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Adhyaya 4 : Dnyn Karma Sanysa Yga


Nobody can avoid Karma. Even after one’s steady intellect remains non-attached he has to work. Knowledge frees your intellect from lust but not from your duty. Therefore the illuminated soul is obliged to work, ceaselessly. It is also necessary for the guidance of the common people., This was the purport of the 3rd Adhyya. The fourth Adhyya further strengthens what has been said about the path of action so far. What mental attitude the seeker of knowledge should adopt while performing various types of activities is the main theme of the fourth Adhyya.

Verses 1 to 8

Lord Krishna narrates the ancient lineage of the KarmaYga that he himself taught to various luminaries in succession but ultimately got lost and forgotten through the ages. Arjuna finds it hard to believe that Krishna was the first to teach this Yga to Vivaswat who was born long before him. In reply to Arjuna’s astonishment the Lord proclaims his Over lordship that appears in various incarnations at different times. He brings out the difference between His previous lives and those of Arjuna. Lord Krishna, being the master of Prakriti, He is not conditioned by Maya His mysterious power of creation and therefore has the knowledge of all his previous births. Whereas the animate and inanimate beings under the control of Maya have no such power and knowledge. Here comes the Gita’s most important doctrine that affirms the existence of one or more human incarnations of Godhead. These incarnations provide to the worshippers the scope for meditation to get the mercy of the Lord. Lord announces:

"When virtues decline and the evils flourish, I give myself birth to protect the good and destroy the sinners. In every age I appear for establishing righteousness.

Verses 9 to 12

Worship of the God Incarnate is the sure way to realisation. Knowledge of the divine births of the Lord and his wondrous tasks frees the man from rebirth and unites him with God. How does unmanifest, non-thinkable and changeless Brahman appear in human forms can only be understood through spiritual revelation and the God’s task once understood discloses the secret of non-attached work. Lust, fear, and anger run away from him. Purified by knowledge the man of wisdom takes shelter in the Lord and finally merges into Him.

The Lord declares

"In whatever form men worship Me I accept them as they are and their wish I grant them." Proclaiming this lofty principle the Lord announces the all-embracing approach of his divine will.

"Whatever path men travel is My path. It ultimately leads to Me."

However such farsighted and industrious human beings are very rare. Most of them worship gods and goddesses with desire of worldly success that can be gained quickly in this world.

Verses: 13 to 23

The Lord now explains how the world order is established by Him creating four types of duties that correspond to the different kinds of Guna and Karma. However he cautions to keep in mind that though he is their creator one should recognise Him as passive since natural qualities and tendencies a person possesses decide what duty he deserves. Thus He has no hand in establishing this social order. He has no desire for fruits as well hence the actions do not contaminate Him. The ancient seers who knew this secret could safely engage in action. Arjuna has just to follow this spirit and act.

If by renouncing actions alone one can attain Liberation then why one should get involved in any action at all? The Lord now tries to explain the true nature of ‘action’ as well as ‘inaction’................... That remains the most persistent and perplexing question even to the learned. One should know what kind of work to do, what kind of work to avoid and how to reach a state of calm detachment from the work because the real nature of work is hard to understand. Only the wise person can see inaction in action and action in inaction. Such a wise man is always busy in his works with his mind fixed in Brahman. What is action and what is inaction is determined by its binding power. By this definition one who acts without lust or scheming for the fruits of the act the seers call him wise. His actions get burnt in the fire of knowledge and thus they become inaction. He remains satisfied within his self. Outwardly though he acts it is as good as inaction. He remains contended with whatever is given by God. He is not troubled by opposites like pain and pleasure, gain and loss etc. He has no jealousy for anyone. He is not imprisoned by his actions. With all bonds broken and mind established in Brahman he performs the action in the spirit of Yadnya and gets his Karma destroyed in the fire of knowledge.

Lord Krishna defines the Yadnya spirit in which different modes of worship are adopted by human beings of different ability but equate them with Brahma Yadnya in which Brahman is the offering, the Brahman it- self is the ritual, sacrificial fire also is Brahman and the offerings are made by the Brahman, the offerer. As everything is the manifestation of Brahman all actions and things Naturally become Brahman. What is important is Brahman Consciousness in all matters. The Lord Krishna uses the Yadnya metaphor to describe various practices called, sadhanas to reach the Absolute.

Some yogis address their sacrifice to devas whereas some offer the sacrifice itself into the fire of Brahman meaning thereby that they offer their self into the fire of Brahman.

Some offer their hearing and other sense organs into the fire of self restraints whereas some others offer their sense objects into the fire of their senses . Some offer the actions and functions of their senses as also of their vital force in the fire of regular practice of self control where in knowledge burns every thing.

In addition there are others whose ways of worship are described thus: Some offer their worldly possessions by performing material sacrifice. Some offer their austerities or their Yoga practices whereas some others who have controlled their mind and who have observed hardest vows offer their studies and knowledge in their sacrifice. Some offer their physical and mental powers acquired through breath control by RajYoga practice. Some offer their energy into their vital breathing by observing strict fasting. All such types have the true knowledge of sacrifice. Thus who understand the real meanings of sacrificial worship burn their sins in them and eat the nectar like food left in the end and attain immortality and finally reach Eternal Brahman.

Thus by the universalisation of the Yadnya concept, the Lord brings into its fold the message that the sacrifice is not only necessary for personal salvation but also for the universal well being. Universal cycle constantly moves by the spirit of sacrifice only. In this world there is no place for him who does not perform some kind of sacrifice. Then what position he has in other world ?

Verses 33 to 42

The Lord concludes by glorifying Dnyn Yadnya, the sacrifice of knowledge where one’s intelligence is brought as the offering that gets purified in the fire of unitive knowledge burning out ignorance and where the residue emerges as pure wisdom. Compared to this, ritualistic sacrifice with material offerings stands too inferior. Lord proclaims:- In the sacrifice of knowledge all types of actions culminate into enlightenment.

"Remember oh! Dear Arjuna, the enlightened souls will instruct you this knowledge of the identity of Atman with the Absolute Brahman if you totally surrender to them, question them and serve them as a disciple." In these words the Lord assures Arjuna and showers praise on the unique character of this divine knowledge." This knowledge will tear out all the delusions and will make you to realize that the entire creation is present in your own Atman and in the Brahman as well." "With the vessel of this knowledge you will be able to cross all your sins even if you happen to be the foulest of the sinners." In this fire of knowledge all your Karmas will be burnt to ashes.

There is nothing more sacred than divine knowledge. Once an individual becomes perfect by practising spiritual discipline he attains this divine knowledge internally within his own heart.

The Lord explains one more requisite for attaining this supreme knowledge. Man of faith absorbed in devotion, equipoised by the sense control obtains it and at once attains supreme peace.

Whereas the ignorant, the faithless and the non believer meets his destruction. In this world as well as in the next world there is no place for such doubting characters. Happiness is not for them.

The Lord finally tells Arjuna the specific effects of the divine knowledge and practice of non attached action. By the knowledge his doubts are torn to pieces and by the practice of Yga he renounces all actions. Such a man of self-realisation can not be bound by any actions. Arjuna, therefore is advised to take the sword of knowledge and slice the doubts born out of his ignorance and engulfing his mind. Establishing himself in the Yga of non attached action he should get up (and fight the war.)

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