Gita : Ch-4. Slo-33.





Srimad Bhagavad-Gita :


Chapter-4. ( Jnana-karma-sanyasa-yogam )



Slokam-33. ( O Arjuna, the sacrifice of knowledge is greater than the sacrifice of material possessions. O Partha, after all, the sacrifice of action culminates in transcendental knowledge. )


Sreyan  dravyamayadyajnajjnanayajnah  parantapa,



sarvam  karmakhilam  partha  jnane  parisamapyate.



parantapa   =  O   Arjuna;

dravya-mayad-yajnaj  =  more  than  the  yajna  of  material  possessions;

jnana-yajnah  sreyan  =   yajna  of  knowledge  is  superior;

sarvam  karma  akhilam  =  all  actions  are  in  totality  complete,  full;

 jnane  parisamapyate  =  and  ends  in  knowledge.



Here the superiority of yagnas or offerings of worship to propitiate the Supreme Lord performed in jnana yoga or in the cultivation of Vedic knowledge is being explained by Lord Krishna. The yagna accomplished by knowledge is superior to the yagna performed by material ingredients for the yagna performed in knowledge is accomplished by no other auspices other than the atma or soul. Although the jnana yagna is dependent upon the activity of the mind yet the knowledge realised that is identical with the atma manifests itself as a modification of one's thoughts and not a by product of one's mind as in the case of yagnas performed with material ingredients. The Chandogya Upanisad IV.I.IV states that: Whatever righteousness persons do is all completely comprised of knowledge. In the performance of jnana yagna all activities in their entirety are along with their results are fully comprised of knowledge.

Because various types of yagnas or offerings of worship have been equally delineated by Lord Krishna, it is appropriate to include the yagna of knowledge. In order to remove the undesirable contingency of resemblance to the others, Lord Krishna instructs that yagna in the form of knowledge is far superior to yagnas performed with material ingredients to the demi-gods designated by their names and which bestow only trivial rewards of a transitory material nature. For the performer of the yagna of knowledge realises that all the components of action without exception in their entirety along with their cause and effect culminate in the knowledge of everything being the manifestation of the eternal form and attributes of the eternal Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Such a person sees everything as Brahman and is unobstructed achieving everything. In the Bhagavad Purana it is stated that: The performers of austerities, the makers of pilgrimages, the chanters of mantras, the givers of donations and others never reaches the achievement of that being who has even one percentage of Vedic knowledge.

Karma or actions has two aspects. The action of using the paraphernalia and ingredients to perform it is one aspect and the spiritual intelligence to perform it properly is the second aspect. The second aspect of spiritual knowledge is superior to the first aspect consisting of material ingredients. All activities culminate in wisdom. Any action performed without directed intelligence is meaningless. Hence all activities should be performed with wisdom involved being that spiritual knowledge is the goal that is desired to be reached by every means possible until by constant endeavour one attains the final attainment.

Everything is verily performance of actions but by itself it amounts to very little. The culmination of Vedic actions is spiritual knowledge and solely in spiritual realisation do actions find fulfilment. In the Mundaka Upanisad it states: That acts of yagna or offerings of worship are undoubtedly meritorious in themselves; but superior to them is spiritual knowledge where all doubts are dispelled and the need for all actions terminated. The point Lord Krishna is making is that all actions culminate in knowledge.

Every activity recommended in the preceding verses are useful methods of upasana or engaging oneself in glorifying the Supreme Lord. Spiritual knowledge is the result of this.

To be continued   .....



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