Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 13


Yasya sarve samaarambhaah kaamasankalpa varjitaah;
Jnaanaagni dagdhakarmaanam tam aahuh panditam budhaah.


He whose undertakings are all devoid of desires and (selfish) purposes,
and whose actions have been burnt by the fire of knowledge, —him the wise call a sage.


This shloka concentrates on the nature of a sage. According to Lord Krishna a person should do all his action without any desires or selfish purposes. Here selfish purposes means doing actions not for the benefit of himself but for the benefit of others. The other aspect that Lord Krishna brings here is about who is a real sage. He says that a person who applies his knowledge in everything he does and the actions he did has burnt themselves in the depths of the fire of his knowledge is called a sage. Fire of his knowledge refers to the intensity and the depth of the knowledge.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The key word here is “sage”. Who is a sage? A sage is a person who performs all his actions with a complete knowledge about it and dips every bit of his action in that knowledge. How are knowledge and action connected? Let us look a person who is a master in playing flute. When you listen to that flute played by a master, you will totally immerse in it and get a complete satisfaction. He is able to give you that satisfaction because every bit of his action is dipped in the fire of his knowledge on flute and he is using that knowledge to get the tunes in a rhythmic way which gives you immense satisfaction.

Now let us consider that you are playing the same flute. You have seen him playing it and when you try playing it, it will sound as if someone is blowing air into a chimney. You would hate the sound of it. The flute is the same, then why you are not able to lay it like the way the master played? It is because he has knowledge and you don’t. Similarly every action of ours when done with knowledge gives the best result. And every action done with ignorance gives the same effect as blowing into the air into chimney gives. Many things we do in life, we do them without even knowing why we are doing. We just imitate others like the way you tried imitating the master who played the flute.

Getting mastery or acquiring knowledge is not a simple thing. You need to drown yourself in it and you need to experience it bit by bit. Knowledge is not knowing any subject. Knowledge is knowing life. Life is full of actions. So, a knowledgeable person will know the reason as well as the purpose of every action that he does. It is not something that comes overnight but it takes years of perseverance, dedication and focus to attain knowledge on every aspect of life. That is when you attain mastery over every action you do. That person who does every action of his life with complete knowledge about it is called a sage!