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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Shrimad Bhagavad Gita > Gita Summary > Gita 04 Gyana Yoga

Title: Chapter 4 Gyana Yoga

User: Bhushan Nityananda dasa     Date: 2007-06-11 19:49:48


C H A P T E R   F O U R

Summarized & Narrated into Question Answer Form

Based on the Commentary of Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti

By Purnachandra dasa prabhu ACBSP

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by writing to Purnacandra dasa, Radha-Krishna Temple, 10 Soho Street, London W1, U.K.




Krishna:  The yoga system I am describing to you is eternal.  I previously instructed this same system to your great predecessor, Vivasvan, who is the head of the surya ksatriya dynasty.  Vivasvan gave it to Manu and Manu gave it to his son Iksvaku.  This science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession and the saintly kings understood it in that way.  But in the course of time the succession was broken and therefore this science appears to be lost.  I have spoken this to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend.  Therefore you can understand the transcendental mystery of this knowledge.




Arjuna:  But Krishna, the sun god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You.  How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?




Krishna:    Ha! You are dull like a tree Arjuna.  That is why you are asking such a foolish question.  I have taken many forms and in those different forms I've given this teaching to you.  You were present when I spoke to Visvasvan, but now you do not remember this.  Why?  Because I have covered your knowledge by my inconceivable potency so this pastime can go on.




Arjuna: If You have covered me then why are You laughing and calling me a dull tree?




Krishna: Actually, you are Parantapa --- one who gives to others --- and because you know that a gentleman will never speak about himself, you are giving Me an opportunity to do so.  That is the real reason why you posed this question.




Arjuna:  If You have taken birth many times, how can You remember them Vasudeva?




Krishna:  I am unborn and eternal. And although I am the Lord of all living beings, I appear in every millenium in My original transcendental form.




Arjuna:  What is so unique about that Krishna?  The living entity is also eternal and unborn.




Krishna:  But I am avyayatma.  My body is indestructible.  The living beings take birth because of karma and ignorance.  But I am Isvara, the supreme controller, and although I take birth, I keep the same form.  The living beings cannot do this.  This is wonderful and beyond logic.  As the sun rises in the morning, only appearing to take birth, I appear in My original sac-cid-ananda form which undergoes no transformations.  I appear by My mercy to uplift the living beings.  I only seem to take birth.




Arjuna:  When do You appear?  Is it according to Your whim?




Krishna:  I descend whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice and a predominant rise of irreligion.




Arjuna:  Why do You come?




Krishna:  To deliver the pious and annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of religion, I Myself appear millenium after millenium.




Arjuna:  Your devotees are powerful enough to do these things aren't they?




Krishna:  Yes, My devotees can perform all these, but because they are very eager to have My darshan I appear to protect them from the misery of separation from Me.




Arjuna:  What is the result of knowing about Your appearance?




Krsna:  Arjuna, anyone who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode.  Being freed from attachment, fear, and anger, and being fully absorbed in Me, many persons became purified by knowledge of Me.  Their austerity was understanding the reality of My janma and karma, and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.




Arjuna:  Your unalloyed devotees know for certain that Your birth and activities are eternal, but others take shelter of You for knowledge Govinda. They do not think that Your birth and activities are eternal.  They do not want bhakti, but they want jnana.




Krishna:  Whatever they come to get, I give them accordingly --- not more, not less, Arjuna.  There are those who think, "Our Lord's activities are eternal," and considering this, they meditate on Me and serve Me.  I make these people My associates and perform pastimes with them when I descend.  And I give them prema bhakti --- the fruit of their austerities.  But the jnanis who serve without faith in My eternal form and activities --- I hand over to Maya devi for repeated birth and death.  Other jnanis who know that My form is eternal but surrender to Me for liberation, I give Brahmananda and they merge into Brahman. Therefore not only devotees surrender, but also jnanis, karmis, yogis and followers of demigods, all follow My path and all get their results from Me according to their desires.  Men in this world who desire success on the path of fruitive activities worship the demigods.  They get quick results from fruitive work in this world.




Arjuna:  The paths of bhakti and jnana lead to liberation, but the path of karma leads to bondage.  Why did You create this karma path Krishna?




Krishna:  According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me.  These four varnas and their acts deal with controlling the mind and senses and they were made by Me according to peoples' modes and karma.  But although I am the creator of this system, I am not the creator.  I am not the direct doer.  It is done through My energy.  So I am the doer and the non-doer.  And although I use My energy to do it, I do not diminish.  I remain unchangeable.




Arjuna:  I see, but now You are born as a ksatriya and are working as a ksatriya.  So will You also get karma?




Krishna:  There is no work that affects Me because I do not aspire for the fruits of action, Arjuna.  Therefore, I am still free.  I am not like a living entity.  I do not become bound.  I work not for Myself but for the living entities.  I am completely perfect and completely satisfied.  I know everything perfectly and I am not attached to the fruits of action.  One who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in the fruitive reactions of work.  All the liberated souls in ancient times acted with this understanding.  They, like the sun god, performed their duty.  You should also perform your duty, Arjuna, following in their footsteps.




Arjuna: But aren't I above the stage of working to simply control the mind and senses?




Krishna: If one's heart is not clean then one should work to clean it.  If one's heart is clean then one should work to set a good example for others.  However, if you follow these instructions without understanding, you will be a blind follower.  You should not work blindly like sheep but with discrimination, knowing the objective results of the work.




Arjuna:  You work as liberated persons have worked in the past, but that implies that one should not work in any other way.  Tell me about that.




Krishna:  Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction.  Now I shall explain.  One should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is, and what inaction is.  One who sees no reactions in detached work and reactions in so-called renunciation, is intelligent among men.




Arjuna: Can you give an example Krishna?




Krishna: When a pure person is in knowledge, like Maharaja Janaka, even if he is not a sannyasi, his work is yoga, his karma is akarma - free from reaction.  His work does not cause bondage.  On the other hand, a sannyasi who is lacking in transcendental knowledge, will be bound in this world. Only a person who can discriminate between these two is intelligent and his acts will be free from reaction.  Anyone can be in full knowledge if his every endeavour is devoid of selfish desires.




The sages say that such a person is a worker for whom the reactions of work have been burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.  Such a man of under-standing acts with mind and intelligence perfectly controlled and gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions.  He acts only for the bare necessities of life and is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord.  His work merges into transcendence.  Therefore Arjuna, your work of fighting, if done in knowledge, is like a brahmana offering a sacrifice in a temple.  Your bow Gandiva is the spoon, your arrows are the ghee and the Kaurava army is the fire. You are the brahmana in this sacrifice Arjuna and by your complete absorption in this meditation you will certainly reach the spiritual kingdom.




Arjuna:  I've never heard about fighting as a sacrifice, Vasudeva! What are the different kinds of sacrifices and what are their results?




Krishna:  There are many ways to perform sacrifice given in the Vedas for different types of people. Some yogis perfectly worship the demigods by offering different sacrifices to them and some offer sacrifices in the fire of the supreme Brahman. Brahmacaris sacrifice the hearing process and the senses in the fire of mental control and the grhastas sacrifice the objects of the senses in the fire of the senses. Accepting strict vows, some sacrifice their possessions and others perform severe austerities. Others practise astanga-yoga and others study the Vedas. Some practice pranayama and still others, curtailing the eating process, offer the outgoing breath into itself as a sacrifice.




Arjuna: And their results?




Krishna: All these performers become cleansed of sinful reactions and having tasted the nectar of sacrifice, they advance in spiritual life. O best of the Kuru dynasty, without sacrifice one can never live happily in this life --- what then of the next? All these different types of sacrifice are approved by the Vedas and all of them are suited for different types of people. Knowing them as such, you will become liberated.




Arjuna:  Which type of sacrifice is superior, Krishna?




Krishna:  The sacrifice performed in knowledge is better than the mere sacrifice of material possessions. After all, sacrifices of work culminate in transcendental knowledge.




Arjuna:  How may I learn more about sacrificing in knowledge?




Krishna:  Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self realised souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth. Having obtained real knowledge from them, you will never fall again into illusion --- thinking that you will kill your relatives. By this knowledge you will see your kin as different from their bodies. You will see that they are part of Me and that they are Mine. Even the most sinful person can cross over the ocean of sin in the boat of transcendental knowledge. As a blazing fire turns wood to ashes, Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn up all reactions to material activities.




In this world there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. Not simply by abruptly taking sannyasa can one acquire that knowledge, but by performing niskam karma over a long period of time one will acheive it. One must work for it and one must be faithful as well. Neither the ignorant, nor the faithless, nor the sceptics who doubt the revealed scriptures attain God consciousness. Rather, they fall down. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next. But one who acts in devotional service, renouncing the fruits of his actions, and whose doubts have been destroyed by transcendental knowledge, is situated factually in the self. Thus one is not bound by the reactions of work, O Dhananjaya. Therefore cut all the doubts in your heart with the sword of knowledge which I have given you. Be fixed in selfless sacrifice. Stand up and fight.