperament to carry out the specific duties and actions required for the particular vocation. Commitment to work is what matters, though from the point of view of the individual, the fruit of action may be the attraction. But work done with attachment to fruits brings in its wake bondage. Hence one should learn to work in a detached manner renouncing the desire for the fruits of action. This attitude instils the qualities of Viveka and Vairagya. Such a person matures into a Jnani whose qualities and excellences the Lord elaborates upon.