The Gita 5.4 says:

sāṅkhya-yogau pṛthag bālāḥ
pravadanti na paṇḍitāḥ
ekam apy āsthitaḥ samyag
ubhayor vindate phalam

Only the ignorant speak of devotional service as being different from the analytical study of the material world. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.

Does this mean that by analytical study of the material world (i.e. Science) one can attain samadhi?

  • @UdayKrishna What is the relation of SB 11.2.48 with this question?
    – Yogi
    Dec 3 '16 at 19:00
  • 3
    Where did you get this translation of 5.4? It is a bad translation. A more proper translation is "The fools, not the learned ones, speak of Sankhya (the path of Knowledge) and (Karma-) yoga as different. Any one who properly resorts to even one (of them) gets the result of both." Here Sankhya refers to Jnana Yoga - nothing to do with the material world. Dec 4 '16 at 4:27

The problem is with translation of the word Samkhya it is used as a synonym of Jnana Yoga(The path of Liberation through Knowledge).

Adi Shankaracharya, Bhagwad Ramanujacharya and different Other Acharyas have enlightened us on this through their commentaries.

Adi Shankaracharya's Comments:

This defect does not arise. Although the question was put by Arjuna merely with regard to renunciation and Karma-yoga, yet the Lord, without actually avoiding them, and by adding something special which was intended by Him, gave the answer by expressing them through other words, ‘Sankhya’ and ‘(Karma-) yoga’. Those very ‘renunciation and ‘Karma-yoga’, when they are (respectively) associated with Knowledge and such of Its means as equanimity etc., are meant by the words ‘Sankhya’ and ‘yoga’. This is the Lord’s veiw. Therefore there is no discussion out of the context.

Samkhya is not for what we today study as science, but it is JnanYoga path or path of Knowledge, it does not involve science as scriptures directly give that knowledge. The Science Just cannot find the root of the Material world because Bramhan is all pervading and doesn't need anything to prove his existence.

Jnana means Knowledge of Self and Bramhan or Atmajnana and Bramhajnana, Since science till the day is unable to understand nature and existence of Atman and Bramhan. I don't think modern day Science can be helpful in attaining Samadhi.

From Bhagwad Ramanujacharya's Commentary

Those who say that Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga are distinct because of the difference in results, are children, i.e., are persons with incomplete knowledge; they do not know the entire truth. The meaning is that they do not possess true knowledge, who say that Karma Yoga results in Jnana Yoga only and that Jnana Yoga alone results in the vision of the self and that the two are thus distinct because of the difference in their fruits. But on the contrary as both have only the vision of the self as the fruit, a person who is firmly set in one of them, wins that one fruit common to both.

On a side note AtmaJnana is not just realizing that you are atman the true self but to apply it in real life,i.e by doing nishkama karma and giving all fruits of actions to Krishna (Krishnarpanamastu) or as Seva or Kainkarya to Krishna.

As you act as an atman and see others as Jeevatman rather than bodies you will slowly realize that the worldly perspective of Bodies and materials is not the ultimate true nature. Rather only Jeevatman and Bramhan exist and goal of jeevatman is to attain Bramhan or Shriman Narayana (This is Vishitadvaita Perspective of Bhagwad Ramanujacharya).

In Advaita Perspective (propounded by Adi Shankaracharya) if you realize that you are Atman or Nirguna Brahman is your true nature, then there is nothing more left to realize and you can attain Kaivalya.

There is a relevant verse in Shrimad Bhagwatam with this chapter of BG i.e Karma Vairagya Yoga.

Even while engaging his senses in contact with their objects, one who sees this whole world as the energy of Lord Viṣhṇu is neither repelled nor elated. He is indeed the greatest among devotees. SB 11.2.48

You can read the commentaries here and/or here, Vaishnava commentaries only

  • " if you realize that you are jeevatman then there is nothing more left to realize" Not jeevatman. Atman or Brahman. To be precise we must know we are Nirguna Brahman.
    – The Destroyer
    Dec 4 '16 at 6:17
  • @TheDestroyer Many of the Advaita philosophers say that if you have atmajnana then you automatically realize everything and they quote 'tatwamasi'.
    – Yogi
    Dec 4 '16 at 7:38
  • @Yogi My point is not about Atmajana, but about "Jeevatman". Jeevatman is different from Atman.
    – The Destroyer
    Dec 4 '16 at 8:19
  • @TheDestroyer How is jeevatman different than atman
    – Yogi
    Dec 4 '16 at 8:22
  • @Yogi Atma + Prakriti = Jeevatma. Refer this question.
    – The Destroyer
    Dec 4 '16 at 8:25

"Does this mean that by analytical study of the material world (i.e. Science) one can attain samadhi?"

SamAdhi (liberation) can also be attained by analytical study or path of knowledge (GyAna yoga), which is known as SAmkhya. However, that analysis includes Prakruti (material world) and Purusha (consciousness) both.


BG 5.4 - The fools, not the learned ones, speak of SAmkhya (the path of Knowledge) and [Karma] yoga as different. Any one who properly resorts to even one [of them], gets the result of both.

When one attains liberation?

Until the consciousness (Purusha) is influenced by 3 modes of material nature (Prakruti), one remains in higher, middle or lower planes of the material world. When it stops getting influenced by theese 3 modes: Sattva, Rajas, Tamas, then it is said to be in the state of SamAdhi.

BG 3.27 — All actions (karma-s) are enacted in Prakruti by [3] modes (guna-s). Bewildered with ego (false identity), [true] self (Atma) believes "I am the doer".
BG 14.19 — When the witness (Purusha) looks upon none other than the [3] modes [of material nature] as the doers and knows superior upon the modes, [s]he attains 'My' nature.

SamAdhi is a state of realising the "non-doership" (akartA). Whatever actions are performed by person, are actually performed by the modes of the nature. Let it be any action: good, bad or ugly.

How "[Karma] Yogi" gives up the doership (i.e. attains SamAdhi)?

BG 5.7 — Contained with Yoga (i.e. Yogi), purified self, winner of self, winner of senses, the material self among all material selves - doesn't get tainted even performing actions.

How "SAmkhya" gives up doership (i.e. attains SamAdhi)?

BG 5.8, 5.9 — "I certainly don't do anything" is believed by knower containing fundamentals - even while seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, dreaming, breathing, talking, discarding, accepting, opening, closing; "Senses only are acting in the subjects of senses" - is understood.


The answer to BG 5.4 is contained within the subsequent verses BG 5.7 - 5.9.
The SAmkhya who has the knowledge of fundamentals (tattva), gives up the "doership" by understanding the fact that, everything happening around, is happening due to 3 modes only. If the person relates self with these 3 modes, then he/she may believe "I am the doer". But this [smart] analytic knows that "I am not the doer". When one doesn't associate self with the 3 modes, one is automatically associated beyond them. That's where the supreme or SamAdhi resides.

IMPO, SAmkhya should have very close relation with those who practice Advaita philosophy.


Excellent answers above; though I agree with both answers, I would also like to step away from the systematic confirmation approaches used above and take the passage on its' own...to be more direct in addressing your question.

To give a straight answer to your question is quite possible I believe:

Does this mean that by analytical study of the material world (i.e. Science) one can attain samadhi?

Yes. It does. But the key part of getting there is how you treat analysis. The analysis leading to samadhi, to me, is to analyze the material world in a way that guides you to true belief in it all being maya and an illusion.

Analytical study of the material world, via the empiric evidence building involved in most modern sciences, is not the path being discussed here.


  • 3
    Your answer is upvoted with an implied "promise from you" that in next answer, you will refer some verifiable scriptural reference (like other answers) along with your understanding of the philosophy. We want to see you as a more reputed user. :-)
    – iammilind
    Dec 4 '16 at 6:56

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