tapasvibhyo 'dhiko yogi
jnanibhyo 'pi mato 'dhikah
karmibhyas cadhiko yogi
tasmad yogi bhavarjuna
tapasvibhyah—than the ascetic; adhikah—greater; yogi—the yogi; jnanibhyah—than the wise; api—also; matah—considered; adhikah—greater than; karmibhyah—than the fruitive worker; ca—also; adhikah—greater than; yogi—the yogi; tasmat—therefore; yogi—a transcendentalist; bhava—just become; arjuna—O Arjuna.
A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi.
When we speak of yoga we refer to linking up our consciousness with the Supreme Absolute Truth. Such a process is named differently by various practitioners in terms of the particular method adopted. When the linking up process is predominantly in fruitive activities, it is called karma-yoga, when it is predominantly empirical, it is called jnana-yoga, and when it is predominantly in a devotional relationship with the Supreme Lord, it is called bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga or Krsna consciousness is the ultimate perfection of all yogas, as will be explained in the next verse. The Lord has confirmed herein the superiority of yoga, but He has not mentioned that it is better than bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga is full spiritual knowledge, and as such, nothing can excel it. Asceticism without self-knowledge is imperfect. Empiric knowledge without surrender to the Supreme Lord is also imperfect. And fruitive work without Krsna consciousness is a waste of time. Therefore, the most highly praised form of yoga performance mentioned here is bhakti-yoga, and this is still more clearly explained in the next verse.
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