Fourth discourse





*Tradition of Jnana-Yoga


The Blessed Lord said:


I taught this imperishable Yoga to Vivasvat; Vivasvat taught it to Manu; Manu taught it to Ikshvaku.



This, handed down thus in succession, the King-sages learnt. This Yoga, by long lapse of time, has been lost here, O harasser of foes.



That same ancient Yoga has been today taught to thee by Me, seeing that thou art My devotee and friend; for, this is the Supreme Secret.


*Divine Incarnations



Later is Thy birth, and prior the birth of Vivasvat; how am I to understand that Thou taughtest this Yoga in the beginning?


The Blessed Lord said:


Many births of Mine have passed, as well as of thine, O Arjuna; all these I know, thou knowest not, O harasser of foes.



Though I am unborn, of imperishable nature, and though I am the Lord of all beings, yet ruling over My own nature, I am born by My own Maya.


*The purpose of Divine Incarnation



Whenever there is a decay of religion, O Bharata, and an ascendency of irreligion, then I manifest Myself.


For what purpose? 


For the protection of the good, for the destruction of evil-doers, for the firm establishment of religion, I am born in every age.



Whoso knows thus My divine birth and action in truth is not born again on leaving this body; he comes to Me, O Arjuna.


*Jnana-Yoga is the sole means to moksha



Free from passion, fear and anger, absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, purified by the fire (tapas) of wisdom, many have reached My being.


*Divine dispensation of worldly benefits and salvation



Howsoever men approach Me, even so do I reward them; My path do men follow in all things, O son of Pritha.



They who long  after success in actions sacrifice here to the Gods; for, soon in this world of man accrues success from action.


*Caste as a divinely ordered human institution



The fourfold caste has been created by Me according to the distribution of energies and actions; though I am the author thereof, know Me as non-agent and immutable.


*Action without attachment does not bind the soul



Actions pollute Me not, nor have I a desire for the fruit of actions. He who knows Me thus is not bound by actions.



Thus knowing, men of old performed action in the hope of liberation; therefore do thou also perform action as did the ancients in the olden time.


*The real nature of action and inaction



What is action ? What is inaction ?—As to this, even the wise are deluded. I shall teach thee such action, by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from evil.



For, thou hast to know something  even of action, something to know of unlawful action, and something to know of inaction; hard to understand is the nature of action.



He who can see inaction in action, who can also see action in inaction, he is wise among men, he is devout, he is the performer of all action.


*Who is a sage ?


The realization of inaction in action and vice versa is extolled as follows :


He whose engagements are all devoid of desires and purposes, and whose actions have been burnt by the fire of wisdom, him the wise call a sage.


*The Sage's worldly action as an example to the masses



Having abandoned attachment for the fruits of action, ever content, dependent on none, though engaged in actions, nothing at all does he do.


*The Sage's action for bodily maintenance



Free from desire, with the mind and the self controlled, having relinquished all possessions, doing mere bodily action, he incurs no sin.



Satisfied with what comes to him by chance, rising above the pairs of opposites, free from envy, equanimous in success and failure, though acting he is not bound.


*The Sage's worldly action does not bind him



Of the man whose attachment is gone, who is liberated, whose mind is established in knowledge, who acts for the sake of sacrifice,—his whole action melts away.


*Wisdom = sacrifice


For what reason, then, is all action which he does, entirely dissolved, without producing its natural result ?—

Listen why:


Brahman is the offering, Brahman the oblation; by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman; Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in action.


*Sacrifices effected by action


After representing the right knowledge as a sacrifice, the Lord proceeds to enumerate other kinds of sacrifice

with a view to extol the right knowledge:


Other yogins resort to sacrifices to Gods; in the fire of Brahman others offer the Self by the Self.



Others offer hearing and other senses in the fires of restraint; others offer sound and other objects in the fires of the senses.



And others sacrifice all the functions of the senses and the functions of the vitality in the wisdom-kindled fire of the Yoga of Self-restraint.



Others are sacrificers by their wealth, sacrificers by austerity, sacrificers by Yogas, sacrificers by reading and knowledge, ascetics of rigid vows.



Others offer prana ( outgoing breath ) in apana (incoming breath), and apana in prana, restraining the passages of prana and apana, absorbed in pranayama (restraint of breath).



Others, with regulated food, offer life-breaths in life-breaths. All these are knowers of sacrifice, whose sins are destroyed by sacrifice.



Eating of ambrosia, the remnant of the sacrifice, they go to Eternal Brahman. This world is not for the non-sacrificer; whence the other?-O best of Kurus.



Thus manifold sacrifices are spread at the mouth of Brahman. Know them all as born of action. Thus knowing, thou shalt be liberated.


*Wisdom = sacrifice is superior to other sacrifices



Superior is wisdom-sacrifice to the sacrifice with objects, O harasser of thy foes. All action, without exception, O son of Pritha, is comprehended in wisdom.


*How and where one should seek wisdom


By what means is this grand wisdom to be obtained?


Know this: by long prostration, by enquiry, by service, those men of wisdom who have realised the truth will teach thee wisdom.


Then alone the following statement will hold good:


Knowing which, thou shalt not again thus fall into error, O Pandava; and by which, thou wilt see all beings in thy Self and also in Me.


*Wisdom, a consumer of all sins and actions


Moreover, see how excellent knowledge is:


Even shouldst thou be the most sinful of all the sinful, thou shalt verily cross all sin by the bark of wisdom.


How does wisdom destroy sin?—Here is an example:


As kindled fire reduces fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, so does wisdom-fire reduce all actions to ashes.




Verily, there exists here no purifier equal to wisdom. He who is perfected by Yoga finds it in time in himself by himself.


*The surest means to wisdom


The surest means of acquiring wisdom is taught as follows:


He obtains wisdom who is full of faith, who is devoted to it, and who has subdued the senses. Having obtained wisdom, he ere long attains to the Supreme Peace.


*Wisdom the killer of doubt


Thou shalt not doubt this, for doubt is most sinful.


The ignorant, the faithless, and one of doubting self, is ruined. There is neither this world, nor the other, nor happiness, for one of doubting self.


Wherefore ?—For,


Him who has renounced actions by Yoga, whose doubts have been cloven asunder by wisdom, who is self-possessed, actions bind not, O Dhananjaya.



Therefore with the sword of wisdom cleave asunder this doubt of the Self lying in the heart and born of ignorance, and resort to Yoga. Arise, O Bharata.




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