49. When Krsna says ‘action is lower than ‘buddhi yoga’ He means mechanical rituals are lower than action performed with purpose for a higher ideal. ‘Action’ also means selfish, self-centred actions without a larger vision or ideal. He is underscoring the role of the intellect in action. In Karma Yoga the intellect fixes the goal, the mind surrenders to the goal and the body acts dedicatedly towards the goal. In this case the goal is that of Realisation.
Once the goal is fixed the mind must be free from anxiety for the result of the action. Here since the spiritual aspirant is only seeking Realisation s/he has no interest in worldly results of the action. Hence the action is selfless.
Those motivated by the fruit are miserable. Actions that are not in accordance with buddhi yoga are driven by selfish motives and desire-ridden. They result in mental agitation and stress. A mind that is full of desires drives the body to act for fulfilment of the desires and craves for enjoyment of the fruit of action. This causes worry and anxiety.
This pursuit never ends. The mind is insatiable hence it is likened to fire. You fulfil a desire and ten more come in its place. The mind remains discontent. Extroverted pursuits can never fulfil the mind. Only knowledge will. Gain knowledge of your real identity. All desires will vanish in the total fulfilment.
One who has learnt the art of serving others is cheerful, successful and grows spiritually. So seek refuge in Self-knowledge. Anything less is not worthy of a human being!
50. You have a choice to pursue yoga or bhoga. Bhoga is desire-driven actions which create more desires. Desire comes in the way of obtaining object of desire. Desire makes you unhappy. And desire is the barrier to God.
You perform yoga when you fix the goal of Realisation and dedicate your actions to it. You do not act on likes and dislikes. Nor do you crave for the fruit of action. Then you become free of virtue and vice, both good and bad vasanas. When you are driven by bad desires you accumulate bad vasanas. Act with good desires and good vasanas increase. Act with no desires dedicating your actions to the goal of Self realisation and you shed both good and bad vasanas. You are free of desire and fit for meditation, the last stage to Realisation. Therefore be absorbed in yoga. Proficiency in action is the technique by which you shed desires and establish yourself in Atman while acting in the world.
Verse 48 says yoga is serenity. Here Krsna says yoga is proficiency in action. The mind must be still while the body is engaged in dynamic action. The expertise lies in acting in the world remembering Atman. Every action is dedicated to the goal. Otherwise you get involved in the world. This leads to boredom and monotony.