Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 4 (Part-2) Jnaana Karma Sanyaasa Yogah- Renunciation of Action in Knowledge


yathaidhaamsi samiddho'gnir bhasmasaat kurute'rjuna
    jnaanaagnih sarvakarmaani bhasmasaat kurute tathaa  // 4.37 //

As the blazing fire reduces  pieces of wood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the Fire of Knowledge reduces all  actions to ashes.

As the fuel pieces, irrespective  of their quality, shape, size etc., will be reduced to one homogeneous mass of  ash in the Yagna fire, all Karmas, good, bad or indifferent, get burnt up in  the Fire of Knowledge and will become something different from what they were  in their cause and effect condition.  When  the Knowledge of the Self dawns, all actions and their results cannot bring man  into this world again for the enjoyment of fruits of his actions. This is  reducing actions to ashes. When there is full enlightenment i.e. no idea of  agency or doership and no desire for the fruits of actions, then action is no  action at all as it loses all its potency.

Actions leave reactions in the  form of residual impressions which mature at different periods of time  depending upon the quality and intensity of the action. There are three kinds  of Karmas or actions or fructification of past actions Viz. 
• Prarabhdha - so much of the past actions that  have given rise to the present birth (operative). 
• Sanchita - the balance of past actions that will  give rise to future births (not yet operative) 
• Agami - the actions done in the present life (to  be operative in the future).

The Fire of Knowledge cannot  bring about the results of all actions except the Prarabdha which have already  started producing effects.

na hi jnaanena sadrisham pavitram iha vidyate
    tat swayam yogasamsiddhah kaalenaatmani vindati  // 4.38 //

Certainly, there is no  purifier in this world like Knowledge.  A  man who has become perfect in yoga finds it within himself in course of time.

There exists no purifier equal to  knowledge of the Self.  He who has  attained perfection by the constant practice of Karma Yoga and Meditation will  find knowledge of the Self in himself after some time. The surest means of  acquiring this knowledge or wisdom is taught in the next verse.


shraddhaavaan labhate jnaanam tatparah samyatendriyah
    jnaanam labdhvaa paraam shaantim achirenaadhigacchati  // 4.39 //

The man who is full of faith,  who is devoted to it and who has subdued all the senses, obtains this Knowledge  ; and having obtained Knowledge he goes at once to the Supreme Peace.

The three qualities that are  necessary for an individual to be assured of the Knowledge Divine are  enumerated here. Faith, devotion and self-control are the three imperative  necessities to be acquired before one hopes to evolve to a diviner stature.

Faith (Sraddha): This is not blind belief or unquestioned  acceptance of any declaration said to be divine.  Faith indicates that by which an individual  understands readily the exact import of the scriptural text as well as the  words of advice of the teacher.

Devotion (Tatparah):  The  seeker must give his undivided attention to the path of self-development chosen  by him and must on all occasions maintain in his mind a continuous consciousness  of the Divine.

Self-control (Samyatendriyah): It is the sense organs that cause  mental agitations and come in the way of maintaining oneself quietly in the  higher values of life. Therefore, a seeker should learn to live in steady and  constant sense-control.

The seeker who follows the above  agenda of life reaches the state of Knowledge having attained which he soon  reaches the Supreme Peace or the Supreme Joy, the goal of life. All activities  in this world are undertaken to achieve better happiness or joy. So the goal of  life is absolute happiness where all strife ends, all desires fulfilled and  agitations exhausted. Sri Krishna indicates here that such a state of Supreme  Peace is attained by acquiring the Divine Knowledge.

ajnashchaashraddhaadhaanashcha samshayaatmaa vinashyati
    naayam loko'sti na paro na sukham samshayaatmanah  // 4.40 //

The ignorant, the faithless,  the doubting self goes to destruction; there is neither this world nor the  other nor happiness for the doubting soul.

In the previous verse it was said  that those who had faith and knowledge would soon reach the Supreme Peace.  Sri Krishna repeats the same idea through a  negative statement in this verse. Those who do not have these qualities will  get themselves ultimately destroyed and completely ruined.  He who has no Knowledge of the Self  (ignorant), who has no faith in his own self, in the scriptures and in the  teachings of his Guru (faithless) and who is of a doubting disposition because  of which fails to enjoy this world on account of his suspicion about the people  and things around him and who has innumerable doubts as regards the other world  will not find any joy anywhere - neither here nor in the hereafter.

yogasannyasta karmaanam jnaanasamchhinnasamshayam
    aatmavantam na karmaani nibadhnanti dhananjaya  // 4.41 //

Actions do not bind the one,  who has renounced actions through Yoga, whose doubts have been fully dispelled  by Knowledge and who is poised in the Self, O Dhananjaya.

This verse is the summary of all  the main secrets of life explained in this Chapter. It is only egoistic  activities, motivated by egocentric desires that leave gross impressions in the  inner personalities of men and bind them to reap their reactions.  When an individual learns to renounce his  attachments to the fruits of his actions, righteous or unrighteous, through  Yoga and yet works on in perfect detachment and when all his doubts about the  goal of life have been removed through Self-Knowledge, the ego comes to realize  that it is none other than Atman, the Self.   When such a person works, his actions do not bind him. The mutual  relationship of true work, wisdom and self-discipline is brought out here.

Tasmaad ajnaanasambhootam hritstham jnaanaasinaatmanah
    chhittwainam samshayam yogamaatishthottishtha bhaarata  // 4.42 //

Therefore, with the sword of  Knowledge (of the he Self) cut asunder the doubt about the Self born of  ignorance, residing in your heart and take refuge in Yoga, arise O Bharata!

Sri Krishna advises Arjuna in  this last verse of the Chapter to perform action with the help of knowledge and  concentration. The knowledge referred to here is the knowledge by which one  discriminates between the body and the Self and which consequently destroys  grief and delusion.

The doubt in his heart whether it  is better to fight or abstain is the product of ignorance. It will be destroyed  by wisdom. Then he will know what is right for him to do.  It is a call to every seeker to get up and  act well in the spirit of Yagna and gain inner purity, so that he can  experience the Supreme Peace which is the final goal of evolution.

om tat sat iti srimad  bhagavadgeetaasu upanishatsu brahma vidyaayaam yogashaastre sri  krishnaarjuna samvaade jnaana karma sanyaasa yogo naama chaturtho'dhyaayah

Thus in the Upanishads of the  glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the  dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the  fourth discourse entitled The Yoga of  Renunciation of Action in Knowledge

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