Bhagavadgita

Chapter 4 - Jnyana Yoga

Slokas with meanings in English

Sloka text in Devanagari, Kannada, Gujarati, Telugu, English

||om tat sat||

śrī bhagavānuvāca:
imaṁ vivasvatē yōgaṁ prōktavānahamavyayam |
vivasvān manavē prāha manuḥ ikṣvākavē abravīt ||

"I imparted the imperishable Yoga to Vivaswan, Vivaswan taught this to Manu, and Manu transmitted this to Ikshwakus."
||om tat sat||
śrīkr̥ṣṇaparabrahmanē namaḥ
śrīmadbhagavadgīta
jñāna yōgaḥ
caturthō'dhyāyaḥ

Bhagavadgita
Jnyana Yoga
Chapter 4
-

The first three chapters start with a question as part of first Sloka. In the first chapter it is Dhritarashtra's question. In the second and third chapters it is Arjuna's question followed by Krishna's discourse.

For the first time, the fourth chapter starts with "Sri Bhagavan uvaacha," meaning there by that it starts with Krishna's discourse right away. Earlier Krishna has given an elaborate discourse on Karma Yoga and Buddhi Yoga in chapter 3. Having said what all he wanted to say about the paths of liberation, Krishna puts a little more weight on Karma yoga for Arjuna. Highlighting the Karma Yoga, he says it is my philosophy "yē mē mataṁ idam|".

As though to support his arguments, Krishna starts the fourth chapter detailing the antiquity of the Karma Yoga, which he already said was ancient origin.

śrī bhagavānuvāca:
imaṁ vivasvatē yōgaṁ prōktavānahamavyayam |
vivasvān manavē prāha manuḥ ikṣvākavē'bravīt ||1||

sa|| avyayaṁ imaṁ yōgaṁ ahaṁ vivasvatē prōktavān | vivasvān manavē prāha | manuḥ ikṣvākavē abravīt ||1||

||Sloka meanings||

avyayaṁ imaṁ yōgaṁ - this undecaying Yoga
ahaṁ vivasvatē prōktavān - I taught to Surya
vivasvān manavē prāha - Surya taught to Manu
manuḥ ikṣvākavē abravīt - Manu taught to Ikshwaku

||Sloka summary||
Bhagavan Said:
" I taught this ancient Yoga to Surya. Surya taught to Manu
Manu taught to Ikshwaku." ||1||

Krishna already stated that "Karma yoga" was in practice from old times. "janakādayaḥ...," meaning King Janaka and others, have obtained liberation through the practice of Karma yoga. To impress on Arjuna that this is not something he is preaching now, Krishna brings up the antiquity

Elaborating on the ancient nature of this Karma yoga, Krishna starts the discourse with the details of when the Karma yoga was taught first. Bhagavan first taught this to Sun and from Sun it was taught to others. There on it came down to others through the ages. But this has fallen into disuse and misuse.

||Sloka 2||

ēvaṁ paramparāprāptaṁ imaṁ rājarṣayō viduḥ |
sa kālēnēha mahatā yōgō naṣṭhaḥ parantapa || 2 ||

sa||hē parantapa ! ēvaṁ paraṁparā prāptaṁ imaṁ rājarṣayaḥ viduḥ | mahatā kālēna sa mahatā yōgaḥ iha naṣṭaḥ ||2||

||Sloka meanings||

hē parantapa - o, scorcher of enemies
ēvaṁ paraṁparā prāptaṁ - thus received through the ages
imaṁ rājarṣayaḥ viduḥ - this yoga was known to the King seers
mahatā kālēna sa yōgaḥ- due to long lapse of time this Yoga
iha naṣṭaḥ - now lost

||Sloka summary||

"O, Scorcher of enemies thus received through the ages,
this yoga was known to the King seers. Due to long lapse of time this Yoga now lost." ||2||

This has been handed down through successive generations. This was also known to King-seers. But due to long lapse of time this Yoga now lost.

Since this Yoga was known to King-seers earlier, Krishna seems to imply that Arjuna, who is of the lineage of kings, can also follow the Yoga. The reference to kings also echoes the thought that if kings who are busy with the complex daily issues of managing the kingdom can follow this yoga, then people as busy in these worldly ways can also follow this Yoga.

That yoga was lost, meant that people lost track of the purpose of this Yoga. Specifically about actions to be performed without focusing on fruits. That means that great practice was almost forgotten or fallen in disuse or misuse.

So Krishna teaches that Karma Yoga to his disciple Arjuna and through him to the world at large.

||Sloka 3||

sa ēvāyaṁ mayā tē'dya yōgaḥ prōktaḥ purātanaḥ |
bhaktō'si mē sakhācēti rahasyaṁ hyētaduttamam || 3 ||

sa|| (tvaṁ) mē bhaktaḥ sakhāca asi iti purātanaḥ saḥ ēva ayaṁ yōgaḥ adya tē mayā prōktaḥ | uttamam ētat yōgaṁ rahasyaṁ hi ||3||

||Sloka meanings||

mē bhaktaḥ sakhāca asi iti- being my devotee and friend
purātanaḥ saḥ ēva ayaṁ yōgaḥ - this ancient Yoga
adya tē mayā prōktaḥ - now this has been taught by Me to you
uttamam ētat yōgaṁ rahasyaṁ hi - this yoga is most profound and mystery.

||Sloka summary||

"Being My devotee and friend, now this this ancient Yoga
has been taught by Me to you. This yoga is most profound and mystery." ||3||

The Karma yoga, that was taught now, was conceived in the very beginning. It was ancient and mysterious. It became a mystery because people forgot the original concept of doing actions without focusing or anticipating fruits. Hence Krishna through this discourse is reviving the same.
Hearing this, Arjuna has a doubt.
||Sloka 4||

arjuna uvāca :
aparaṁ bhavatō janma paraṁ janma vivasvataḥ|
kathamētadvijānīyāṁ tvamādau prōktavāniti || 4 ||

sa|| bhavataḥ janma aparaṁ | vivasvataḥ janma param | ādau tvaṁ prōktavān iti ētat kathaṁ vijānīyām ||4||

||Sloka meanings||

vivasvataḥ janma param - Vivasman's birth was much before
bhavataḥ janma aparaṁ - your birth is recent
ādau tvaṁ prōktavān iti - that you taught him in the beginning
ētat kathaṁ vijānīyām - how am I to understand this ?

||Sloka summary||

"Vivasman's birth was much before. Your birth is recent.
How am I to understand that you taught him in the beginning?". ||4||

Arjuna's doubt is simple. How is it possible for Krishna, who is living in the present and in front of him, to say that he taught this practice ages ago to Sun. Sun was there for all practical purposes much before Krishna, who was born to Devaki and Vasudeva in the middle of the night.

That would also be the thought of all those who are not aware of Krishna, the son of Vasudeva, as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The doubt would persist that he is not a form of divinity (Eswara) and he may not be the all-knowing personality of Godhead. Arjuna's question was in a way to bring forth the reality of Krishna as the Bhagavan removing all ambiguity.

So Krishna responds to Arjuna's query.
||Sloka 5||

śrī bhagavānuvāca:
bahūni mē vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna |
tānayahaṁ vēda sarvāṇi na tvaṁ vēttha parantapa || 5 ||

sa|| hē arjuna ! mē tava ca janmāni bahūni vyatītāni | tāni sarvāṇi ahaṁ vēda | hē parantapa ! tvaṁ navēttha ||5||

||Sloka meanings||

mē tava ca janmāni bahūni - I and you have many births
vyatītāni- (they) have passed
tāni sarvāṇi ahaṁ vēda - I know all of them
hē parantapa tvaṁ navēttha - O Parantapa( Arjuna) , you do not know that

||Sloka summary||

"ō Arjuna, I and you have many births. They have passed. I know all of them
You do not know." ||5||

This is revelation from Krishna. Krishna for the first time says that he is "Bhagavan" in Mahabharata.

Krishna reveals the following.
(1) That he has several births, he knows all of them.
(2) Though, he is "without birth", and hence need not be born, he is born on his own inscrutable powers.
(3) So why is he born like that? Krishna elaborates that also.

All of this is revealed in the next three Slokas.
||Sloka 6||

ajō'pi sannavyayātmā bhūtānāṁ īśvarō'pi san |
prakr̥tiṁ svāmadhiṣṭāya saṁbhavāmyātmamāyayā|| 6 ||

sa|| (aham) ajaḥ api san avyayātmā api san bhūtānām īśvaraḥ api san svāṁ prakr̥tiṁ adhiṣṭhāya ātma māyayā saṁbhavāmi || 6||

||ślōkārthamulu||

ajaḥ api san - though without birth
avyayātmā api san - undecaying by nature
bhūtānām īśvaraḥ api san - though ( being) the Lord of all beings
svāṁ prakr̥tiṁ adhiṣṭhāya - controlling My nature
ātma māyayā saṁbhavāmi - by my own Maya. I take birth

||Sloka summary||

"Though without birth, undecaying by nature, (being) the Lord of all beings,
controlling My nature, I take birth by my own Maya." ||6||

The Supreme being is without birth or death. But he takes birth again and again. That is by his own power, having controlled the nature. His birth is not related to the cycle of birth and death that plague this action filled world.

When is he born? Why is he born? These are questions that get answered in the next couple of Slokas.

||Sloka 7||

yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānirbhavati bhārata |
abhyutthānaṁ adharmasya tadātmānam sr̥jāmyaham || 7 ||

sa|| hē bhārata yadā yadā dharmasya glāniḥ adharmasya abhyutthānam bhavati tadā ātmānam aham sr̥jāmi ||7||

||ślōkārthamulu||

yadā yadā dharmasya glāniḥ - whenever righteousness is threatened
adharmasya abhyutthānam bhavati - unrighteousness is rising
tadā ātmānam aham sr̥jāmi - then I project Myself

|| Sloka summary||

"O Bharata, whenever righteousness is threatened, unrighteousness is rising, then I project Myself".

That means that the Supreme being takes birth whenever righteousness is threatened, and unrighteousness is rising, He is born of his own accord. We are not done with that explanation. Krishna continues.

||Sloka 8||

paritrāṇāya sādhūnām vināśāya ca duṣkr̥tām |
dharma saṁsthāpanārthāya saṁbhavāmi yugē yugē || 8 ||

sa|| sādhūnāṁ paritrāṇāya duṣkr̥tāṁ vināśāya ca dharma saṁsthāpanārthāya yugē yugē saṁbhavāmi ||8||

||ślōkārthamulu||

sādhūnāṁ paritrāṇāya - to protect the virtuous
duṣkr̥tāṁ vināśāya ca - destroy those evil doers
dharma saṁsthāpanārthāya - to establish righteousness
yugē yugē saṁbhavāmi - I am born in every age

||Sloka summary ||

"I am born in every age to protect the virtuous, destroy the evil doers, and to establish righteousness." ||8||

So in response to Arjunas query of " How is it that you belonging to the present taught Sun some ages ago?", Krishna reveals that he is an ageless soul, without birth or death. But he does take birth of his own accord, to protect the virtuous, destroy the evil doers, and establish Dharma from time to time.

This is a revelation.

Till that moment Krishna was for all practical purposes the son of Devaki and Vasudeva with magical affection for the Pandavas while coming to their rescue in all difficulties. Though it is felt that he is the form of God, there was no thought that he is the "God". That gets revealed for the first time in Gita and Mahabharata.

||Sloka 9 ||

janma karma ca mē divyaṁ ēvaṁ yō vētti tattvataḥ |
tyaktvā dēhaṁ punarjanma naiti māmēti sō'rjuna || 9 ||

sa|| hē arjunā | yaḥ ēvaṁ mē divyaṁ janma karma tattvataḥ vētti saḥ dēhaṁ tyaktvā punaḥ janma na ēti | saḥ mām ēti ||9||

||ślōkārthamulu||

hē arjunā - o Arjuna
yaḥ ēvaṁ vētti - whoever truly knows
mē divyaṁ janma karma tattvataḥ - the true nature of my divine birth and actions
saḥ dēhaṁ tyaktvā punaḥ janma na ēti - that one casting off the body will not attain birth .
saḥ mām ēti - he attains Me

||Sloka summary ||

"O Arjuna, whoever truly knows the true nature of my divine birth and actions, that one casting off the body will not attain birth. He attains Me."||9||

The one who truly knows the true nature of the Supreme being's births and actions attains liberation. Knowing truly, is not by study of scriptures or hearing the scriptures, but by experiencing that nature by his own actions. That happens for the one who attains a mental equilibrium wherein he realizes the equality of every creature.

||Sloka 10||

vītarāga bhaya krōdhā manmayā māmupāśritāḥ |
bahavō jñāna tapasā pūtā madbhāvamāgatāḥ ||10 ||

sa|| vītarāga bhayakrōthāḥ manmayāḥ mām upāśritāḥ bahavaḥ jñānatapasā pūtāḥ madbhāvam āgatāḥ ||10||

||Sloka meanings||

vītarāga bhayakrōthāḥ - those who are free of passion fear and anger
manmayāḥ - those who have their mind focused on Me
mām upāśritāḥ - those who have taken refuge in Me
bahavaḥ jñānatapasā pūtāḥ - many who were purified by austerities of Knowledge
madbhāvam āgatāḥ - attained My state

||Sloka summary ||

"Those who are free of passion fear and anger, those who have their mind focused on Me, those who have taken refuge in Me, and many who were purified by austerities of Knowledge, attained My state." ||10||

Having revealed his true nature he says, that people who are free from attachment, fear and anger, people with their minds focused on Him and purified by knowledge, attain His form'.
It means that by means of penance, with mind focused on knowledge, one attains liberation.
What is that knowledge?
That is the knowledge of Self.
This path of knowing him and being absorbed in him is available for the few who followed the specified path.
What would happen to others? There is Krishna's answer in the next Sloka.

||Sloka 11||

yē yathā māṁ prapadyantē tāṁ stathaiva bhajāmyaham |
mamavartmānu vartantē manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ || 11 ||

sa|| hē pārtha ! yē yathā māṁ prapadyaṁtē tān tathā ēva ahaṁ bhajāmi | manuṣyāḥ mama vartma sarvaśaḥ anuvartantē ||11||

||Sloka meanings||

yē yathā māṁ prapadyaṁtē - whatever manner in which they adore Me
tān tathā ēva ahaṁ bhajāmi - favor them in that very manner
manuṣyāḥ mama vartma - human being follow My path
sarvaśaḥ anuvartantē - all the time follow Me

||Sloka summary ||

"Whatever manner in which they adore Me, I favor them in that very manner. Human beings follow My path.
all the time." ||11||

There is Krishna's answer.
- 'yē yathā māṁ prapadyaṁtē'
- 'Whoever prays to me in whichever way',
the Bhagavan accepts those prayers and rewards them in the way they sought.

Kalidasa in his immortal Raghuvamsa says of human nature, "lōkō bhinnaruciḥ","People have different tastes".
One may be performing 'Nishkama Karma' and desires to attain a state of equanimity and peace. Somebody else thinking he is doing the Nishkama karma may be praying for attaining 'fruitful happiness' or the heaven.

Krishna says 'Bhagavan accepts and rewards each and every one according to their wishes'.

Even when we are thinking that we are doing Nishkama karma we must be clear about the desire. That there can be no desire while doing Nishkama Karma is the knowledge. Without that knowledge and doing the Karma with the thoughts of how and in what form we will be shown grace by the Lord for the 'Nishkama Karma' we are performing, will only mean that our mind is ceaselessly at work. Thus it will not result in one attaining the desired tranquility which is the real source of peace. Although one may be doing Karma without any specific fruit, but if in the back of the mind the thought continues about what unexpected reward one may get, then too it is no longer Nishkama karma.

So the key is controlling the mind.
||Sloka 12||

kāṁkṣantaḥ karmaṇāṁ siddhiṁ yajanta iha dēvatāḥ |
kṣipraṁ hi mānuṣē lōkē siddhirbhavati karmajā || 12||

sa|| karmaṇāṁ siddhim kāṁkṣataḥ iha dēvatāḥ yajantē hi , karmajā siddhiḥ mānuṣē lōkē kṣipram bhavati ||12||

||Sloka meanings||

karmaṇāṁ siddhim kāṁkṣataḥ - those longing for success of their actions
iha dēvatāḥ yajantē hi - they worship Gods here.
mānuṣē lōkē - in this human world
karmajā siddhiḥ kṣipram bhavati - success for actions happens very quickly

||Sloka summary ||

"Those longing for success of their actions, they worship Gods here. In this human world
success for actions happens very quickly." ||12||

This is also the specialty of the life as a human being. Only living on the earth one can attain a path for liberation. Even gods living in heaven, have to come down to earth to attain Moksha.

||Sloka 13||

cāturvarṇyaṁ mayā sr̥ṣṭaṁ guṇakarma vibhāgaśaḥ |
tasya kartāramapi māṁ viddhyakartāra mavyayam || 13 ||

sa|| cāturvarṇyaṁ guṇakarma vibhāgaśaḥ mayā sr̥ṣṭhaṁ| tasya kartāramapi mām akartāraṁ avyayam viddhi ||13||

||Sloka meanings||

guṇakarma vibhāgaśaḥ - following the division of actions based on Gunas
cāturvarṇyaṁ mayā sr̥ṣṭhaṁ - four castes have been created by Me.
tasya kartāramapi - though I was the creator of those
mām akartāraṁ avyayam viddhi - know Me as the non-creator and change-less

||Sloka summary ||

"Following the division of actions based on Gunas, four castes have been created by Me. Though I was the creator of those, know Me as the non-creator and changeless." ||13||

||Sloka 14||

namāṁ karmāṇi limpanti namē karmaphalē spr̥hā |
iti māṁ yō'bhijānāti karmabhiḥ na sa badhyatē || 14 ||

sa|| mām karmāṇi na liṁpanti | mē karmaphalē spr̥hā na | iti mām yaḥ abhijānāti saḥ karmabhiḥ na badhyatē ||14||

||Sloka meanings||

mām karmāṇi na liṁpanti - the actions do not bind me
mē karmaphalē spr̥hā na - I have no hankering for fruits of the actions
iti mām yaḥ abhijānāti - thus, whoever knows Me
saḥ karmabhiḥ na badhyatē - they will not be bound by actions

||Sloka summary ||

"The actions do not bind me. I have no hankering for the fruits of the actions.
Thus, whoever knows Me they will not be bound by actions" ||14||

So controlling the mind, he who knows the Self knows that, 'the actions do not touch me', and that 'I do not have desire on the fruits of actions'. Such a one, free of actions and fruits, will be free from the bondage of Karma.

The thought, "namē karmāṇi liṁpanti namē karma phala spr̥hā" is like a Taraka Mantra. The repeated saying of this, makes one's own thoughts stronger in that direction. One will loses the interest in the fruits of the actions. One would develop the belief and moves forward.

||Sloka 15||

ēvaṁ jñātvā kr̥taṁ karma pūrvairapi mumukṣubhiḥ |
kuru karmaiva tasmātvaṁ pūrvaiḥ pūrvataraṁ kr̥tam ||15||

sa|| ēvaṁ jñātvā pūrvaiḥ mumukṣubhiḥ api karma kr̥taṁ | tasmāt tvaṁ pūrvaiḥ kr̥taṁ pūrvataram karma ēva kuru ||15||

||Sloka meanings||

ēvaṁ jñātvā - having known this
pūrvaiḥ mumukṣubhiḥ api karma kr̥taṁ - actions were performed by the seekers of the yore
tasmāt pūrvaiḥ pūrvataram kr̥taṁ - hence the actions done by those ancient ones
karma ēva tvaṁ kuru - you also undertake that action

||Sloka summary ||

"Having known this, actions were performed by the seekers of the yore.
Hence you also undertake that action the actions done by those ancient ones". ||15||

Here, Karma means Nishkama Karma. In the olden times, the seekers on the path of liberation performed Nishkama Karma and attained liberation. Krishna tells Arjuna to follow the path of ancient Seekers.

Here, instead of giving a direction to follow Nishkama Karma himself, Krishna tells Arjuna follow your predecessors'. The direct implication to many is that in case of any confusion about actions one should follow the predecessors.

Krishna realizing that there could be confusion on the word 'Karma', clarifies the same in the next three Slokas.

||Sloka 16||

kiṁ karma kimakarmēti kavayō'pyatra mōhitāḥ |
tattē karma pravakṣyāmi yajñātvā mōkṣyasē'śubhāt|| 16||

sa|| karma kiṁ akarma kiṁ iti atra kavayaḥ api mōhitāḥ | yat jñātvā aśubhāt mōkṣyasē tat karma tē pravakṣyāmi ||16||

||Sloka meanings||

karma kiṁ akarma kiṁ iti - what is karma ? what is akarma?
atra kavayaḥ api mōhitāḥ - even the learned are confused in this matter.
yat jñātvā aśubhāt mōkṣyasē - hearing which you will be free of confusion
tat karma tē pravakṣyāmi - That action I will tell you know.

||Sloka summary ||

"What is karma? what is akarma? Even the learned are confused in this matter. Hearing which you will be free of confusion
that action, I will tell you know." ||17||

Karma has been mentioned in variety of contexts. Vedas are full of actions focused on results. There can definitely be confusion on the meaning of 'Karma'. Krishna is always using Karma in the context of Nishkama Karma. So here Krishna clarifies about Karma. Karma is about action to be done. Akarma is a state of not doing any action. These get elaborated in the next few Slokas.

||Sloka 17||

karmaṇōhyapi bōddhavyaṁ bōddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ |
akarmaṇaśca bōddhavyaṁ gahanā karmaṇō gatiḥ || 17 ||

sa|| karmaṇaḥ api bōddhavyaṁ | vikarmaṇaḥ bōddhavyam| akarmaṇaḥ ca bōddhavyam |karmaṇaḥ gatiḥ gahanā hi || 17||

||Sloka meanings||

karmaṇaḥ api bōddhavyaṁ - some thing is to be known about action
vikarmaṇaḥ bōddhavyam - some thing is to be known about prohibited action too
akarmaṇaḥ ca bōddhavyam - something to be known about inaction
karmaṇaḥ gatiḥ gahanā hi - the course of action is indeed profound

||Sloka summary ||

" Some thing is to be known about action
Some thing is to be known about prohibited action too.
Something to be known about inaction.
The course of action is indeed profound." ||17||

Here three topics have proposed. Action, prohibited action and inaction. It is important to know all the three. Unable to decipher the consequences, some may think that inaction as a better course of action, and thus pursue inaction. To ward off such confusion, Krishna is elaborating all the three again.

||Sloka 18||

karmaṇyakarma yaḥ paśyēt akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ|
sa buddhimān manuṣyēṣu sa yuktaḥ kr̥tsnakarmakr̥t || 18||

sa|| karmaṇi akarma yaḥ paśyēt akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ paśyēt saḥ manuṣyēṣu buddhimān saḥ yuktaḥ kr̥tsnakarmakr̥t bhavati |18||

||Sloka meanings||

karmaṇi akarma yaḥ paśyēt - the one who can see inaction in action
akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ paśyēt - one who can see action in inaction
saḥ manuṣyēṣu buddhimān - he is a wise one among men
saḥ yuktaḥ - he is engaged in Yoga
kr̥tsnakarmakr̥t bhavati - he is the one performing all actions

||Sloka summary ||

"The one who can see inaction in action,
one who can see action in inaction,
He is a wise one among men, he is engaged in Yoga.
He is the one performing all actions." ||18||

The Karma is of two types. The 'Karma' that needs to be done (Niyata Karma) and the Karma that has been barred (Nishiddha Karma) which is spoken as 'vikarma'. Not doing any Karma is aKarma. The one who knows the difference between "Karma" 'vikarma' and 'aKarma' is the one who understands Karma and possess the knowledge of Karma.

Knowing the difference between the three, and yet being able to 'aKarma' in 'Karma' which is properly performed and seeing 'Karma in 'aKarma' which is improperly performed, is the one who is wise.

That wise man is deemed to have performed all actions.
That is the actions that needed to be done
That means he is primed for liberation.

So what is that 'aKarma' in 'Karma'?

Performing Nishkama karma one does not expect any fruits of such action by definition. So performing that Karma or action without ownership of that action is key.

What is meant by not having the ownership of that action?

It is common failing of all of us that when we perform the action, we see ourselves as the doer. Even to the extent of saying to ourself that because 'I' did it, it 'got' done. Discarding the Self in that action and also ascribing that action as the action done with God's grace is called as 'not having the ownership'.

Such action will result in no bondage.

That means though we did that 'karma', having ascribed that to the grace of God, it is as though we have not done any 'karma'. That 'karma' performed is like 'aKarma' only. That is seeing 'aKarma' in 'Karma'

Then what is 'Karma' in 'aKarma'?

If a person without changing his nature which is governed by Rajo, Tamo and Sattvic Gunas, by physically keeping control of the sense organs and then not doing any 'Karma' thinks he is doing no Karma or 'aKarma' hence no bondage. But because of the nature dominated by Tamo and Rajo Gunas his mind may not be under control. Though he is not physically doing any actions, his mind is elsewhere and doing its utmost travelling at speeds beyond light! Such a one though seemingly performing no 'aKarma' or no action is actually doing 'Karma' through his ceaseless mind!

The wise one thus sees through such 'karma' in 'aKarma' too!

Thus knowing the differences between 'Karma' 'aKarma' and 'vKarma' and if one is able to see 'aKarma' in 'Karma' and 'Karma' in 'aKarma,' then such a person who acts without desire, distills the action in the fire of Knowledge, and is known as 'Pandita. Such a one is free from bondage of action.

||Sloka 19||

yasya sarvē samārambhāḥ kāma saṁkalpavarjitāḥ |
jñānāgni dagdhakarmāṇāṁ tamāhuḥ paṇḍitaṁ budhāḥ || 19 ||

sa|| yasya sarvē samārambhāḥ kāmasaṁkalpa varjitāḥ jñānāgni dagdhakarmāṇam taṁ paṁḍitaṁ iti budhāḥ āhuḥ||19||

||Sloka meanings||

yasya sarvē samārambhāḥ - the one whose actions are all
kāmasaṁkalpa varjitāḥ - free of intent for fruits
jñānāgni dagdhakarmāṇam - whose actions are burnt away in the fire of knowledge
taṁ paṁḍitaṁ iti budhāḥ āhuḥ - he is called as wise man by those who know

||Sloka summary ||

"Those who know call him wise, whose actions are all free of intent for fruits,
whose actions are burnt away in the fire of knowledge"." ||19||

Knowing the differences between action, prohibited action and inaction, then who is able to perform actions free of intent for fruits, whose actions are based on the knowledge of ordained action, prohibited action and inaction, such one is indeed a wise man.

||Sloka 20||

tyaktvā karma phalāsaṅgaṁ nitya tr̥ptō nirāśrayaḥ |
karmaṇyabhipravr̥tō'pi naiva kiṁcitkarōti saḥ || 20||

sa|| phalāsaṁgaṁ tyaktvā nitya tr̥ptaḥ nirāśrayaḥ karmaṇi abhipravr̥ttaḥ saḥ kiṁcit ( karma) na karōti ēva ||20||

||Sloka meanings||

phalāsaṁgaṁ tyaktvā - having given up fruits of action
nitya tr̥ptaḥ nirāśrayaḥ - being always satisfied, and free possessions
karmaṇi abhipravr̥ttaḥ - though engaged in actions
saḥ kiṁcit ( karma) na karōti ēva - he is like having not performed any action
||Sloka summary ||

"Having given up fruits of action, being always satisfied, and free possessions,
though one is engaged in actions, he is like having not performed any action." ||20||

Here, three important characteristics have been told.
- giving up fruits of action
- being always satisfied,
- being free of possession or ownership

The one with these three characteristics is free from any taint of action performed, since he has given up on the fruits of action.
Since he is always satisfied, he has no concern of happiness or sorrow out of the actions performed.
Since he is free of possession or ownership, he is free from such concerns.
It is as though he has not performed any action even if he performs one.

|| Sloka 21||

nirāśīryata cittātmā tyakta sarva parigrahaḥ |
śārīraṁ kēvalaṁ karma kurvannāpnōti kilbiṣam|| 21 ||

sa|| nirāśīḥ yatacittātmā tyakta sarva parigrahaḥ śārīraṁ kēvalaṁ karma kurvan kilbiṣam ( pāpaṁ) na āpnōti ||21||

||Sloka meanings||

nirāśīḥ yatacittātmā - the one without craving, the one with his mind and body organs under his control
tyakta sarva parigrahaḥ - one who has given up all possessions
śārīraṁ kēvalaṁ karma kurvan - though performing actions with his body
kilbiṣam ( pāpaṁ) na āpnōti - does not incur sin

||Sloka summary ||

"The one without craving, the one with his mind and body organs under his control
one who has given up all possessions, though performing actions with his body does not incur sin." ||21||

Here also three characteristics are mentioned.
- one without craving,
- one whose mind and body organs are under control,
- who has renounced all possessions.
Such a person though involved in action, since he has no craving for the fruits, he remains unattached. Since his mind is under control the resulting actions do not give him sorrow or happiness. Since he renounced all possessions, the possibility of his acquiring possessions and bondages also vanishes. So he does not incur any sin.

Such a one, as above, may be doing action for welfare of the community then also in spite of that action he is free from bondage of that action. On the other hand such a one being already aware of Brahman is no longer concerned with action, but may be doing Karma for maintaining the body by accepting alms. Even then he still remains free of bondage of action.

||Sloka 22||

yadr̥ccālābhasaṁtuṣṭhō dvandvātītō vimatsaraḥ |
samaḥ siddhāvasiddhau ca kr̥tvāpi na nibadhyatē || 22||

sa||yadr̥ccālābhasaṁtuṣṭaḥ dvandva atītaḥ vimatsaraḥ siddhau asiddhau ca samaḥ kr̥tvā api saḥ na nibadhyatē ||22||

||Sloka meanings||

yadr̥ccālābhasaṁtuṣṭaḥ - one who is happy with what is gained by chance
dvandva atītaḥ vimatsaraḥ - one who is free of dualities and free of jealousy
siddhau asiddhau ca samaḥ- one who is equipoised in success and failure
kr̥tvā api saḥ na nibadhyatē - even when he performs actions he is not bound by the same

||Sloka summary ||

"One who is happy with what is gained by chance,
one who is free of dualities and free of jealousy,
one who is equipoised in success and failure,
is not bound even when he performs actions." ||22||

Here, Krishna clarifies who is not bound by any actions he performs.
- One who is happy with what is gained by chance.
- One who is free of dualities and free of jealousy.
- One who is equipoised in success and failure.

Continuing the thread of that enlightened one, Krishna says the enlightened one is contented with what comes to him by chance, being free of the dualities of happiness and sorrow, being without jealousy, and not being concerned with favored results etc., and being able to maintain equanimity at all times. Thus he is not bound by the results of actions.

Such an enlightened one is free from Karma. He attains liberation.

||Sloka 23||

gatasaṅgasya muktasya jñānāvasthitacētasaḥ |
yajñāyācarataḥ karma samagraṁ pravilīyatē || 23||

sa|| gata saṅgasya muktasya jñānāvasthita cētasaḥ yajñāya ācarataḥ karma samagraṁ pravilīyatē ||23||

||Sloka meanings||

gata saṅgasya muktasya - one without attachments, one who is free from bondages
jñānāvasthita cētasaḥ - one whose mind is steeped in knowledge
yajñāya ācarataḥ karma - performs action of sacrifice (to please gods)
samagraṁ pravilīyatē - that action is fully dissolved in the sacrificial act

||Sloka summary ||

"One without attachments, one who is free from bondages,
one whose mind is steeped in knowledge, performs action of sacrifice to please gods
that action is fully dissolved in the sacrificial act." ||23||

Here, Krishna is talking about one whose Karma gets dissipated, leaving him free.
One may wonder who is that man performing Karma, but free from Karma and how does his Karma dissipate making him attain liberation.

Krishna elaborates the characteristics of such a devotee.
- He is the one without attachment to anything,
- He is the one who is free, freed from the distortions of desire and anger,
- he is the one whose mind is absorbed in the knowledge of Self.

The Karma, which was done to please the Lord, by such a devotee is dissolved, keeping him free of bondage of Karma.

That Karma is dissolved because the devotee is free of attachment for that action. because he is free from distortions of desire and anger, and because with his mind absorbed in the knowledge of Self, he truly has no interest in the karma or its results.

That karma may be karma done to please the Lord or it may be Karma done for community welfare. But the result is same.

Krishna in this process has elaborated on the Sacrifice is nothing but actions done to please God.

Sacrifice is a primary act in Vedas. In Vedas it is defined as an action of great discipline. In the Sacrifice there are several important actors and actions. The one with the intent to perform the sacrifice, the four priests performing sacrifice, the sacrificial offering, the sacrificial fire into which offerings are placed, are all very important. The offering is placed in the sacrificial fire and is consumed by the fire. Fire is symbolically considered as the one carrying the offering to the gods on behalf of the one who initiated the sacrifice. The gods accept the sacrificial offering and in turn they please the performer of the sacrifice with his wishes. This is described in Vedas as a detailed process. The process must be adhered to very rigorously. If not performed properly the sacrifice may face inordinate difficulties. We have greatest of the Kings Dasaratha himself saying so, telling his ministers to take all care before undertaking the Sacrifice he is performing for being favored with children. Such sacrifices are indeed not in the realm of common people. Even putting together the material to perform sacrifice is difficult for a common man. In that context Krishna has redefined the Sacrifice as simply an act to please God. An act to please God by anybody without the need for the four priests to perform the sacrifice.

The key items of a Sacrifice being the offering, and the fire, Krishna redefines the offerings for the god and the symbolic fire into which the offerings go for fulfilment. Thus this is a new meaning for sacrifice, which is within the reach of everyone from a king to the layman. It is within the reach of men and women. The highly educated and the commoner, the rich and the poor, as well as those belonging to all the four castes.

The various types of sacrifices are detailed in the following Slokas.

||Sloka 24||

brahmārpaṇam brahmahaviḥ brahmagnau brahmaṇā hutam |
brahmaiva tēna gantavyaṁ brahmakarmasamādhinā || 24 ||

sa|| (yajñē) arpaṇaṁ brahma | haviḥ brahma | brahmagnau brahmaṇā hutaṁ brahma ēva | brahma karma samādhinā tēna gantavyaṁ brahma ēva ||24||

||Sloka meanings||

(yajñē) arpaṇaṁ brahma - the ladle of offering is brahman
haviḥ brahma - offering is Brahman
brahmagnau - the fire is Brahman
brahmaṇāhutaṁ brahma ēva - the act of offering too is Brahman
brahma karma samādhinā - the one who concentrates on the act of Brahman
tēna gantavyaṁ brahma ēva - the place to be reached by him too is Brahman

||Sloka summary ||

"The ladle of offering is Brahman. The offering is Brahman. The fire is Brahman.
The act of offering too is Brahman.
The one who concentrates on the act of Brahman and the place to be reached by him too is Brahman." ||24||

Everything in the act of sacrifice is imbued with Brahman. The one who performs sacrifice, with that feeling of Brahman everywhere, reaches the ultimate place of Brahman.

The one who is free from attachments, who is free from the distortions of desire and anger, whose mind is absorbed in the knowledge of Self is one who has realized Brahman. The act of such a one to please the God is itself a Sacrifice, though without the paraphernalia of a Sacrifice including arpanas, homa, or the materials for Homa, or a formal Karta or doer of the Homa.
He sees the instruments used in Sacrifice themselves as Brahman,
He sees the oblation poured into the fire as Brahman
He sees the fire as Brahman, and the one conducting the fire as Brahman,
The fruit obtained by such one is also Brahman.

The sacrifice of such a one, which is in essence an act to please the God, is called the sacrifice of Knowledge.
Here in this sacrifice of the knowledge seeker the doer, the act, the action of doing that all are seen as Brahman.

Thus Krishna defined the act of pleasing God by a realized soul as Sacrifice, more specifically as a Sacrifice of knowledge. Till then the act of 'Sacrifice' of 'Yagnya' is the most important act defined in the Vedas. All intricacies in performing the 'Sacrifice' are detailed in Brahmanas of Vedas. Such a sacrifice with all paraphernalia is beyond the reach of many. Here, Krishna defined a sacrifice devoid of all Vedic karma, free of rituals, free 'arpanas', free of 'ahuti', free of all processes. He called that Sacrifice, a Sacrifice of Knowledge. It is essentially a Sacrifice embedded in Knowledge.

While this "Sacrifice embedded in knowledge is free of Vedic rituals, it is still beyond all normal people. Even this is still available to only the most accomplished of the seekers of Brahman. So, as though to simplify the process of Sacrifice further, Krishna defines several other forms of worship to please God. Each of which is also another form of Sacrifice.

Krishna already stated that "Sacrifice' as acts to please God, with no links to fruits of that action. There are many ways to please the God. Krishna in this discourse details twelve of them.

||Sloka 25||

daivamēvāparē yajñaṁ yōginaḥ paryupāsatē |
brahmāgnāvaparē yajñaṁ yajñēnaivōpajuhvati || 25||

sa|| aparē yōginaḥ yajñaṁ daivaṁ paryupāsatē |aparē yajñēnaiva yajñam brahmagnau upajuhvati ||25||

||Sloka meanings||

aparē yōginaḥ - some Yogis
daivaṁ yajñaṁ ēva paryupāsatē - offer sacrifice to gods alone
aparē yajñēnaiva yajñam - others offer Self itself as Sacrifice
brahmagnau upajuhvati - in the fire of Brahman

||Sloka summary ||

"Some Yogis offer sacrifice to gods alone.
others offer Self itself as Sacrifice in the fire of Brahman." ||25||

Here two types of sacrifices have been defined.

First one is that some offer sacrifice to Gods. While saying some offer sacrifice to Gods, the sacrifice offered is the worship they conduct. The worship conducted is treated as the offering consumed in the devotion of the offering devotee.

The second one is Brahma Yajnya. This is about offering Self as the offering, consumed in the fire of knowledge of Brahman.

||Sloka 26||

śrōtrādīnīndriyāṇyanyē saṁyamāgniṣu juhvati |
śabdādīnviṣayānanya indriyāgniṣu juhvati || 26||

sa|| anyē śrōtrādīni indriyāṇi saṁyama agniṣu juhvati |anya śabdādīn viṣayān indriyāgniṣu juhvati ||26||

||Sloka meanings||

anyē śrōtrādīni indriyāṇi - some offer ear and other organs
saṁyama agniṣu juhvati - in the fire of self-control
anya śabdādīn viṣayān - some others offer sense objects like sound
indriyāgniṣu juhvati - in the fire of senses

||Sloka summary ||

"Some offer ear and other organs in the fire of self-control.
Some others offer sense objects like sound in the fire of senses ". ||26||
.

Here two types of sacrifice are defined.

First is the offering of the sense organs. These sense organs are offered into a fire of restraint. The act of sense organs being restrained from objects, is the sacrifice. Thus the practice of restraint of organs itself is treated as a sacrifice.

For the Seekers of liberation, the restraint of organs is literally the first step.
Krishna made that restraint itself as a sacrifice.

The second Sacrifice defined is the restraint of sense objects.

The senses keep roaming about the sense objects. Realizing the defects in those objects, the desire for those objects is to be renounced. If not renounced the senses keep running towards them. If we do not renounce the desires, with the senses continuing their forays, the mind will have no peace. Only when the objects are renounced, one is able to achieve peace and stabilize his mind, leading to the knowledge of Self. So the practice of restraint of sense objects is also one more step in the process of liberation. This has been made into a sacrifice itself.

||Sloka 27||

sarvāṇīndriyakarmāṇi prāṇakarmāṇi cāparē |
ātmasaṁyamayōgāgnau juhvati jñānadīpitē || 27 ||

sa|| aparē sarvāṇi iṁdriyakarmāṇi prāṇa karmāṇi ca jñānadīpitē ātma saṁyama agnau juhvati ||27||

||Sloka meanings||
aparē sarvāṇi iṁdriyakarmāṇi - all the activities of sense organs
prāṇa karmāṇi ca - as well as the activities of vital airs
jñānadīpitē- lighted by the fire of knowledge
ātma saṁyama agnau juhvati - offered in the fire of Self-control ||Sloka summary ||

"Some others offer all the activities of sense organs, as well as the activities of vital airs,
as the offerings in the fire of Self-control, lighted by the fire of knowledge." ||27||

Here, the sacrifice is the restraint of the mind.

The mind is like horses without control. The control of senses as well as sense objects is possible with the control of mind only. To bring the mind under control, the intellect which is in a higher plane, has to be used to bring mind under control. This control of mind is itself presented as a sacrifice.

||Sloka 28||

dravya yajñā tapō yajñā yōga yajñāstathāparē |
svādhyāya jñānayajñaśca yatayaḥ saṁśitavratāḥ || 28 ||

sa|| aparē dravya yajñāḥ aparē tapō yajñā aparē yōga yajñā tathā aparē svādhyāya jñāna yajñā | tē yatayaḥ saṁśita vratāḥ ||28||

||Sloka meanings||

aparē dravya yajñāḥ - some others perform sacrifice of materials
aparē tapō yajñā - some others sacrifice their penance
aparē yōga yajñā - some other sacrifice their Yoga
aparē svādhyāya jñāna yajñā - some others through study and through knowledge
tē yatayaḥ - those diligent ones
saṁśita vratāḥ - perform with severe discipline

||Sloka summary ||

"Some others perform sacrifice of materials. Some others sacrifice their penance.
Some other sacrifice their Yoga. Some others through acts of study and through knowledge as sacrifice.
Those diligent ones perform sacrifices with severe discipline". ||28||

Here four more sacrifices were mentioned.

Material sacrifice is the sacrifice of materials using their wealth.

Sacrifice of penance is performing penance as a form of Sacrifice.

Yoga sacrifice is people treat performing yoga with its sub-disciplines of Yama and Niyama as Sacrifice

Yoga of study and knowledge is the study of scriptures as a sacrifice.

Studying a scripture, as well as writing a scripture also qualify as sacrifices here.
One may take up any of these activities as a form of sacrifice.

||Sloka 29||

apānē juhvati prāṇaṁ prāṇē'pānaṁ tathā'parē |
prāṇāpāna gatīruddhvā prāṇāyāmaparāyaṇāḥ || 29 ||

sa|| prāṇāyāmaparāyaṇāḥ aparē prāṇāpāna gatī ruddhvā apānē prāṇaṁ tathā prāṇē apānam juhvati ||29||

||Sloka meanings||

prāṇāyāmaparāyaṇāḥ aparē - those who are well versed in the Pranayama
prāṇāpāna gatī ruddhvā - having controlled the paths of Prana and Apana
apānē prāṇaṁ tathā prāṇē apānam juhvati -sacrifice the Apana in the Prana, and Prana in the Apana
- .

||Sloka summary ||

"Those who are well versed in the Pranayama, having controlled the paths of Prana and Apana
sacrifice the Apana in the Prana, and Prana in the Apana." ||29||

Here, the practice of Pranayama is treated as a sacrifice.

||Sloka 30||

aparē niyatāhāraḥ prāṇān prāṇēṣu juhvati |
sarvē'pyētē yajñavidō yajñakṣapita kalmaṣāḥ ||30||

sa|| aparē niyatāhāraḥ prāṇān prāṇēṣu juhvati | ētē sarvē api yajñavidaḥ yajña kṣapita kalmaṣāḥ ||30||

||Sloka meanings||

aparē niyatāhāraḥ - some with restraint on food
prāṇān prāṇēṣu juhvati - offer the vital airs in vital airs
ētē sarvē api yajñavidaḥ - All these people know the sacrifice
yajña kṣapita kalmaṣāḥ - they are the one with their sins destroyed by the sacrifices.

||Sloka summary ||

"Some with restraint on food offer the vital airs in vital airs. All these people know the sacrifices.
They are the one with their sins destroyed by the sacrifices." ||30||

In all these sacrifices, the one who is performing the sacrifice is noted as one who has firm conviction about the task one takes up. The performers of these sacrifices have their sins destroyed by the sacrifices.

Thus in this discourse Krishna detailed twelve types of Sacrifices which are summarized here.

1 Daiva Yajnya: A sacrifice focused on worshiping. It is simply worshipping God with intensity of purpose. That worship itself is treated as Yagnya.

2 Brahma Yajnya: A sacrifice focused on philosophic enquiry. Through enquiry and purification making the mind be absorbed in Brahman. This enquiry and pursuit of Brahman itself is the Yagnya.

3 Indriya Samyama Yajnya: A sacrifice focusing on the control of sensory organs. The control of sense organs is a first step to achieve liberation- Focusing on sense controls itself is a Yagnya or sacrifice.

4 Sabdadi Vishaya Nirodha Yajnya: A sacrifice focusing on not getting into worldly affairs. The sensory organs move about and get absorbed in various issues that are heard. Enquiry and rejection of the faulty issues so that the sensory organs are not diverted is the Yagnya. When the diversion of sensory organs on unrelated issues is stopped the mind acquires a tranquility and peace. Which leads to liberation.

5 Mano Nigraha Yajnya: A sacrifice focusing on control of mind. In the hierarchy of human faculties Sensory organs at a higher level than body. But the mind is at a higher level than sensory organs. Both the Indriya Samyama Yagnya controlling the sense organs and the Sabdaadi Vishaya nirodha Yagnya controlling the sensory organs dwelling on sundry issues requires the mind to control them. To control mind is the activity of Intellect which is at higher level. The practice of controlling mind itself is taken as activity and treated as a Yajnya.

6 Dravya Yajnya: A sacrifice focused on using one's wealth in charity is also a Yagnya.

7 Tapo Yajnya: A sacrifice focused on penance as an activity to get the control of sensory organs etc

8 Yoga Yajnya: A sacrifice focused on Yoga. This is the Ashtanga yoga as Yajnya.

9 Svadhyaa Yajnya: A sacrifice focused on self-study. Study of Vedas and Upanishads,

10 Gnyana Yajnya: A sacrifice focused on study, assimilation of Vedas and Upanishads as well as practicing the learnings.

11 Pranayama Yajnya: Practicing Pranayama as a Yagnya

12 Ahara Niyama Yajnya: Practicing tight dietary control as form of sacrifice.

It can be seen that all the twelve Yagnyas mentioned about requires consistent effort of some form with dedication.
Doing that with commitment and severity of purpose is their Yagnya or sacrifice.

This is a novel way of defining the Yajnya.

The Yagnyas defined in Vedas through Samhita and Brahmanas bear no resemblance to this description of Yajnya. Thus Krishna in this discourse has simplified the ritual of Yajnya requiring priests and following Vedic chants, which is way beyond a common man, to a process which is well within the means of an ordinary man with an intent.

People who take up these sacrifices have strong conviction about the sacrifices they offer.

||Sloka 31||

yajñaśiṣṭāmr̥ta bhujō yānti brahma sanātanam|
nāyaṁ lōkō'styayajñasya kutō'nyaḥkurusattama || 31||

sa|| hē kurusattama ! yajñaśiṣṭhā mr̥tabhujaḥ sanātanam brahma yānti | ayajñasya ayaṁ lōkaḥ nāsti | anyaḥ kutaḥ ||31||

||Sloka meanings||

yajñaśiṣṭhā mr̥tabhujaḥ - those who partake in the ambrosial remains of a sacrifice
sanātanam brahma yānti - attain eternal Brahman
ayajñasya ayaṁ lōkaḥ nāsti - those who do not perform Sacrifice have no place in this world
anyaḥ kutaḥ - where is another?

||Sloka summary ||'

"Those who partake in the ambrosial remains of a sacrifice attain eternal Brahman.
O best of Kurus, those who do not perform Sacrifice have no place in this world, where is another?" ||31||

'yajñaśiṣṭhāśinaḥ' means those who partake in the ambrosial remains of the Sacrifice. It is part of the process of Sacrifice in the original sense of a Sacrifice with sacrificial paraphernalia. In the context of Sacrifices defined by Krishna, the ambrosial remains of the sacrifice are nectar equivalent of peace. The one performing these sacrifices achieves peace. Those who do not perform such sacrifices does not attain the peace in this world. There is no question of attaining peace in the other world. That is the import of this Sloka.

||Sloka 32||

ēvaṁ bahuvithā yajñā vitatā brahmaṇō mukhē |
karmajān viddhi tān sarvān ēvaṁ jñātvā vimōkṣyasē || 32||

sa|| ēvam bahuvithāḥ yajñāḥ brahmaṇaḥ mukhē vitatāḥ | tān sarvān karmajān vitthi |ēvaṁ jñātvā vimōkṣyasē ||32||

||Sloka meanings ||

ēvam bahuvithāḥ yajñāḥ - thus various kinds of sacrifice
brahmaṇaḥ mukhē vitatāḥ - have been elaborated in Vedas
tān sarvān karmajān vitthi - know them all to be born of action
ēvaṁ jñātvā vimōkṣyasē - knowing thus you will be liberated

||Sloka summary ||

"Thus various kinds of sacrifice have been elaborated in Vedas. Know them all to be born of action.
Knowing thus you will be liberated." ||32||

Many sacrifices have been detailed in Vedas. They are all born of action, both physical, oral, and mental. Knowing the actions namely the ordained, prohibited and inactions, and performing sacrificial actions one attains Moksha.

||Sloka 33||

śrēyān dravyamayādyajñā jñānayajñaḥ parantapa |
sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ pārtha jñānē parisamāpyatē || 33||

sa|| hē parantapa ! dravyamayāt yajñāt jñāna yajñaḥ śrēyān | hē pārtha ! sarvaṁ karma akhilam jñānē parisamāpyatē ||33||

||Sloka meanings||

jñāna yajñaḥ śrēyān - Sacrifice of Knowledge is better
dravyamayāt yajñāt - than the material oriented Sacrifice
hē pārtha ! sarvaṁ karma akhilam - O Partha , all actions in their totality
jñānē parisamāpyatē - culminate in Knowledge

||Sloka summary ||

"Sacrifice of Knowledge is better than the material-oriented Sacrifice.
O Partha, all actions in their totality culminate in Knowledge" ||33||

Having detailed many types of Sacrifices, Krishna sets aside Jnyana Yajnya as better than Dravya Yagnya.
The Jnyana Yajnya is the sacrifice based on study, assimilation, and practice of Upanishads. The Dravya Yagnya is the sacrifice based on using one's wealth for charity. The Jnyana Yagnya includes assimilation of knowledge of Upanishads. The assimilated knowledge is never destroyed and remains with the doer.

The Dravya Yagnya means being involved in charity and obtaining the delight of charity. With the delight itself as the ultimate result of charity and not pursuing any other fruit through that charity, one is indeed performing Nishkama karma. That leads to freeing up of mind and thereafter comes liberation. The action in Dravya Yagnya is the charity. In the action of charity, charity dissolves once it is completed, though delight remains with the doer.

In Jnyana Yagnya the action is acquisition of knowledge. The acquired knowledge remains with the one practicing the Jnyana Yagnya. That is the point Krishna is making.

If Jnyana Yagnya is better than how to acquire that Jnyana/knowledge? Krishna elaborates.

||Sloka 34||

tadviddhi praṇi pātēna paripraśnēna sēvayā |
upadēkṣyanti tē jñānaṁ jñāninaḥ tattva darśinaḥ || 34 ||

sa|| tat jñānaṁ praṇipātēna paripraśnēna sēvayā viddhi | tattva darśinaḥ jñāninaḥ tē upadēśyanti ||34||

||Sloka meanings||

tat jñānaṁ viddhi - know that knowledge
praṇipātēna - by prostrating
paripraśnēna- by asking searching questions
sēvayā viddhi - by service
tattva darśinaḥ - those who have known the truth
jñāninaḥ tē upadēśyanti - the knowers will teach you

||Sloka summary ||

"Know that knowledge by prostrating, by asking searching questions, and by service.
the knowers, who have known the truth, will teach you."||34||

Krishna has a very simple answer for how one may acquire the knowledge.
- By seeking out a master and prostrating before him.
- By querying the Guru with respect.
- By performing services.

How to find a master, to whom we perform services?
Krishna answers that also. Masters are people of Knowledge and having the experience of Brahman

Who can acquire the knowledge from the Master?
- the ones who has the focus.
- the one who live in that purpose
- the one who conquered the sensory organs.

||Sloka 35||

yat jñātvā na punarmōhamēvaṁ yāsyasi pāṇḍava |
yēna bhūtānyaśēṣēṇa drakṣyasyātmanyathō mayi || 35||

sa|| hē pāṇḍava ! yat jñātvā punaḥ ēvam mōham na yāsyasi yēna bhūtāni aśēṣēṇa atmani athō mayi drakṣyasi ( tat jñānam viddhi !)

||Sloka meanings||

yat jñātvā punaḥ - knowing which again
ēvam mōham na yāsyasi - you will not get into this delusion
yēna bhūtāni aśēṣēṇa atmani - by which you can see all being in the Self
athō mayi drakṣyasi - and also in Me
(Know such knowledge)

||Sloka summary ||

" O Pandava, know that by which again you will not get into this delusion, by which you can see all being in the Self
and also in Me." ||35||

Krishna is thus highlighting the greatness of knowledge.

||Sloka 36||

api cēdapi pāpēbhyaḥ sarvēbhyaḥ pāpakr̥ttamaḥ |
sarvaṁ jñānaplavēnaiva vr̥jinaṁ saṁtariṣyasi || 36||

sa|| sarvēbhyaḥ pāpēbhyaḥ pāpakr̥ttamaḥ api cēt api sarvaṁ vr̥jinam ( pāpam) jñānaplavēnaiva saṁtariṣyasi ||36||

||Sloka meanings||

sarvēbhyaḥ pāpēbhyaḥ - among all sinners
pāpakr̥ttamaḥ api cēt - even if (you are) the excessive perpetrator of sins
sarvaṁ vr̥jinam ( pāpam) - all those sins
jñānaplavēnaiva saṁtariṣyasi - will cross over with the raft of knowledge

||Sloka summary ||

"Even if you are the excessive perpetrator of sins among all sinners,
you will cross over all those sins with the raft of knowledge." ||36||

This is the greatness of knowledge. Whatever sins one may have committed, the acquisition of knowledge takes one across the proverbial ocean of life.

||Sloka 37||

yathaithāṁsi samiddhō'gniḥ bhasmasātkurutē'rjuna|
jñānāgni sarvakarmāṇi bhasmasātkurutē tathā || 37||

sa|| hē arjunā ! samiddhaḥ agniḥ ēthāṁsi yathā bhasmasāt tathā jñānāgniḥ sarvakarmāṇi bhasmasāt kurutē ||37||

||Sloka meanings||

samiddhaḥ agniḥ - ( just as) blazing fire
ēthāṁsi yathā bhasmasāt - turns the piece of wood to ashes
tathā jñānāgniḥ - similarly the fire of knowledge
sarvakarmāṇi bhasmasāt kurutē - consumes all actions

||Sloka summary ||

" Just as a blazing fire turns the piece of wood to ashes,
similarly the fire of knowledge consumes all actions." ||37||

Knowledge destroys all ignorance.

||Sloka 38||

na hi jñānēna sadr̥śaṁ pavitramiha vidyatē |
tat svayaṁ yōgasaṁsiddhaḥ kālēnātmani viṁdati|| 38 ||

sa|| iha jñānēna sadr̥śaṁ pavitraṁ na vidyatē hi | tat yōgasaṁsiddhiḥ kālēna ātmani svayam viṁdati ||38||

||Sloka meanings||

jñānēna sadr̥śaṁ pavitraṁ - (something) as purifying and equal to knowledge
iha na vidyatē hi - is not there in this world
tat kālēnayōgasaṁsiddhiḥ - The one who attained the Yoga after time
ātmani svayam viṁdati - acquires the same in his own heart

||Sloka summary ||

"Nothing as purifying and equal to knowledge is there in this world.
The one who attained the Yoga after time acquires the same in his own heart" ||38||

Knowledge is Supreme. There is nothing else as pure as knowledge. Having acquired knowledge one enjoys the results in due course.

There are many things pure in the world. But there is nothing equal to knowledge. Knowledge is the purest element.

This knowledge is available only by own effort
Where does this knowledge arise?
It arises in the self.
What does this knowledge do?
It destroys the ignorance and doubts.

The relationship of knowledge and time is that one enjoys the results as time progresses.
Who can acquire the knowledge? Krishna clarifies again.

||Sloka 39||

śraddhvān labhatē jñānaṁ tatparaḥ saṁyatēndriyaḥ|
jñānaṁ labdhvā parāṁ śāntiṁ acirēṇādhigacchati|| 39 ||

sa|| śraddhavān tatparaḥ saṁyatēṁdriyaḥ jñānaṁ labhatē |jñānam labdhvā parām śāṁtim acirēṇa adhigaccati ||39||

||Sloka meanings||

śraddhavān tatparaḥ saṁyatēṁdriyaḥ -
one with faith, one who is intent on That, the one who has controlled his sense organs
jñānaṁ labhatē - attains knowledge
jñānaṁ labdhvā - Having acquired knowledge
parāṁ śāntiṁ acirēṇa adhigaccati - attains great peace very soon

||Sloka summary ||

"One with faith, one who is intent on That, the one who has controlled his sense organs attains knowledge.
Having acquired knowledge one attains great peace very soon." ||39||

||Sloka 40||

ajñaścāśraddhadhānaśca saṁśayātmā vinaśyati |
nāyaṁ lōkō'sti na parō na sukhaṁ saṁśayātmanaḥ ||40||

sa|| ajñaśca aśraddhadhānaśca saṁśayātmā vinaśyati |saṁśayātmā ayaṁ lōkaḥ nāsti | paraṁ na | sukhaṁ api nāsti ||40||

||Sloka meanings||

ajñaśca aśraddhadhānaśca - ignorant and the one without faith
saṁśayātmā vinaśyati - one with doubts will perish
saṁśayātmā ayaṁ lōkaḥ nāsti - the one with doubts does not have this world
paraṁ na - not the other world too
sukhaṁ api nāsti - happiness is also not there

||Sloka summary ||

"Ignorant one, the one without faith, and the one with doubts will perish. The one with doubts does not have this world, nor the other world too. Happiness is also not there." ||40||

||Sloka 41||

yōgasannyastakarmāṇāṁ jñānasaṁchinnasaṁśayam |
ātmavaṁtaṁ na karmāṇi nibadhnaṁti dhanaṁjaya || 41 ||

sa|| hē dhanaṁjayā ! yōgasanyasta karmāṇam jñānasaṁcchinna saṁśayam ātma vantaṁ karmāṇi na nibadhnaṁti ||41||

||Sloka meanings||

yōgasanyasta karmāṇam - one who renounced action through Yoga
jñānasaṁcchinna saṁśayam - one who demolished doubts with knowledge
ātma vantaṁ - one who is vigilant
karmāṇi na nibadhnaṁti - actions do not bind him

||Sloka summary ||

"O Dhananjaya, actions do not bind one who renounced action through Yoga,
who demolished doubts with knowledge, and who is vigilant." ||41||

The import of all these Slokas is the supremacy of Jnyana.
Key points may be summarized here,
- Acquiring of knowledge results in the destruction of confusion
- Acquiring the knowledge, the one who acquires sees himself in all the other beings, and all other beings in himself and the Bhagavan
- Acquiring that knowledge, even if one was sinner before, one would be able to cross the ocean of ignorance and reach the other shore of witnessing Brahman.
- Acquiring that knowledge burns the bondage of action to ashes and make him free.

Krishna has a last word on Jnyana:

||Sloka 42||

tasmādajñāna saṁbhūtaṁ hr̥tthsaṁ jñānāsinātmanaḥ |
citvainaṁ saṁśayaṁ yōgamātiṣṭhōttiṣṭha bhārata || 42||

sa|| hē bhārata ! tasmāt ātmanaḥ hr̥d stham ajñānasaṁbhūtam ēnaṁ saṁśayam jñānāsinā citvā yōgam ātiṣṭha ||42||

||Sloka meanings||
tasmāt ēnaṁ saṁśayam - hence this doubt
ātmanaḥ hr̥d stham - residing in your heart
ajñānasaṁbhūtam - born of ignorance
jñānāsinā citvā - destroy with the sword of knowledge
yōgam ātiṣṭha - arise and practice Yoga

||Sloak summary||

"O Bharata, hence destroy this doubt born of ignorance residing in your heart,
with the sword of knowledge. Arise and practice Yoga." ||42||

"Krishna is telling g Arjuna, that this doubt in your heart which is the result of ignorance, destroy that ignorance with the sword of knowledge. Use that tool to achieve Jnyana yoga, namely the tool of Nishkama karma. He urges Arjuna to arise and get going.

Thus Krishna proposes Jnyana as a sword to demolish ignorance.
That is the final word in Jnyana Yoga.

So what does the Jnyana Yoga tell us?

Man is involved in action from the time he gets up in the morning. If we ascribe every action as an offering to God then one is free from the bondage of action. All the sacrifices mentioned are within the realm of the individuals. We can pick up any one and pursue that as a single point of focus.

The Jnyana Yagnya is the best of all as stated by Krishna.

We should make efforts for acquiring that Jnyana.

|| ōm tat sat ||
"tasmādajñāna saṁbhūtaṁ hr̥tthsaṁ jñānāsinātmanaḥ |
citvainaṁ saṁśayaṁ yōgamātiṣṭhōttiṣṭha bhārata ||"
"Therefore "O Bharata! take recourse to Yoga and rise up cutting asunder with the sword of knowledge this doubt in your heart arising from ignorance"

||om tat sat ||