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In Yoga, Arudha literally means ‘to ascend’ or ‘to mount’. Hence the words ratharudha and ashwarudha, getting on to a chariot and horse respectively. But in the Bhagavad Gita, the compound word yogarudha has a different meaning. Two verses from the Bhagavad Gita may be quoted.

For a sage desirous of attaining Yoga, action is said to be the means; for one who has attained yoga, tranquility (samah) is said to be the means. (Bhagavad Gita VI.3)

When (a person) does not get attached to objects of senses and is not attached to actions and has renounced all intentions, then he is said to have attained Yoga. (Bhagavad Gita VI.4)

The meaning is very simple and clear. But difference of opinion on the interpretation of the word samah have given rise to a controversy. The Samnyasa school insists that the word sama means action-less-ness. Thus, after attaining Yoga, a yogi should desist from all actions and remain inactive.

But this appears to be a contrary to the very spirit of the celestial song, the purpose of which is to insist on every person doing his duties irrespective of any positions or name. Moreover, the interpretation is irrelevant and unwarranted in the present context when the next verse declares that a person is yogarudha only when he has no attachment for objects of senses and also for actions and has renounced all intentions. It nowhere says that he should abandon actions. Verses – Bhagavad Gita III.5, III.8 and XVIII.11 say that actions cannot be stopped by any living creature, and for sustenance of life, actions are unavoidable.

Again, in the Bhagavad Gita VI-1, Bhagavan Sri Krishna declares that he is a renunciate and he is a yogi, who accomplishes all his duties without aspiring for its fruit. Thus renunciation, according to the Bhagavad Gita, is not action-lessness, but renunciation of the fruit of actions and their ownership, (Bhagavad Gita XVIII.17) and also of actions due to aspirations (Bhagavad Gita XVIII.2). The psychological attitude of non-attachment is the difference between a yogi and a layman (Bhagavad Gita V.12). Thus samah means tranquility and not non-action.