Shrimad Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 4

Jnana Karma Sanyasa Yoga {The Yoga of Knowledge & the Principles of Action}

Lord Shree Krishnas Supreme Guidance
Lord Shree Krishnas Supreme Guidance
Chapter 4

Shree Bhagavan said: I revealed this immortal Yoga to Vivasvan (Sun-God); Vivasvan conveyed it to Manu (his son); and Manu imparted it to (his son) Iksvaku. (1)

Thus, transmitted in succession from father to son, Arjuna, this Yoga remained known to the Rajarishis (royal sages). Through long lapse of time, this Yoga got lost to the world. (2)

The same ancient Yoga, which is the supreme secret, has this day been imparted to you by Me, because you are My devotee and friend. (3)

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 imparted this Yoga at the beginning of the creation? (4)

Shree Bhagavan said: Arjuna, you and I have passed through many births; I remember them all; you do not remember, O chastiser of foes. (5)

Though birthless and immortal and the Lord of all beings, I manifest Myself through My own Yogamaya (divine potency), keeping My nature (Prakrati) under control. (6)

Arjuna, whenever righteousness is on the decline, unrighteousness is in the ascendant, then I body Myself forth. (7)

For the protection of the virtuous, for the extirpation of evil-doers, and for establishing Dharma (righteousness) on a firm footing, I manifest Myself from age to age. (8)

Arjuna, My birth and activities are divine. He who knows this in reality is not reborn on leaving his body, but comes to Me. (9)

Completely rid of attachment, fear and anger, wholly absorbed in Me, depending on Me, and purified by the penance of wisdom, many have become one with Me even in the past. (10)

Arjuna, howsoever men seek Me, even so do I respond to them; for all men follow My path in every way. (11)

In this world of human beings, men seeking the fruition of their activities, worship the Gods; for success born of actions follows quickly. (12)

The four orders of society (viz., the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaishya and the Shudra) were created by Me, classifying them according to the Gunas predominant in each and apportioning corresponding duties to them; though the originator of this creation, know Me, the Immortal Lord, to be a non-doer. (13)

Since I have no craving for the fruit of actions, actions do not taint Me. Even he who thus knows Me in reality is not bound by actions. (14)

Having known thus, action was performed even by the ancient seekers for liberation; therefore, you also perform actions as have been performed by the ancients from antiquity. (15)

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 effects i.e., the shackles of karma. (16)

The truth about action must be known and the truth of inaction also must be known; even so, the truth about prohibited action (Vikarma) must be known. For, mysterious are the ways of action. (17)

He who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is wise among men; he is a Yogi, who has performed all actions. (18)

Even the wise call him a sage, whose undertakings are all free from desire and Sankalpa (thoughts of the world) and whose actions are burnt up by the fire of wisdom. (19)

He, who, having totally given up attachment to actions and their fruit, no longer depends on anything in the world, and is ever content, does nothing at all, though fully engaged in action. (20)

Having subdued his mind and body, and having given up all objects of enjoyment, free from craving, he who performs sheer bodily action, does not incur sin. (21)

Those content with whatever is received unsought, are free from jealousy and having transcended all dualities of life. Being equipoised in success and failure, such are not bound by their actions, even while performing all kinds of activities. (22)

They are released from the bondage of material attachments and their intellect is established in Divine Knowledge. Since they perform all actions as a sacrifice (to God), they are freed from all karmic reactions. (23)

For those who are completely immersed in God-consciousness, seeing Brahma everywhere; for whom the oblation is Brahma, the ladle with which it is offered is Brahma, the act of offering is Brahma, and the sacrificial fire is also Brahma. Such persons, who view everything as God, certainly attain Him. (24)

Other Yogis duly offer sacrifice only in the form of worship to Gods, while others perform sacrifice by offering the self by the Self itself in the fire of Brahma. (25)

Others offer as sacrifice their senses of hearing etc., into the fires of self-discipline. Other Yogis, again, offer sound and other objects of perception into the fires of the senses. (26)

Others sacrifice all the functions of their senses and the functions of the vital airs (Prana) into the fire of Yoga in the shape of self-control, kindled by wisdom. (27)

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. (28)

Other Yogis offer the act of exhalation into that of inhalation; even so, others the act of inhalation into that of exhalation. There are still others given to the practice of Pranayama (breath control), who, having regulated their diet and controlled the processes of exhalation and inhalation both, pour their vital airs into the vital airs themselves. All these have their sins consumed away by sacrifice and understand the meaning of sacrificial worship. (29-30)

For the Yogis who know the secret of sacrifice & engaging in it, they devour of its remnants like nectar, advance toward the Ultimate Truth. O best of the Kurus, those who perform no sacrifice find no happiness either in this world or the next. (31)

Many such forms of sacrifice have been set forth in detail in the 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). (32)

Sacrifice through Knowledge, is superior to sacrifice performed with material things. For all actions, O Parth; without exception culminate in Knowledge. (33)

Try to understand the true nature of that Knowledge by approaching seers of Truth. By humble inquiries, by rendering service, seek from them, those enlightened seers of Truth can impart to you that Knowledge. (34)

O Arjuna (O Pandava, the son of Pandu); when you have achieved enlightenment, ignorance will delude you no more. In the light of that knowledge, you will see the entire creation within Me (Lord Shree Krishna). (35)

Even if you were the most sinful of all sinners, this Knowledge alone would carry you, like a raft, across all your sins. (36)

For, as the blazing fire reduces the fuel to ashes, Arjuna, even so the fire of Knowledge turns all actions to ashes. (37)

In this world there is nothing as purifying as pure Divine Knowledge; he who has attained perfection through practice of yoga in course of time, automatically sees the light of Truth in oneself within the heart. (38)

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, through transcendental knowledge he immediately attains everlasting supreme peace. (39)

He who is ignorant, and is devoid of faith, and is skeptical, suffers a downfall. For the skeptical soul there is no happiness; neither in this world nor the world beyond. (40)

Arjuna, who has dedicated all his actions to God, those who renounce the ritualistic karma, dedicating their body, mind, and soul to God; whose doubts have been dispelled by Knowledge and who are situated in knowledge of the self, actions do not bind him. (41)

Therefore, with the sword of Knowledge of the self, cut into pieces this doubt born out of ignorance that has arisen in your heart. Take shelter in Karmayoga, and arise, stand up for the fight, O Arjuna (O Bharata, the descendant of Bharata). (42)