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The original Sanskrit verses and
(word for word translated) of the
Mahābhārata, Bhīshma Parva ch. 23-40.

with comments taken from the writings of



 

 

 

 

'Svabhode Naanyabodhe Cha
Bodha Roopa Atmanah
Sva Deepenya Deepe Cha
Yadaasvaatma Prakaashate'

To search for a flame,
another light is not required.
To know the omnipresent, effulgent Atma,
another type of knowledge is not required.

 

1 2a 2b 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18a 18b

 

Chapter 4
The Yoga of Knowledge
'On sacrificing'
'Jńāna Yoga'  

 

 

  


 

     Krishna most graciously made Arjuna imbibe these lessons. Not satisfied with this, Krishna told him that jńāna is the final goal and gain of karma; jńāna is the treasure that is won by man's efforts to purify the mind and to earn the grace of God; jńāna not merely grants ānanda but is itself the seat of ānanda. Thus he initiated him into jńānamarga, the path of jńāna.

     This subject is carried on until the fifth chapter. Jńāna shines as a precious jewel amidst the teachings of Bhagavad-s'āstra. Krishna declared "na hi jńānena sadris'am pavitram iha vidyate", B.G. 4:38 (nothing as holy as jńāna is known here)! Even later, in the seventh chapter, He has said, "jńānī tv ātmaiva me matam", B.G. 7:18 (I consider the jńānī as Myself); the excellence of jńānayoga has been similarly extolled in many other contexts in the Gītā. - Gītā Vahini, p. 46

     " Listen to this chapter sung!  "
[slokas 7 to 11, 33 to 39]

" Listen to this spoken chapter in Audio "

 

Verse 1.

s'rī bhagavān uvāca
imam vivasvate yogam
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikshvākave 'bravīt

Verse 2.

evam paramparā-prāptam
imam rājarshayo viduh
sa kāleneha mahatā
yogo nashthah parantapa

     You will not fail to notice the discrepancy of the yoga being described as ever-existing and the statement that it was lost! Of course, the statement was not made without thought. The indestructible is here spoken of as having been destroyed! It is called indestructible avyaya for two reasons. Its origin is the Veda, which is free from decline. Its consequence is moksha, which, too, is free from decline. This yoga, on account of passage of time, neglect and disuse, was forgotten. That is to say, it disappeared, it was lost from view, it declined. The statement does not mean anything more. Bringing it into life means bringing it once more into use, not creating it ab initio! "Lost to view" is the sense in which the word "destroyed" is used in a general way. That is how you have to interpret it, for the Lord will never devise a thing that will suffer "destruction".

     The reference of Surya also merits consideration. The people of Bharath are intimately associated with the Sun god. The heroes of Bharath, the kshatriyas, are from the beginning attached to Surya; even for the ordinary men and women. Surya is so highly sacred that he has been raised to the status of the great guru. The sacred scriptures and legends of India have not assigned a status of greater glory to anyone else.

     It is a unique position that Surya occupies. Why, for the whole world, the sun is the visible manifestation of the Lord. And the sun is the source of Time. Surya is the father of Time (kāla), as the s'āstras declare. The sun limits and regulates the number of years each one lives; the sun diminishes every day a fraction of the allotted span. So the sun is the supreme arbiter, the maker of man's destiny. Whether one wills or not, every deed is performed under His auspices and dedicated to Him. 

     Above all, consider the service the sun does to this world. That is within the daily experience of all; everyone is witness to that. The sun is the source of all life, plant and animal, upon this planet. - Gītā Vahini, pp. 47-8

     "You deserve to be initiated into this yoga, o Arjuna", said Krishna. "At first I taught it to the Sun who taught it to Manu, who in turn enlightened Ikshvāku. In this manner, through the experiences of the sages, all kings came to know about it. Arjuna! This wisdom is 'eclipsed' today, and therefore, through you, I desire to communicate this yoga to the world again." - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 47

Verse 3.

sa evāyam mayā te 'dya
yogah proktah purātanah
bhakto 'si me sakhā ceti
rahasyam hy etad uttamam

     Krishna is now teaching this indestructible Gītā s'āstra to Arjuna, the representative of Man at the cross-roads; and He chose "him" for he has the same excellence, is it not? If Arjuna were not a vessel endowed with such virtues and splendor, Krishna would not have decided to use him as the recipient of the Gītā. The Lord will not give gifts to the undeserving. Arjuna had the qualities that were needed for receiving the teaching and he was chosen. - Gītā Vahini, p. 50

If Arjuna was an individual like others, he could not be the recipient and transmitter of this great teaching. So you must infer that Arjuna was really a great man. He was a hero who had defeated not merely the outer foes, but even the inner ones; weak hearts cannot grasp the Gītā and put it into practice. It is with this full knowledge and high purpose that Krishna selected Arjuna as the vehicle and showered on him His Grace.

Once, while Krishna was conversing intimately with Arjuna, He made this statement: (note the overpowering grace that Krishna showed!): ..."Arjuna, you are My dearest friend. I have no friend so dear as you are. That is the reason why I taught you this supreme, secret teaching." - Gītā  Vahini, pp. 54-5

     "As my devotee and friend," Krishna addressed Arjuna, "you deserve to receive the gift of this wisdom, which I am imparting to you out of affection." In this context, we must pay attention to the two epithets "devotee" and "friend". There is no higher state than that of a devotee; why then did Krishna use the epithet "friend"? If we consider the status of friend as highest, why should Krishna have employed the epithet "devotee"?

 Humility and obedience are the qualities of a devotee. Excessive humility that often goes with devotion might act as a barrier in forging the spirit of intimacy with God that is so vital for attaining ātmā jńāna or supreme wisdom. On the other hand, close friendship and excessive familiarity alone might make a person take undue liberties. For these reasons, Krishna referred to Arjuna as both "devotee" and "friend", or one in whom friendship is enriched by humility and devotion is tempered by intimacy. As both a devotee as well as a friend of the Lord, Arjuna was the most deserving recipient of the Bhagavad Gītā - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 47

Verse 4.

arjuna uvāca
aparam bhavato janma
param janma vivasvatah
katham etad vijānīyām
tvam ādau proktavān iti

     These words of Krishna bewildered Arjuna. He asked, "Krishna, you are my contemporary; how and where could you get the opportunity to teach this yoga to the Sun who taught it to Manu of yore? I am unable to believe this. Please clarify my doubts." - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 47

Verse 5.

s'rī bhagavān uvāca
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny aham veda sarvāni
na tvam vettha parantapa

Verse 6.

ajo 'pi sann avyayātmā
bhūtānām īs'varo 'pi san
prakrĢtim svām adhishthhāya
sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā

     Because the Lord takes a human form, we find that He exhibits human consciousness along with divine consciousness. Ordinary people cannot grasp the divine aspect of an Avatār. God appears to be an ordinary human being to the limited intelligence of lay people because of the coexistence of the divine and human aspects of consciousness exhibited by Him. Man's perception is limited to the level of human consciousness. Therefore, human comprehension is restricted to the limits of human consciousness. But the sages who were divine beings were able to comprehend divinity and recognize that all objects manifest divinity. They recognized the formless God in the visible form, because they had imbued themselves with divine consciousness. Thus, according to their levels, different people regard an Avatār as a mere human being or the cosmic reality.

"O Arjuna! Prompted by human consciousness, you may erroneously consider Me an ordinary man. I am teaching you this wisdom in order to remove this illusion created by your human consciousness and to strengthen your divine consciousness." - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 49

Verse 7.

yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya
tadātmānam srijāmy aham

     O Bharata, whenever dharma declines and adharma raises its head, then I make myself born. - Prema Vahini, p. 92

Whenever there is a languishing of dharma or righteousness and an upheaval of unrighteousness, I create Myself, for it is a part of primal resolution or sankalpa to protect the spiritual structure of the universe. I lay aside My formless essence and assume a name and a form suited to the purpose for which I come. Whenever evil threatens to vanquish good, I have to come and save it from decline. - Sathya Sai Speaks V, p. 324

     "When decline descends on the dharma that has been laid down, I incarnate as the narākāra (human form) from the state of nirākāra (formlessness), in order to revive it and protect it and save the good from fear," said Krishna. Now this statement may cause some misgiving. You may ask: will not common people then conclude that dharma is something liable to decline and decay? Will they not condemn dharma as neither nithya (eternal, permanent) nor sathya (truth)?

 Well, you will grasp the importance of the task of protecting dharma only when you consider its origin and purpose. God created this jagath (cosmos, world of change) on His own initiative, and He ordained various codes for its upkeep and smooth running. There were rules of correct conduct for every being. These form the dharma. - Gītā Vahini, p. 51

     Whenever injustice and unrighteousness raise their hoods in the world, the Lord comes down as an Avatār. The word "Avatār" means descent (of the Supreme Lord). It is not coming down from the peak of a mountain or the top story of a building. It is a descent from the state of the Ātmā to the state of the body... out of His love and affection for mankind, the Lord descends to the human level in order to elevate men to Godhood. Such a descent does not in any way taint or diminish divinity. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 48

Verse 8.

paritrānāya sādhūnām
vinās'āya ca dushkritām
dharma-samsthāpanārthāya
sambhavāmi yuge yuge

     For the protection of the good and the punishment of the bad, for the establishment of the moral order, I shall concretize Myself, age after age. - Sathya Sai Speaks IV, p. 240

     That is to say, all incarnations of the Lord are for the protection and promotion of sadhus. This word sadhu does not refer to any single religion, or caste, or family stage of life, or community or even any single species, like the human! It refers to all religions, all stages of life, all races, and all creatures. The Lord has revealed in the Gītā His Universal Mind. It is because of this universal message that the Gītā has become so essential and so famous. Why? S'rī Krishna Himself has declared, in plenty of situations and places, that He is the dutiful servant of His devotees. An example of this is His accepting to be the Charioteer of Arjuna! - Prema Vahini, p. 87

Verse 9.

janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktvā deham punar janma
naiti mām eti so 'rjuna

     Only those who have pure consciousness can recognize the divine nature of the Lord's janma (birth) and karma, said Krishna. All cannot so recognize them (Avatāras) as divine. Yet, no one should avoid contact with the Lord come in human form. Try your very best and utilize every chance. There should not be any lapse on your part. - Gītā Vahini, p. 61

Verse 10.

vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodha
man-mayā mām upās'ritāh
bahavo jńāna-tapasā
pūtā mad-bhāvam āgatāh

     This is emphasized in the tenth sloka of this chapter, where the signs of the adhikāri, the deserving candidate (devotee), are given, "Arjuna! not all can understand the divya-thwam (divine nature) of my janma (birth) and karma (work). Only those who are free from attachment, hatred, fear, and anger; only those who are immersed in the name and form of the Lord; who know of no other support than Me, who are sanctified by the knowledge of the ātmā; only these can grasp it. Those who seek Me undeviatingly; possessing sathya, dharma and prema, will reach Me. This is absolutely true, take it from Me. Give up any doubt you may have."

"Men render the inner consciousness impure by dwelling on the objective world through ignorance. They take delight in mere sabda (sound), rasa (taste), rupa (form, appearance), etc. When they seek objective pleasure, they are tempted to secure the objects that give pleasure; foiled in the attempt, they get restless, hateful, and afraid. Fear robs man of his mental resources. It creates anger that cannot be easily pacified. Thus, desire, anger, and fear are aroused, one after the other, and these three have to be removed. Arjuna, resolve in your mind these facts and then act. Become reasonable. Have faith in My words."- Gītā  Vahini, pp. 61-2

Verse 11.

ye yathā mām prapadyante
tāms tathaiva bhajāmy aham
mama vartmānuvartante
manushyāh pārtha sarvas'ah

     I am like the kalpavriksha (wish-fulfilling tree). My task is to give each what he asks for. I have no prejudice and no favoritism. Not even the shadow of cruelty can touch Me. No fault can be imputed to Me. The rays of the sun fall equally upon all that are directly in their way; but if something is behind something else, inside a closed room for instance, how can He illumine? Cultivate the higher yearnings and you receive the higher stages. The fault lies in the aspirant and his aspirations, not in the attitude of the Lord. - Gītā Vahini, p. 63

Verse 12.

kānkshantah karmanām siddhim
yajanta iha devatāh
kshipram hi mānushe loke
siddhir bhavati karmajā

     "Arjuna! Man gives up revering and seeking Me, who is his very self. How foolish of him! He is not anxious to reach Me; on the other hand, he pursues lesser attainments that are temporary, untrue, transitory. I shall tell you the reason for this strange and stupid behavior. Karmopasana (work-worship) gives quick results; man seeks only what is available here and now, in a concrete form, capable of being grasped by his senses. Man, generally, finds Reality too difficult to attain, so he is carried away by the attraction of flimsy pleasures, away from full joy derivable from transcending the senses." - Gītā Vahini, p. 64

Verse 13.

cātur-varnyam mayā srishtham
guna-karma-vibhāgas'ah
tasya kartāram api mām
viddhy akartāram avyayam

     Explaining the reason why caste distinctions have been made, Krishna said, "I have created the four varnas (each of the four departments of society divided to the natural service of function of her members: brāhmins (brāhmanas), kshatriyas, vais'yas and s'ūdras) to promote svadharma, samajikadharma, vishvadharma, and īs'varadharma and to establish them permanently in this world so that, in turn, the flame of jńāna will burn bright forever." The four varnas are the brāhmins, the kshatriyas, the vais'yas, and the s'ūdras. Passages in the purushasukta (or Rig-veda) describe the different varnas as parts of the Lord's body. [see also S.B. 7:11] The brāhmins, who regard the Vedas and the s'āstras as perennial and abiding truths and as the path-ways along which humanity must progress, are described as the face of Brahmā. The kshatriyas, kings who sacrifice their bodies for the sake of the country and utilize their physical prowess for the defense of the country's cultural and territorial integrity, are described as the shoulders. The wealthy vais'yas, who engage themselves in charity, distributing their wealth to all and sundry, have been described as the thighs. The feet are the s'ūdras, who engage themselves in cultivation and maintain the regular supply of grain for food. [see also Sathya Sai Vahini: The Divine Body]

Each organ of the body works in unison with the rest of the body while discharging faithfully its own assigned function. Should something happen to any limb, the danger is shared by the other organs, who come forward to mitigate the pain of the affected part. A small example illustrates this. While a person is walking along a path, a thorn is noticed by the eyes. On account of the internal communication system between the eye, which is in the face, and the foot, which is at the bottom, the thorn is avoided by the foot. If the thorn pricks the sole of the foot, the eye shares the pain and sheds tears sympathetically.

In the same manner, the different castes should work in coordination with each other and share the joys and sorrows of each other. The spirit of mutual love and unity is essential for the promotion and protection of dharma in society. In a body, the same heart animates the head, the shoulders, the thighs, and the feet, and the same blood flows through all of them. Thus, there is no room for distinctions and differences among the four. Likewise, the brāhmins, the kshatriyas, the vais'yas, and the s'ūdras must remember that they are all motivated by the same divine life-force and must not allow caste differences and discrimination to arise. However, through the centuries the inner significance has been forgotten and the caste system has been made a basis for sectarian distinctions and communal disharmony. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, pp. 59-60

Verse 14.

na mām karmāni limpanti
na me karma-phale sprihā
iti mām yo 'bhijānāti
karmabhir na sa badhyate

Verse 15.

evam jńātvā kritam karma
pūrvair api mumukshubhih
kuru karmaiva tasmāt tvam
pūrvaih pūrvataram kritam

     "In fact, the wise never desist from action, in order to set a model for others. If the wise do not act, there will be none to guide the ignorant," Krishna observed. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 49

Verse 16.

kim karma kim akarmeti
kavayo 'py atra mohitāh
tat te karma pravakshyāmi
yaj jńātvā mokshyase 's'ubhāt

Verse 17.

karmano hy api boddhavyam
boddhavyam ca vikarmanah
akarmanas' ca boddhavyam
gahanā karmano gatih

     The way of action is elusively subtle and difficult to discover. - Sanathana Sarathi, November 1979, p. 243

     Though the path of karma is difficult, it gives us varied experiences. There are three kinds of karma, namely, karma, vikarma and akarma. According to the Gītā, these are three ramifications. Karma may be described as the ordained duty. Vikarma deals with certain actions that are prohibited - but such prohibited actions, if and when they are undertaken for God realization, become sanctified. Akarma is described as pure laziness or idleness. The karmas are clarified by the Gītā and must be enforced in action and not merely talked about. Karma is our responsibility since birth. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1972, p. 276

*Karma: literally: labor. Most of the time the term refers to fruitive labor or the attachment to the result of labor. Activity in the most general sense. Is also regarded as the consequence of the deeds in the past or as the consequence of greed.
*Vikarma: unwanted activity, crime.
*Akarma: inaction; free from fruitive results; free from karma or devotional service. To work as a volunteer, to work for God.

     In the Bhagavad Gītā, Krishna declares "gahanā karmano gatih" (the way of action is elusively subtle and difficult to discover). The consequences might confront the person, even after the passage of many lives. The Lord is the eternal witness, the power that presides over every act. Looked at from this point of view, one has to realize and declare that the Lord and the individual are bound inextricably together. - Sanathana Sarathi, November 1979, p. 243

Verse 18.

karmany akarma yah pas'yed
akarmani ca karma yah
sa buddhimān manushyeshu
sa yuktah kritsna-karma-krit

     Whatever the karma, if it is done in the darkness and confusion of ajńāna, however hard you may have exercised your abilities during the activity, its result can only be worry, grief, and travail. It can never result in equanimity, balance, or calm. Man has to win karma in akarma and akarma through karma. That is the hallmark of the wise. - Gītā Vahini, p. 75

Verse 19.

yasya sarve samārambhāh
kāma-sankalpa- varjitāh
jńānāgni-dagdha-karmānam
tam āhuh panditam budhāh

     "Dhanańjaya! Only he is entitled to be called a pundit ( or wise, learned) who has seen clearly the distinction between karma and akarma. If he has only stuffed in his head the matter contained in books, he is not a pundit. The pundit must have an intellect that grants the vision of the truth ... samyag-darshana (complete perception or vision of the truth; perfect spiritual knowledge; highest non-dual realization of Self). When that vision is gained, all karma becomes ineffective and harmless. The fire of jńāna (wisdom) has the power to consume and burn karma." - Gītā Vahini, p. 77

Verse 20.

tyaktvā karma-phalāsangam
nitya-tripto nirās'rayah
karmany abhipravritto 'pi
naiva kińcit karoti sah

      "Arjuna, listen well to another point also. Karma as such has no capacity to bind; it is the conceit 'I am the doer' that brings about the attachment and the bond; it is the desire to earn the fruit that produces the bondage. For example: the zero gets value only with the association of a digit. Karma is zero; agency or the feeling of the 'doer' is associated with the karma; then it breeds bonds. So Arjuna, give up the sense of 'I' and the karma that you do will never harm you. Karma done without any desire for the fruits thereof will not produce impulses; that is to say, there will be no impulse for birth even. The aspirants of past ages performed karma with this high ideal in view. They never felt that they were the 'doers' or 'enjoyers of the fruits' of any act. The Lord did, the Lord gave the fruit, the Lord enjoyed the fruit ...that was their conviction. This world has only a relative value; it has no absolute existence; that was their faith. Arjuna! You too should cultivate that faith and earn that conviction. Do so, and your mind will become clarified and pure." - Gītā Vahini, p. 75

Verse 21.

nirās'īr yata-cittātmā
tyakta-sarva-parigrahah
s'ārīram kevalam karma
kurvan nāpnoti kilbisham

     "Akarma means actionlessness according to some, but to explain it in simpler language, understand that the activities of the limbs, the senses, intelligence, the feelings, the emotions and mind are all karmas. Now, akarma means among other things non-activity too. That is to say, it is the attribute of the ātmā. So akarma means ātmā-sthithi, the characteristic of the ātmā [stage of permanent awareness of one's divinity]. When you travel in a bus or train or boat, the illusion is created that the trees and hills on either side travel along, and you feel that you are stationary! The movement of the chariot imposes on hill and tree the quality of movement; so too, the person unaware of the principles enunciated in the scriptures deludes himself into the belief that the ātmā is doing all the activities of the senses and the body. Which, then, is the genuine akarma (activityless-ness)? The experience of the ātmā is the perfect activityless-ness; that is your real nature. It will not do if you simply desist from external acts. You should realize the atmic fundamental, not merely renounce karma; for it is impossible to be completely activityless." - Gītā Vahini, p. 76

Verse 22.

yadricchā-lābha-santushtho
dvandvātīto vimatsarah
samah siddhāv asiddhau ca
kritvāpi na nibadhyate

     Some people say that a jńānī must perforce suffer the consequences of prarabdha karma [karma from previous births that determines the present life]; he cannot escape from it. This is the conclusion that other persons draw; not the experience of the jńānī himself. To those who watch him, he might appear to be reaping the fruit of past karma, but he is absolutely unaffected. Whoever is dependent on objects for happiness, or pursues sensory pleasures, whoever is motivated by impulses and desires, is bound by karma. But those free from these cannot be affected by the temptations of sound, touch, form, taste, and smell and other attractions of the senses. Such is the true sannyāsī. He is unmoved. The jńānī is supremely happy by himself, without the need to be dependent on other things. He finds karma in akarma and akarma in karma. He may be engaged in karma but he is not affected in the least. He has no eye on the fruit of actions.

You may ask how he is able to do that. Listen: he is ever content. The contented man is free, he does not depend on others; he is unaffected by the feeling of agency. He is content with whatever happens to him, well or ill, for he is convinced that the Lord's will must prevail. His mind is unshaken and steady; he is ever jubilant. Want of contentment is the sign of the a-jńānī. Those who give up the purushārthas (goals of material life: kāma, artha, dharma, moksha) and walk the path of sloth, how can they be said to be happy, whatever happens? Contentment is the treasure that is won by the jńānī; it cannot be won by the a-jńānī  who piles one wish on another and builds one plan after another, who pines perpetually, worries himself, and sets his heart ablaze with greed. - Gītā Vahini, pp. 77-8

Verse 23.

gata-sangasya muktasya
jńānāvasthita-cetasah
yajńāyācaratah karma
samagram pravilīyate

     "The jńānī is not mastered by the dualities of joy and grief, victory and defeat, gain and loss. He is dwanda-atheetha [beyond duality or pair of opposites like heat-cold]. He scorns hatred and never allows it to touch him. Both the I and the sva-bhāva [essential nature, essence, reality, truth] of the ātmā guarantees that It is unaffected. It is asanga [non-attachment]. It is uninfluenced by anything that is not ātmā. It has neither birth nor death, hunger nor thirst, grief nor delusion. Hunger and thirst are qualities of the prāna [the life breath, the vital breath]; birth and death are characteristics of the body; grief and delusion are affections of the mind. So, Arjuna, do not assign any status for these; know yourself as the ātmā; give up all delusion and be unattached." - Gītā Vahini, p. 78

Verse 24.

brahmārpanam brahma havir
brahmāgnau brahmanā hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam
brahma-karma-samādhinā

      The slokas from the Bhagavad Gītā [B.G. 4:24 & B.G.15:14 / see below or Prasāda Sevāya - song for the honoring of spiritual food] that are repeated before every meal declare that the materials that constitute the meal are Brahman, the person who prepares the meal is Brahman, the consumer is Brahman, the beneficiary is Brahman and the activity that is the result of the meal is to be dedicated to Brahman. - Sanathana Sarathi, December 1978, p. 240

'Brahmārpanam (Food mantra)'

brahmārpanam brahma havir
brahmāgnau brahmanā hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam
brahma-karma-samādhinā

aham vaisvānaro bhūtvā
prāninām deham āsritah
prānāpāna-samāyuktah
pacāmy annam catur-vidham
 

Verse 25.

daivam evāpare yajńam
yoginah paryupāsate
brahmāgnāu apare yajńam
yajńenaivopajuhvati

     Do abhisheka (ablution, bathing) to the ātmā-linga, (ātmā: the real Self, one's divinity; linga (subtle body)) with the pure waters of your own chittha-vritthi, mental impulses. When the chitta (mind stuff) moves in one direction and the indriyas (the senses) move towards another, the person is doubly confused. So, keep attachment afar. When that is done, whatever you do, becomes a sacrifice, a yajńa. Whatever you speak becomes a holy mantra; wherever you plant your foot, the place is rendered holy. - Gītā Vahini, pp. 78-9

Verse 26.

s'rotrādīnīndriyāny anye
samyamāgnishu juhvati
s'abdādīn vishayān anya
indriyāgnishu juhvati

Verse 27.

sarvānīndriya-karmāni
prāna-karmāni cāpare
ātma-samyama-yogāgnau
juhvati jńāna-dīpite

Verse 28.

dravya-yajńās tapo-yajńā
yoga-yajńās tathāpare
svādhyāya-jńāna-yajńās' ca
yatayah sams'ita-vratāh

     "Arjuna! I shall tell you something about yajńa (holy ritual, sacrifice or rite) also. Listen calmly, controlling all agitations of the mind. People talk of dravya-yajńa (ritual sacrifice involving material objects), thapo-yajńa, yoga-yajńa, etc. If a pit is dug, the earth excavated becomes a mound by its side. There is no pit without a mound; when riches accumulate in one place, there must be corresponding charity too. The proper utilization of one's riches is dravya-yajńa. What is proper utilization? Gifts of cows, of lands, of skill under dravya-yajńa. Again, when all physical activities, mental activities, and speech are utilized for sādhana, then it becomes thapo-yajńa. How can it be thapas if you have lain down due to weakness arising from missing a meal? Doing karma but yet remaining unbound by karma - this is yoga-yajńa.

"And svādhyāya-yajńa? It means studying the sacred scriptures with humility and reverence that lead you to liberation or moksha. This study is the means to repay the debt due to the rishis who put the scriptures together. The next one is jńāna-yajńā. By this is meant not the knowledge of the visible and perceptible but the jńāna of the invisible, the imperceptible (the paroksha-jńāna (indirect or mediate spiritual wisdom), not the aparoksha-jńāna (direct spiritual knowledge)). Listen to the s'āstras that are related to this jńāna, study them and ponder over the teachings in your mind, weighing the pros and cons; this is called jńāna-yajńa. Jńāna means also the eagerness to realize the ātmā-tattva through inquiry from elders and those who have spiritual experience." - Gītā Vahini, p. 79

Verse 29.

apāne juhvati prānam
prāne 'pānam tathāpare
prānāpāna-gatī ruddhvā
prānāyāma-parāyanāh
apare niyatāhārāh
prānān prāneshu juhvati

Verse 30.

sarve 'py ete yajńa-vido
yajńa-kshapita-kalmashāh
yajńa-s'ishthāmrita-bhujo
yānti brahma sanātanam

Verse 31.

nāyam loko 'sty ayajńasya
kuto 'nyah kuru-sattama

Verse 32.

evam bahu-vidhā yajńā
vitatā brahmano mukhe
karma-jān viddhi tān sarvān
evam jńātvā vimokshyase

Verse 33.

s'reyān dravyamayād yajńāj
jńāna-yajńah parantapa
sarvam karmākhilam pārtha
jńāne parisamāpyate

     It is not desirable to give undue prominence to work, too. Wisdom is the final reward for the blossoming of our mind through action. If we go on harping on duality, when can we achieve peace? From duality, we must progress to qualified non-duality and finally to complete non-duality. Wisdom cannot be derived by mere acquaintance with many books. It cannot be acquired by learning the s'āstras and philosophy. Real wisdom lies in the vision of nonduality. (advaita darshanam jńānam). The elders say that real wisdom lies in the recognition of divinity everywhere. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, pp. 49-50

Verse 34.

tad viddhi pranipātena
paripras'nena sevayā
upadekshyanti te jńānam
jńāninas tattva-dars'inah

     "Arjuna! You may ask Me about the means whereby this can be acquired. Those anxious to get it, have to go to realized souls and win their grace and, studying well their moods and manners, they must await the chance to ask them for help. When doubts arise, they should approach them calmly and courageously. Studying bundles of books and delivering hours-long discourses and wearing the ochre do not make the genuine jńānī. Jńāna can be won only from and through elders who have experienced the Absolute. You have to serve them and win their love. How can doubts be ended by the study of books? They only tend to confuse the mind." - Gītā Vahini, p. 80

Verse 35.

yaj jńātvā na punar moham
evam yāsyasi pāndava
yena bhūtāny as'eshāni
drakshyasy ātmany atho mayi

     Jńāna or spiritual wisdom enables the jīvātmā or the individual soul to merge with the paramātmā or the cosmic soul. Every individual must try and recognize the oneness of the ātmā and the paramātmā. This is the full essence of the spirituality expounded by Krishna. You may master any number of skills and talents. But if you cannot comprehend the unity of the ātmā and the paramātmā you will end up a hopeless nihilist. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 53

*Ātmā:
soul, but also: body, mind, senses. -'The soul is eternal, does not dwindle, is pure, the individual, the knower of the field, the original foundation, the unchanging, self-illumined, actual cause, pervading all, independent and unmoving. From these twelve symptoms of the soul is a conscious person impelled to give up the false conception of 'I' and 'Mine' that originates from the illusion of everything that belongs to having a body (S.B.
7.7: 19-20)'. - The being of God and man, - Selfremembrance in alignment with Krishna, - The end of the illusion of I (ahankāra).
*Paramātmā: the Supersoul (Kshirodakas'āyī Vishnu). Transcendental nature of Krishna. The omnipresent local personal aspect of Krishna; 'God'.

     "Kaunteya" (Arjuna, as the son of Kuntī), He said, "By means of jńāna, you can see in yourself and in Me all beings; then duality and the consequent delusion will disappear, as darkness disperses before the rising sun." - Gītā Vahini, pp. 86-7

Verse 36.

api ced asi pāpebhyah
sarvebhyah pāpa-krittamah
sarvam jńāna-plavenaiva
vrijinam santarishyasi

     "Even if you sinned, are not sinners saved? Repentance is enough to transmute sin into sanctity. The Lord graciously accepts contrition and pours His blessings. The rathnakara who was engaged in acts of sin until the moment when wisdom dawned became a saint through repentance. He became the sage Valmīki, is it not? His story is the proof of the value of contrition. You may ask, is it enough if one is free from the effects of sin? Should not the effects of punya be also given up? Why, one has the freedom to give up merits of punya (virtuous deeds, good work), though one may not have equal freedom to give up the demerit of pāpa (evil deeds, demerit, sin)." - Gītā Vahini, p. 87

Verse 37.

yathaidhāmsi samiddho 'gnir
bhasmasāt kurute 'rjuna
jńānāgnih sarva-karmāni
bhasmasāt kurute tathā

     "The roaring forest fire reduces to ashes everything in its way; so too, the mighty conflagration of jńāna will consume and destroy all sin and all punya (good work)." - Gītā Vahini, p. 87

     The flames of jńāna reduce to ashes the effects of all activities; they do not effect man any more. Like a rope that has been reduced to ash, it can bind no more. As long as the consequence of karma persists, man is bound to be born, to finish the consumption thereof. For the slate of karma has to be wiped clean so that the account of birth and death can be closed with a nil balance. Desire is the prompting behind all activity. Desire is the urge. No activity arises in those who have attained all desires, for they rest in the ātmā, which has no desires.- Sathya Sai Speaks V, pp. 242-3

     Wisdom has been likened to a boat that can take man across the turbulent waters of samsara or worldly existence. It has also been described as the fire that burns all illusions, impurities and idiosyncracies of human nature. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 60

Verse 38.

na hi jńānena sadris'am
pavitram iha vidyate
tat svayam yoga-samsiddhah
kālenātmani vindati

     Who is this unchanging, immutable, and immobile being? This is the quintessential principle of Is'wara, a personified and concretized abstraction, the knowledge of which can be acquired only by apprehending the reality of the Atma. "na hi jńānena sadris'am pavitram iha vidyate", said Krishna. Nothing as sacred as jńāna is known. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 53

Verse 39.

s'raddhāvāl labhate jńānam
tat-parah samyatendriyah
jńānam labdhvā parām s'āntim
acirenādhigacchati

     "To acquire this sacred spiritual jńāna one thing is essential; sraddha (faith), steady faith in the s'āstras, in the teachers, and in the acquisition of jńāna. Without earnestness born of faith, no task, however tiny, can be accomplished by man. Therefore, you can yourselves see how essential it is for earning jńāna.

     "Sraddha is only the first step. You must have been yearning to imbibe the teachings I am imparting. This is very necessary. Along with these, you must also be vigilant; do not yield to sloth. Again, you may fall into company that is not congenial or encouraging. To escape the evil influence of such company and to strengthen your mind to avoid it altogether, mastery over the senses is required." - Gītā Vahini, pp. 87-8

Verse 40.

ajńas' cās'raddadhānas' ca
sams'ayātmā vinas'yati
nāyam loko sti na paro
na sukham sams'ayātmanah

     When doubt enters through the front door, faith departs through the back door! Doubt comes over people like a heart-attack; it overwhelms a man all of a sudden. The Gītā says, "sams'ayātmā vinas'yati" (the doubter is destroyed; a person of doubts falls back). - Sanathana Sarathi, January 1980, p. 12

     Do not admit doubt into you. Want of faith or steadiness is not as destructive as the venom of doubt. In its operation and consequence, it is like the tubercular bacilli. It is born of a-jńāna, and it penetrates into the cavity of the heart of man and breeds there. It is the parent of disaster. - Gītā Vahini, p. 88

     Truth will always triumph; do not doubt this in the least. There are two eight-lettered axioms in the Gītā that support the Vedic dictum "sathyam eva jayathe na anritham". They are: "sams'ayātmā vinas'yati" and "sraddhavān labhathe jńānam". (He who doubts is destroyed; steady faith wins true wisdom). If people are slaves of doubt, how can they save themselves? Believe that the name is the nava, the name is the boat, that will take you over the sea of samsara, change. - Sathya Sai Speaks V, p. 100

Verse 41.

yoga-sannyasta-karmānam
jńāna-sańchinna-sams'ayam
ātma-vantam na karmāni
nibadhnanti dhanańjaya

Verse 42.

tasmād ajńāna-sambhūtam
hrit-stham jńānāsinātmanah
chittvainam sams'ayam yogam
ātishthhottishthha bhārata

     Let us consider wisdom as a sword, too. Desire, anger, passion, greed, pride, and envy take roots and grow like mighty trees in our hearts, destroying our innate humanity. Wisdom is the sword with which we must cut off these trees and live a quiet and happy life.

     Thus, in the fourth chapter of the Gītā, Krishna explained the genesis of the four varnas (see verse 13 on this page again) and described jńāna yoga. He emphasized that no other yajńa need to be performed if jńāna yajńa is undertaken. He exhorted Arjuna to dedicate his actions to the Lord and realize, through them, the unity of mankind. Yajńa is the dedication of all the powers man is endowed with to the Supreme Lord. It can be performed by all - men, women, children, aged people, the rich, and the poor. Whoever performs actions in a spirit of dedication to the Lord, performs jńāna yajńa. To perform this, money and materials are not necessary. Virtue is the prime requisite, the heart is the altar, thoughts are the offerings, and delight is the ultimate fruit. One must undertake actions in this spirit for the attainment of supreme delight, the delight of life, the delight of the spirit, and the delight that is divine. Jńāna yajńa is the performance of action, discarding the spirit of attachment and ego. Trying to live with self-realization is the essence of jńāna yajńa. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 61

      

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