Chapter 4 : Transcendental knowledge (Gyan Yoga)
In chapter four Lord Krishna reveals how spiritual knowledge is received by disciplic succession and the reason and nature of His descent into the material worlds. Here Lord Krishna also explains to Arjun the paths of action and knowledge as well as the wisdom regarding the supreme knowledge which results at the culmination of the two paths.
Thus this chapter is entitled: Gyan Yoga or Approaching the Ultimate Truth. Transcendental knowledge – the spiritual knowledge of the soul, of God, and of their relationship – is both purifying and liberating. Such knowledge is the fruit of selfless devotional action (karma-yoga). Lord Krishna explains to Arujn the remote history of the Gita, the purpose and significance of His periodic descents to the material world, and the necessity of approaching a guru, a realized teacher.
- Section-2 (Shloka 19-23)
- The conduct of Yogis and Sages, its glory described
- Section-3 (Shloka 24-32)
- Different forms of sacrifices described with their fruits
- Section-4 (Shloka 33-42)
- Glory of Knowledge described
4.1 ShreeBhagwanovach “imam vivaste yogam proktvaan-aham-avyayam
vivasvaan-manave praaha manur-ikshvaakve-abraveet
4.1 Shree Bhagwan said “taught this immortal yoga to Vivasvan (sun god); Vivasvan conveyed it to Manu (his son); and Manu imparted it ( to his ) son Ikshvaku.”
4.2 evam prampraapraaptam-imam raajarshyo viduh
sa kaleneh mahataa yogo nashtah parantapa
4.2 Thus transmitted in succession from father to son, Arjuna, this yoga remained known to the rajrishis ( royal sages ). It has, however, long since disappeared from this earth.
4.3 sa avayam mayaa te-adya yogah proktah puraatanah
bhkto-asi me sakhaa cheti rahasyam hyotaduttamam
4.3 The same ancient yoga has this day been imparted to you by Me, because you are My devotee and friend; and also because this is a supreme secret.
4.4 Arjuno uvach “aparo bhavato janma param janma vivasvatah
kathmetad-vijaaniyaam tvamaadau proktvaaniti
4.4 Arjuna said “You are of recent origin, while the birth of Vivasvan dates back to remote antiquity. How, then, am I to believe that you taught this yoga at the beginning of creation.”
4.5 ShreeBhagwanovach “bahuni me vyateetaani janmaani tav chaarjuna
tannayam ved sarvaani na tvam veth parantapaa
4.5 Shree Bhagwan said “Arjuna, you and I have passed through several births, I remember them all; You do not remember, O chastiser of foes”
4.6 ajo-api sannvyayaatmaa bhootaanaam-eeshvaro-api san
prakritam svamavishthaaya sambhvamy-aatmamaayayaa
4.6 Though birth less and deathless, and the lord of all beings, I manifest Myself through My own Yogmaya ( divine potency ), keeping My Nature ( Prakriti ) under control.
4.7 yadaa yadaa hi dharmasya glanir-bhavti-bharataa
abhyut-thaaanam-adharmasya tadaatmaanam srijaamyam
4.7 Arjuna, whenever righteousness is on the decline, the unrighteousness is in ascendant, then I body My self forth.
4.8 paritraanaayaam sadhunaam vinaashaye cha dushkritamm
dharma-sansansthaapnaarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge
4.8 For the protection of the virtuous, for the extirpation of evil-doers, and for establishing Dharma ( righteousness ) on a firm footing, I am born from age to age.
4.9 janma karma cha me divyamaivam yo veti tavitah
tyaktvaa deham punarjanam naiti maameti so-arjunaa
4.9 Arjuna, My birth and activities are divine. He who knows this in reality is not reborn on leaving his body, but comes to Me.
4.10 veetraaga-bhay-krodhaa manamaya maamupaashritaah
behvo gyaantapasaa pootaa madbhaavamaagataah
4.10 Completely rid of passion, fear and anger, wholly dependent on Me, and purified by the penance of wisdom, many have become one with Me, even in the past.
4.11 ye yathaa maam prapadyantetaanstathaiva bhajamyaham
mam vartamaanuvartantemaushyaah paaratha sarvashaah
4.11 Arjuna, howsoever men seek Me; even so do I approach them; for all men follow My path in every way.
4.12 kaankhshataa karmanaam siddhim yajanta ih devataah
khshipram hi maanushe lokesidhirbhavati karmajaa
4.12 In this world of human beings; men seeking the fruition of their activities worship the gods; for success born of actions follows quickly.
4.13 chaaturvarny mayaa srishtama guna-karma-vibhaagashah
tasyakartaaram-api maam vidhyaakartaaram-avyayam
4.13 The four orders of society ( viz, the Brahman, the Khshatriya, the Vaisya and the Sudra ), were created by Me classifying them according to the mode of Prakriti predominant in each and apportioning corresponding duties to them; though the author of this creation, know Me, the immortal Lord, to be a non-doer.
4.14 na maam karmaani limpanti na me karma-phale sprehaa
iti maam yo-abhijaanaati karmabhirna sa badhyate
4.14 Since I have no craving for the fruit of actions, actions do not contaminate Me. Even he who thus knows Me in reality is not bound by actions.
4.15 aivam gyaatva kritam karma purvairapi mumukhshubhih
kuru karmaiv tasmaatvam purvaih purvataram kritam
4.15 Having known thus, action was performed even by the ancient seekers for liberation; therefore, you also do perform such actions as have been performed by the ancients from the beginning of the time.
4.16 kim karma kim karmeti kavyo-apyatra mohitaah
tatte karma pravakhshyami yat gyaatvaa mokhshyase-ashubhaat
4.16 What is action and what is inaction ? Even men of intelligence are puzzled over this question. Therefore I shall expound to you the truth about action, knowing which you will be freed from its evil effect ( binding nature ).
4.17 karmano hiyaapi boddhavyam bodhavyam cha vikarmanaah
akarmanaashcha boddhavayam gahnaa karmano gatih
4.17 The truth about the action must be known and the truth of inaction also must be known; even so the truth about prohibited action must be known. For mysterious are the ways of action.
4.18 karmanyakarma yah pashyedkarmaanicha karma yah kritsan-karma-krit
sa bhuddhiman-manushyesu sa yukt kritsan-karmakrit
4.18 He who sees inaction in action and action in inaction, is wise among men; he is yogi, who has performed all actions.
4.19 yasya sarve smaarambhaah kaam-sangalpvarjitaah
gyaanagnidagdha-karmaanam tamaahuh panditaah budhaah
4.19 Even the wise call him a sage, whose undertakings are all free from desire and thoughts of the world, and whose action are burnt up by the fire of wisdom.
4.20 tyaktvaa karmaphalaasangama nitya-tripto niraashrayah
karmanyabhi-pravritto-api naiv kinchit kroti sa
4.20 He who, having totally given up attachment to actions and their fruits, no longer depends on the world, and is ever satisfied, does nothing at all, though fully engaged in action.
4.21 niraasheer-yatchittaatmaa tyakta-sarva-parigrahah
shreeram kevalam karam kurvan-n-aapnoti kilbibisham
4.21 Having subdued his mind and body, and given up all objects of enjoyment, and free from craving, he who performs sheer bodily action does not incur sin.
4.22 yadrichchaalaabh-santushto dvandaateeto vimatsarah
samah siddhaavsiddho cha kritvaapi na nibaddhyte
4.22 The kaaramyogi, who is contented with whatever is got unsought, is free from jealousy and has transcended all pairs of opposites ( like joy and grief ), and is balanced in success and failure, is not bound by his action.
4.23 gatsangasya muktasya gyaanaavasthit-chetasah
yagyaayaacharataah karma samagram pravileeyate
4.23 All his actions melt away, who is free from attachment, who has no identification with the body and does not claim it as his own, whose mind is established in the knowledge of Self and who works merely for the sake of sacrifice.
4.24 brahmaarpanam brahma havirbrahmaagnau brahmana hutam
brahmaiv ten gantavyam brahma-karma-samaadhinaa
4.24 In the practice of seeing Brahma everywhere as a form of sacrifice Brahma is the ladle with which the oblation is poured into the fire etc; Brahma, again, is the oblation; Brahma is the fire, Brahma itself is sacrificer, and so Brahma it self constitutes the act of pouring the oblation into the fire. And finally Brahma is the goal to be reached by him who is absorbed in Brahma as the act of such sacrifice
4.25 daivmevapre yagyam yoginah paryupaaste
brahmaagnaavpare yagyam yagyenaivopjuhvati
4.25 Other yogis duly offer sacrifice only in the shape of worship to gods. Other pours into the fire of Brahma the very sacrifice in the shape of the Self through the sacrifice known as the perception of identity.
4.26 shrotaadeeneendryaanyenye saiyamaagneshu juhvati
shabdaadeen-vishyaananya indriyaagnishu juhvati
4.26 Others offer as sacrifice their senses of hearing etc. into the fire of self-discipline. Other yogis, again, offer sound and other objects of perception into the fire of senses.
4.27 sarvaaneendriya-karmaani prankarmaani chaapre
aatmasaiyam-yogaagnau juhvati gyandeepte
4.27 Others sacrifice all the functions of their senses and the functions of vital airs into the fire of yoga in the shape of self-control, kindled by wisdom.
4.28 drvya-yagyaas-tapo-yagya yogyagyaasa tathaapare
svadhyaaya-gyaan-yagyaahshcha yatyah sanshitvrataah
4.28 Some perform sacrifice with material possessions; some offer sacrifice in the shape of austerities ; others sacrifice through the practice of yoga; while some striving souls, observing austere vows, perform sacrifice in the shape of wisdom through the study of sacred texts.
4.29 apaane juhivati praanam praane-apaanam tathaapare
praanaapaanagati ruddhvaa praanaayaam-paraayenaah
4.29 Other yogis offer the act of exhalation into that of
4.30 apre neeyataahaaraah praanaan-praaneshujuhavati
sarve-apyete yagyavido yagyakhyapitkalmashaah
4. 30 inhalation; even so others, the act of inhalation into that of exhalation. There are still others given to the practice of Pranayam ( breath control ), who having regulated their diet and controlled the process of exhalation and inhalation both pour their vital airs into the vital airs themselves. All these having their sins consumed away by sacrifice and understand the meaning of sacrificial worship.
4.31 yagya-shishtaamrit-bhujo yaanti brahma sanaatanam
naayam loko-astaya-yagyasya kuto-anyah kurusattamh
4.31 Arjuna, yogis who enjoy the nectar that has been left over after the performance of a sacrifice attain the eternal Brahma. To the man who does not offer sacrifice, even this world is not happy; how, then can the other world be happy ?
4.32 aivam bahuvidhaayagyaa vitataa brahmano mukhe
karmajaan-vid taan-sarvaanevam gyaatvaa vimokhshyse
4.32 Many such forms of sacrifice have been set forth in detail through the mouth of Vedas; know them all as involving the action of mind, senses and body. Thus knowing the truth about them you shall be freed from the bondage of action (through their performance).
4.33 shreyaan-dravyamayaad-yagyaat gyaan yagyah parantapa
sarvam karvaakhilam paarth gyane parisamapyte
4.33 Arjuna, sacrifice through knowledge is superior to sacrifice performed with material things. For all actions without exception culminate in knowledge, O son of Kunti.
4.34 updekhshyanti te gyaanam gyaninas-tatva-darshinah
tadviddhi praanipaaten pariprashanen sevayaa
4.34 Understand the true nature of that knowledge by approaching illumined souls. If you prostrate at their feet, render them service , and question them with an open and guileless heart, those wise seers of Truth will instruct you in that knowledge.
4.35 yajgyaatvaana punarmohmevam yaayasu paandavaa
yen bhootanyasheshenen dakhshasyaatmanyayatho mai
4.35 Arjuna, when you have reached enlightenment, ignorance will delude you no more. In the light of that knowledge you will see the entire creation first within your own self, and then in Me ( the Oversoul ).
4.36 api chedasi paapebhyah sarvebhyah paapkrittamah
sarvam gyanpalvenaiv vrijinam santrishyasi
4.36 Even though you were the foulest of all sinners, this knowledge alone would carry you, like a raft, across all your sin.
4.37 yathaidhaansi samiddho-agnirbhasmsaat-kurute-arjuna
gyaanaagni sarvakarmaani bhasmsaat kurute tathaa
4.37 For as the blazing fire turns the fuels to ashes, Arjuna, even so the fire of knowledge turns all action to ashes.
4.38 na hi gyanen sadrisham pavitram-ih vidyte
tatsvayam yogsansiddhih kaalenaatmani vidati
4.38 On earth there is no purifier as great as knowledge; he who has attained purity of heart through a prolonged practice of karamayoga automatically sees the light of truth in the self in course of time.
4.39 shraddhavanl-labhate gyaanam tatparah sayantendriyah
gyaanam labhdva praam shantim-achirena-adhigachchati
4.39 He who has mastered his senses, is exclusively devoted to his practice and is full of faith, attains knowledge; having had the revelation of truth, he immediately attains supreme peace ( in the form of God-Realization ).
4.40 agyashcha -ashradhaanashcha sanshyaatmaa vinashyati
naayam loko-asti na paro ne sukham sanshayaatmanah
4.40 He who lacks discrimination, is devoid of faith, and is at the same time possessed by doubt is lost from spiritual path. For the doubting soul there is neither this world nor the world beyond, nor even happiness.
4.41 yog-sannasyat-karmaanam gyaan-sachchinnasanshayama
aatmavantam na karmaani nibhaddhananti dhananjaya
4.41 Arjuna, actions do not bind him who has dedicated all his actions to God according to spirit of karma yoga, whose doubts have been torn to shreds by wisdom, and who is self-possessed.
4.42 tasmat agyaanam-sambhootamhritastham gyaanaasinaatmanah
chchitvainam sanshyam yogam-aatishthotishtha bharata
4.42 Therefore, Arjuna, slashing to pieces, with the sword of wisdom, this doubt in your heart, born of ignorance, establish yourself in karamayoga in the shape of even-tempered ness, and stand up for the fight.
om tat-sat-iti shree-mad-bhagwat-geetasupnishatsu
naam chaturtho-adhyayh ||4||
Thus in the Upanishad sung by the Lord, the Science of Brahma, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Shree Krishna and Arjuna, ends the fourth chapter entitled ” The Yoga of Knowledge as well as the discipline of Action and Knowledge. “
- Yoga in The Gita: Time to Let Go. (elephantjournal.com)
- Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 2) (epages.wordpress.com)
- The Primordial Teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita (rollingwithvishnu.wordpress.com)
- Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 3 – Karma Yoga (The Yoga of Action) (bhuwanchand.wordpress.com)
- Accepting Krsna Vani & Accepting a real Guru like Arjuna who has seen Krsna (srilaprabhupadavapuseva.wordpress.com)