Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 19

Sloka

Dravyayajnaas tapoyajnaa yogayajnaastathaapare;
Swaadhyaayajnaana yajnaashcha yatayah samshitavrataah.

Translation

Some again offer wealth, austerity and Yoga as sacrifice,
while the ascetics of self-restraint and rigid vows offer study of scriptures and knowledge as sacrifice.

Interpretation

In this sloka Lord Krishna talks about one more way in which sages offer sacrifice for salvation. He says that some people to attain moksha offer money, lead a simple way of life and practice Yamas and Niyamas prescribed in yoga. That means these people feel that moksha can be attained by giving away what they have earned and leading a simple life style. Lord Krishna also says that there is another category of people who feel that knowledge, religion and philosophy are the only ways to attain salvation. These people believe that as the knowledge about self increases it takes us nearer to God.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

World offers us so many ways to attain salvation. Can we say that Plato, Immanuel Kant, Aristotle, Socrates, David Hume, Bertrand Russell, Karl Marx etc have not attained salvation? We cannot say that conclusively. Previously we have seen people being totally devoted to God and serving him all through their lives can possibly attain salvation. We have also seen people pursuing their passion and working towards it also having a chance to attain salvation. Then we have seen people meditating and controlling their senses as another possible way to attain salvation. Then we have seen people giving away wealth and adopting simple life style also can possibly attain salvation. There are already four ways which can give them a chance of salvation. But will knowledge also acts as a way to attain salvation?

Yes, according to Lord Krishna, knowledge also is one of the way through which you can sacrifice to attain moksha. Then how is it different from pursuing one’s passion and attaining salvation? There is a subtle difference between both. Passion is towards one or two things, but knowledge is unlimited. You can be passionate about singing or painting or teaching or medicine or engineering. But knowledge is not like that. It makes you a philosopher. A philosopher is someone who can tell you about life, about engineering, about medicine, about singing or painting or geography or history. For a philosopher knowledge is divine and he accumulates every form of knowledge and synthesises them to take the meaning or life and living from it.

Such a kind of person tries to understand the meaning, purpose, sense and secret of life, your existence and the existence of the creator of this universe is a philosopher. Such philosophers by constantly acquiring knowledge throughout their lives develop a sense of self restraint over their senses. That means they use their senses for acquiring knowledge and not for entertainment or enjoyment. Such kind of people who attain self restraint through knowledge and sacrifice that knowledge also stands a chance to attain Moksha or salvation.