Who is a Tapaswi, a Gnyani, A Karmi and A Yogi?


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Updated on December 15, 2020

For all types and methods of spiritual practice and still leading a worldly life joyfully, Lord Krishna is comparing the different major groups of religious cum spiritual practices.

तपस्विभ्योऽधिकोयोगी  ज्ञानिभ्योऽपिमतोऽधिक:|
कर्मिभ्यश्चाधिकोयोगी  तस्माद्योगीभवार्जुन || 46||

tapasvibhyo ’dhiko yogī jñānibhyo ’pi mato ’dhikaḥ
karmibhyaśh chādhiko yogī tasmād yogī bhavārjuna

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6 Verse 46

General Meaning:

The Yogi is greater than an ascetic (Tapaswi). The Yogi is greater than an intellectual and a philosopher. The Yogi is greater than a ritualistic performer of religious activities. This is my opinion, so therefore, you become a Yogi, O’Arjuna. 

Explanatory Notes:

In this verse of the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter-6), Lord Krishna gives opinion and advice to Arjuna, for his all-round benefits and freedom from sufferings including stress. For all types and methods of spiritual practice and still leading a worldly life joyfully, Lord Krishna is comparing the different major groups of religious cum spiritual practices.

Tapaswi: a Tapaswi (self-mortifying ascetic) necessarily practices severe penances with the aim and objective of acquiring miraculous powers or siddhis. In yoga, spiritual practice is Niskaama or selfless. It is practiced without any ulterior motive or fulfillment of desire.

Gnyani: a Gnyani or intellectual or philosopher is firmly rooted in his ego. So it is not yoga in the real sense. He is full of vanity of his intellect and philosophy based on ego. He cannot attain liberation. He is bound by his ego and intellect. He cannot go beyond to attain the spirit or the soul.

Karmi: he is a performer of Sakaara Karma, ego based actions. Even in religious practices, the ego basedsankalpa and desires and their fulfilments are the dominant factors. Either they pray for fulfilment of their own desires or fulfilment of the desires of others. This involves thepayment of prescribed fees and donations etc.

Yogi: The yogi, whereas, no more identifies with his ego-based biological self-identification. The yogi (kriya yogi) is always identified with his spirit or the soul. The yogi considers himself as an agent of God (Nimitta Mataram). The yogi is never motivated by his ego-based selfish desires. He is motivated to perform all actions, in thought, speech, and action, as service to god. The yogi is not influenced by the results of rewards of his actions, nor he is influenced by the so-called failures. According to Mahavatar Baba Ji and Lahiri Mahasaya, the real yoga is kriya yoga and the real yogi is kriya yogi.

In the whole of the blessed Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna teaches this only with multiple choices of techniques, for the same purpose,i.e. self-identification and self-realization.

May God and the Great Masters, Bless, Guide, Protect and Inspire you.

With much love and humbleness,
Paramahansa Atmananda Ji

Paramahansa Atmananda

A Doctor, A Yogi, A Teacher. He is a Yogi and highly qualified doctor. With his specialization in Internal Medicine and Neurology, he has been able to make many spiritual seekers understand about Kriya Yoga as a scientific technique for Self and God Realization.