Jnana Karma Sannyasa Yoga

discourse iv

This discourse further explains the subject¬ matter of the third and describes the various kinds of sacrifice.

The Lord Said:
1. I expounded this imperishable yoga to Vivasvat; Vivasvat communicated it to Manu, and Manu to Ikshvaku.

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
इमंविवस्वतेयोगंप्रोक्तवानहमव्ययम् |
विवस्वान्मनवेप्राहमनुरिक्ष्वाकवेऽब्रवीत् || 1||


2. Thus handed down in succession, the royal sages learnt it; with long lapse of time it dwin-dled away in this world, O Parantapa.

एवंपरम्पराप्राप्तमिमंराजर्षयोविदु: |
स कालेनेहमहतायोगोनष्ट: परन्तप || 2||


3. The same ancient yoga have I expounded to thee today; for thou art My devotee and My friend, and this is the supreme mystery.

स एवायंमयातेऽद्ययोग: प्रोक्त: पुरातन: |
भक्तोऽसिमेसखाचेतिरहस्यंह्येतदुत्तमम् || 3||

The Lord Said:
8.To save the righteous, to destroy the wicked, and to re-establish Right, I am born from age to age.

परित्राणायसाधूनांविनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् |
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थायसम्भवामियुगेयुगे || 8||

Here is comfort for the faithful and affirmation of the truth that Right ever prevails. An eternal conflict between Right and Wrong goes on. Sometimes the latter seems to get the upper hand, but it is Right which ultimately prevails. The good are never destroyed, for Right-which is Truth-cannot perish; the wicked are destroyed, because Wrong has no independent existence. Knowing this let man cease to arrogate to himself authorship and eschew untruth, violence and evil. Inscrutable Providence-the unique power of the Lord-is ever at work. This in fact is avatara, incarnation. Strictly speaking there can be no birth for God.


9. He who knows the secret of this My divine birth and action is not born again, after leaving the body; he comes to Me, O Arjuna.

जन्मकर्म च मेदिव्यमेवंयोवेत्तितत्त्वत: |
त्यक्त्वादेहंपुनर्जन्मनैतिमामेतिसोऽर्जुन || 9||

For when a man is secure in the faith that Right always prevails, he never swerves therefrom, pursuing to the bitterest end and against serious odds, and as no part of the effort proceeds from his ego, but all is dedicated to Him, being ever one with Him, he is released from birth to death.


10. Freed from passion, fear and wrath, filled full with Me, relying on Me, and refined by the fiery ordeal of knowledge, many have become one with Me.

वीतरागभयक्रोधामन्मयामामुपाश्रिता: |
बहवोज्ञानतपसापूतामद्भावमागता: || 10||


11. In whatever way men resort to Me, even so do I render to them. In every way, O Partha, the path men follow is Mine.

येयथामांप्रपद्यन्तेतांस्तथैवभजाम्यहम् |
ममवर्त्मानुवर्तन्तेमनुष्या: पार्थसर्वश: || 11||

That is, the whole world is under His ordinance. No one may break God’s law with impunity. As we sow, so shall we reap. This law operates inexorably without fear or favour.

12. Those who desire their actions to bear fruit worship the gods here; for in this world of men the fruit of action is quickly obtainable.

काङ्क्षन्त: कर्मणांसिद्धिंयजन्तइहदेवता: | क्षिप्रंहिमानुषेलोकेसिद्धिर्भवतिकर्मजा || 12||

Gods, as indicated before, must not be taken to mean the heavenly beings of tradition, but whatever reflects the divine. In that sense man is also a god. Steam, electricity and the other great forces of Nature are all gods. Propitiation of these forces quickly bears fruit, as we well know, but it is short-lived. It fails to bring comfort to the soul and it certainly does not take one even a short step towards salvation.


13. The order of the four varnas was created by Me according to the different gunas and karma of each; yet know that though, therefore, author thereof, being changeless I am not the author.

चातुर्वर्ण्यंमयासृष्टंगुणकर्मविभागश: |
तस्यकर्तारमपिमांविद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम् || 13||


14. Actions do not affect Me, nor am I concerned with the fruits thereof. He who recog¬nizes Me as such is not bound by actions.

न मांकर्माणिलिम्पन्ति न मेकर्मफलेस्पृहा |
इतिमांयोऽभिजानातिकर्मभिर्न स बध्यते || 14||

For man has thus before him the supreme example of one who though in action is not the doer thereof. And when we are but instruments in His hands, where then is the room for arrogating responsibility for action?


18.Who sees inaction in action and action in inaction, he is enlightened among men, he is a yogi, he has done all he need do.

कर्मण्यकर्म य: पश्येदकर्मणि च कर्म य: |
स बुद्धिमान्मनुष्येषु स युक्त: कृत्स्नकर्मकृत् || 18||

The ‘action’ of him who, though ever active, does not claim to be the doer, is inaction; and the ‘inaction’ of him who, though out­wardly avoiding action, is always building castles in his own mind, is action. The enlightened man who has grasped the secret of action knows that no action proceeds from him, all proceeds from God and hence he selflessly remains absorbed in action. He is the true yogi. The man who acts self- fully misses the secret of action and cannot distin­guish between Right and Wrong. The soul’s natural progress is towards selflessness and purity and one might, therefore, say that the man who strays from the path of purity strays from selflessness. All actions of the selfless man are naturally pure.

19. He whose every undertaking is free from desire and selfish purpose, and he who has burnt all his actions in the fire of knowledge-such an one the wise call a pandita.

यस्यसर्वेसमारम्भा: कामसङ्कल्पवर्जिता: |
ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणंतमाहु: पण्डितंबुधा: || 19||

20. He who has renounced attachment to the fruit of action, who is ever content, and free from all dependence,-he, though immersed in action, yet acts not.

त्यक्त्वाकर्मफलासङ्गंनित्यतृप्तोनिराश्रय: |
कर्मण्यभिप्रवृत्तोऽपिनैवकिञ्चित्करोति स: || 20||

That is, his action does not bind him.


21. Expecting naught, holding his mind and body in check, putting away every possession, and going through action only in the body he incurs no stain.

निराशीर्यतचित्तात्मात्यक्तसर्वपरिग्रह: |
शारीरंकेवलंकर्मकुर्वन्नाप्नोतिकिल्बिषम् || 21||

The purest act, if tainted by ‘self’, binds. But when it is done in a spirit of dedication, it ceases to bind. When ‘self’ has completely subsided, it is only the body that works. For instance, in the case of a man who is asleep his body alone is working. A prisoner doing his prison tasks has surrendered his body to the prison authorities and only his body, therefore, works. Similarly, he who has voluntarily made himself God’s prisoner, does nothing himself. His body mechanically acts, the doer is God, not he. He has reduced him self to nothingness.


32. Even so various sacrifices have been described in the vedas; know them all to proceed from action; knowing this thou shalt be released.

एवंबहुविधायज्ञावितताब्रह्मणोमुखे |
कर्मजान्विद्धितान्सर्वानेवंज्ञात्वाविमोक्ष्यसे || 32||

Action here means mental, physical and spiritual action. No sacrifice is possible with¬out this triple action and no salvation with¬out sacrifice. To know this and to put the knowledge into practice is to know the secret of sacrifice. In fine, unless man uses all his physical, mental and spiritual gifts in the service of mankind, he is a thief unfit for Freedom. He who uses his intellect only and spares his body is not a full sacrificer. Unless the mind and the body and the soul are made to work in unison, they cannot be adequately used for the service of mankind. Physical, mental and spiritual purity is essential for the harmonious working. Therefore man should concentrate on developing, purifying, and turning to the best of all his faculties.

33. Knowledge-sacrifice is better, O-Parantapa, than material sacrifice, for all action which does not bind finds its consummation in Knowledge (jnana).

श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयाद्यज्ञाज्ज्ञानयज्ञ: परन्तप |
सर्वंकर्माखिलंपार्थज्ञानेपरिसमाप्यते || 33||

Who does not know that works of charity performed without knowledge often result in great harm? Unless every act, however nobel its motive, is informed with knowledge, it lacks perfection. Hence the complete fulfillment of all action is in knowledge.The order of the four varnas was created by Me according to the different gunas and karma of each; yet know that though, therefore, author thereof, being changeless I am not the author.


40. But the man of doubt, without knowledge and without faith, is lost; for him who is given to doubt there is neither this world nor that beyond, nor happiness.

अज्ञश्चाश्रद्दधानश्चसंशयात्माविनश्यति |
नायंलोकोऽस्ति न परो न सुखंसंशयात्मन: || 40||


41. He who has renounced all action by means of yoga, who has severed all doubt by means of knowledge-him self-possessed, no actions bind, O Dhananjaya!

योगसंन्यस्तकर्माणंज्ञानसञ्छिन्नसंशयम् |
आत्मवन्तं न कर्माणिनिबध्नन्तिधनञ्जय || 41||


42. Therefore, with the sword of self-realization sever thou this doubt, bred of ignorance, which has crept into thy heart! Betake thyself to yoga and arise, O Bharata!

तस्मादज्ञानसम्भूतंहृत्स्थंज्ञानासिनात्मन: |
छित्त्वैनंसंशयंयोगमातिष्ठोत्तिष्ठभारत || 42||

Thus ends the fourth discourse, entitled ‘Jnana karma sannyasa Yoga’ in the con¬verse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagavad Gita.