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Cultura International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology

Volume 16, Issue 1, 2019

Leigh Duffy
Pages 7-21

Action and Inaction in The Bhagavad Gita

In this paper, I address the seeming tension found in The Bhagavad Gita in our duties as described in the practice of Karma yoga. The path of Karma yoga involves renunciation and yet we also have an obligation to act righteously. How are we to simultaneously choose a path of duty and let go of what our actions along that path produce? I will argue that the seeming tension is a result of a misunderstanding of renunciation or non-attachment as well as an incomplete view of the dualistic philosophy of yoga theory. I describe the two main paths of yoga that are emphasized in The Bhagavad Gita, Jnana yoga or the path of knowledge and Karma yoga or the path of action, and argue that it is necessary to understand Karma yoga in light of Jnana yoga and to apply Jnana yoga so that it‟s not an abstract school of thought, but a philosophy that can be applied to best live our lives.