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


shreyan dravyamayaadyajnaaj jnaanayajnah parantapa
    sarvam karmaakhilam paartha jnaane parisamaapyate  // 4.33 //

Superior is the knowledge-sacrifice  to all material sacrifices, O Parantapa.   All actions in their entirety, O Partha, culminate in wisdom.

Sri Krishna explains that Gnana  Yagna, the offering of our ignorance into the Fire of Knowledge - acquired and  experienced- is the noblest of all the activities. Compared with the  formalistic ritualism with material offerings (Dravya Yagna), Gnana Yagna -  destroying the misunderstanding in the fire of right understanding - is  superior because sacrifices with material objects produce only material results  while the Knowledge of the Self, Brahman, ends desire, the source of all  activity and therefore all actions get themselves fulfilled. Hence Sri Krishna  says `all actions in their entirety culminate in Knowledge’. The goal is the  life giving wisdom, which gives us freedom of action and liberation from the  bondage of work.


tadviddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevayaa
    upadekshyanti te jnaanam jnaaninas tattwadarshinah  // 4.34 //

Learn it by prostration, by inquiry  and by service. The wise who have realized the Truth will teach you in that  Knowledge.

The method of gaining the  Knowledge by which all actions get exhausted is told here.  The verse explains the qualities of a teacher  who alone can give guidance on the Path of Knowledge. It also prescribes the  mental attitude and intellectual approach that a student should possess for  having an effective and rewarding Guru-Sishya relationship.

The student acquires knowledge of  the Self by: 
• Prostration:   It is not only the show of physical surrender by prostration before the  Master by the student but an intellectual attitude of humility, reverence and  obedience when he approaches the teacher for receiving instructions. The  student should exhibit readiness to understand, grasp and follow the Master's  instructions.
• Inquiry: The student should be ever ready to  raise doubts about bondage and liberation and about knowledge and ignorance  etc. and have them clarified from the Teacher within the limits of devotion and  respect. Discussions between the teacher and the taught bring forth the best  from the teacher which gets transferred to the student.
• Service: Service does not imply any physical  service or offering of material objects but it means the attunement of the  student to the principles of life advised to him by the Master.

The qualifications of a fully  useful teacher are:
• perfect knowledge of the Scriptures and
• a subjective experience of the Infinite Reality.

Sri Krishna means to say that  mere theoretical knowledge, however perfect, does not qualify a person to be a  Guru.  The Truth or Brahman must be realized  before one can claim that most elevated position. That knowledge alone which is  imparted by those who have full personal enlightenment can prove effective and  not any other because he who has no subjective experience of what is taught  cannot understand the inner meaning of the scriptures just as a spoon cannot  have any idea of the soup. This verse makes out that in spiritual life faith  comes first, then knowledge and then experience.


yajjnaatwaa na punarmoham evam yaasyasi paandava
    yena bhootaanyasheshena drakshyasyaatmanyatho mayi  // 4.35 //

Knowing that, O Pandava, you will  not again get deluded like this: and by that you will see all beings in your  own Self and also in Me.

Sri Krishna declares that after  gaining the Knowledge of Brahman (referred to in the previous verse, to be  learnt from the Guru) one will be able to recognize the entire creation,  constituted of the world of objects, emotions and ideas, as nothing but the  Self which is none other than `Me', The Lord, The Paramatman, just as having recognized  the ocean, all the waves are recognized as nothing but the ocean itself. The  Self and the Lord are identical. All beings too are identical with the immortal  Self; through ignorance they appear as separate.

Meaning thereby, that having  received the true knowledge from a teacher one will realize the identity of the  individual Self and God and he will not be subject to any confusion again like Arjuna  now. Here the confusion of Arjuna refers to his despondency about killing of  his kith and kin assembled on the battlefield.

api chedasi paapebhyah sarvebhyah paapakrittamah
    sarvam jnaanaplavenaiva vrijinam santarishyasi  // 36 //

Even if you are the most  sinful of all sinners, yet you shall verily cross all sins by the raft of  Knowledge.

Gita, being a scripture for  living, says here that even if one is the most sinful among the entire sinful,  one can attain salvation and cross the world of imperfections through the Knowledge  of the Self.

Sin is an act of ego forgetting  its own divine nature. It is an act indulged in by man in his delusion catering  to his baser instincts with the hope of achieving bliss. To rediscover that our  ego is nothing other than the Self in us and to live thereafter as the Self of  all is called true wisdom - Jnana.   Having thus realized one's own true nature, the material objects do not  have any attraction to such an individual.

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