The Bhagvadgita

Chapter IV: Jnana Vibhaga Yoga(Yoga of Knowledge as well as the disciplines of Action and Knowledge)  

1                    Sri Bhagvan said: I taught this immortal Yoga to Vivaswan (Sun-god); Vivaswan conveyed it to Manu (his Son); and Manu imparted it to (his Son) Ikswaku.

2                    Thus handed down from father to son, Arjuna, this Yoga remained known to the Rajarsis (royal sages). By great efflux of time, however, it has more or less disappeared.

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                    Arjuna said: You are of recent origin, while the birth of Vivaswan dates back to remote antiquity. How, then, am I to understand that you taught at the beginning of creation?

5                    Sri Bhagavan said: Arjuna, you and I have passed through many births. I know them all, while you do not, O chastiser of foes.

6                    Though unborn and immortal, and also the Lord of all beings, I manifest Myself through My own Yogamaya (divine potency), keeping My Nature (Prakrti) under control.

7                    Arjuna, whenever there is decline of righteousness, and unrighteousness is in the ascendant, then I body Myself forth.

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

9                    Arjuna, My birth and activities are divine. He who knows this in reality does not take birth again on leaving his body, but attains Me.

10               Completely rid of passion, 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.

11               Arjuna, howsoever men approach Me, even so do I seek them; for all men follow My path from all sides.

12               In this mortal world, men seeking the fruition of their activities worship the gods; for success born of action follows quickly.

13               The four orders of society (viz., the Brahman, the Ksatriya, the Vaisya and Sudra) were created by Me classifying them according to their prenatal qualities and proportioning corresponding duties to them; though the author of this creation, know Me, the immortal Lord, to be a non-doer.

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.

15               Having known thus, action was performed even by the ancient seekers of salvation; therefore, do you also perform such actions as were performed by the ancients in the former times.

16               Even the wise are at a loss to know what is action and what is inaction. Therefore, I shall expound to you the truth about action, knowing which you will be freed from its evil effect (binding nature).

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

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

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

20               He, who, having totally given up attachment to actions and their fruits, has got over the dependence on the world, and is ever satisfied, does nothing at all, though he may be even engaged in action.

21               He, who has subdues his mind and body, has given up all objects of enjoyment and has no craving, -- performing sheer bodily action, such a person does not incur sin.

22               He, 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, -- such a Karmayogi, though acting, is not bound.

23               He, whose attachment has gone, whose mind is established in Knowledge, and who works for the sake of sacrifice, all actions of that liberated man melt away.

24               The sacrifice in which the ladle (with which the oblation is poured), etc., is Brahma, the oblation itself is Brahma, even so the act of pouring the same into the fire, which is again Brahma, by the sacrificer, who is himself Brahma, -- surely the goal to be reached by him, who is absorbed in such sacrifice as Brahma, is also Brahma (Absolute).

25               Other Yogis offer sacrifice in the shape of worship to the gods. Others pour into the fire of Brahma, the very sacrifice in the shape of the self, through the sacrifice known as the perception of identity.

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

27               Others sacrifice all the functions of their senses, and the functions of the vital airs, into the fires of Yoga, in the shape of self-control, which is kindled by wisdom.

28               Some perform sacrifice with material things, some offer sacrifice in the shape of penances, others sacrifice through the practice of Yoga, while some striving souls, observing austere vows, perform the sacrifice of wisdom, through the study of sacred texts.

29               Other Yogis offer the Prana breath into the Apana; even so, others, the Apana into the Prana. There are still others given to the practice of Pranayama (breath-control)

30               who having regulated their diet and controlled the course of both the Prana and Apana airs pour their life-breaths into life-breaths. All these have their sins destroyed by sacrifice and know the truth about sacrifice.

31               Arjuna, Yogis, who partake of the nectar in the form of the remains of sacrifice, attain the eternal Brahms. To the man who does not offer sacrifice, even this world is not happy; how then, can the other world be happy?

32               Many such forms of sacrifice have been set forth in detail through the mouth of the Vedas; know them all as begotten of the actions of body, mind and the senses. Thus, knowing the truth about them, you shall be freed from the bondage of Karma (through their practice).

33               Arjuna, sacrifice in the form of Knowledge is superior to sacrifice performed with material things. For all actions without exception culminate in Knowledge, O son of Kunti.

34               Attain this Knowledge by all means. If you prostrate yourself at the feet of the wise, render them all forms of service, and question them with a guileless heart, again and again, those wise seers of Truth will unfold that Knowledge to you.

35               Arjuna, acquiring that Knowledge, you will no more be subjected to delusion like this, and through it you will see all beings first in your own self, and then in Me (the Oversoul).

36               Even if you are the most sinful of all sinners, you will cross over all sin by the raft of Knowledge.

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

38               In this world, there is no purifier like Knowledge; he, who has attained purity of heart through practice of Karmayoga, automatically realizes it in the self in course of time.

39               He, who has fully controlled his senses, is exclusively devoted to spiritual practice and is full of faith, attains Knowledge; having gained Knowledge, he immediately attains supreme peace (in the form of God-Realization).

40               He, who lacks discrimination, is devoid of faith, and is possessed by doubt, is lost to the spiritual path. For the doubting soul in particular, there is neither this world nor the world beyond, nor even happiness.

41               Arjuna, he who has dedicated all his actions to God according to the spirit of Karmayoga, whose doubts have been dispelled by wisdom, and who is self-possessed, actions do not bind him.

42               Therefore, Arjuna, cutting asunder, with the sword of Knowledge, this doubt in your heart, born of ignorance, established yourself in Karmayoga (in the form of even-mindedness), and stand up for the fight.

Thus, in the Upanisad sung by the Lord, the science of Brahma, the scripture on Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krsna and Arjuna, ends the fourth chapter entitled “Jnana Vibhaga Yoga” (Yoga of Knowledge as well as the disciplines of Action and Knowledge)