: It may be countless births that a Jivatma has to take before it can attain liberation. Lord Krishna shows us a ladder that can be used for this purpose.

Knowledge of the essential nature of the Supreme Brahman, the Jivatma and the inanimate objects in the world is the first rung of the ladder. But mere knowledge of these truths and even proficiency in arguing their veracity will be of no avail to step ahead to the next rung of the ladder, said Velukkudi Sri Krishnan in a lecture.

These truths have to be internalised and brought into the very way of life of the individual. The basic truth that the Self is imperishable while the body is subject to constant change involving growth and decay — a natural phenomenon that is witnessed all around — has to be deeply imprinted in the individual’s consciousness.

It is very tempting to get carried away by power, wealth, status, intelligence, scholarship, etc., so much so that, our actions are prompted by the feeling that these will continue for ever. We thus spend our life time consolidating these, despite their fleeting nature and fail to strengthen the well-being of the Self that is the indweller in each being.

Knowing the fickle nature of the human mind and its weaknesses, Lord Krishna’s step-by-step recipe of Karma Yoga forms the second rung of the ladder. Its simple and practical formula cuts across all walks of life. Action subsumes thought, word and deed and is unavoidable and compulsory to every one.

The mind of a person who chooses solitude might be filled with worldly thoughts; and one who is in the thick of activity with many people may be mentally in communion with God.

The Lord advises us to get involved in our ordained duties. The emphasis is on the performance of these duties with commitment and detachment. Any contradiction in the two demands is resolved in the advice to dedicate all actions and their fruits to Him.

Jnana Yoga representing the purity of mind — the perfect springboard for striving for liberation — is the third rung of the ladder.