Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 23

Sloka

Tadviddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevayaa;
Upadekshyanti te jnaanam jnaaninas tattwadarshinah.

Translation

Know that by long prostration, by question and by service,
the wise who have realised the Truth will instruct themselves in that knowledge.

Interpretation

In this sloka Lord Krishna talks about another form of culminating themselves in the knowledge. He talks about three methods through which the knowledge will instruct itself into the wise. The first method is through a long prostration which is also called as “sashtanga pranamam” and this will completely surrender a person to the Lord. The second is through question which is also called as “prashna” or logical questioning. That makes a person to come out of all his doubts. The third method is through the service. Service here is the service to the humanity which is equal to the service of Almighty. By using these methods, Lord Krishna says that will men will realize the truth and dissolve themselves in the knowledge of truth.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The important aspect that we need to learn from this sloka is how the wise men discover the truth of knowledge and dissolve themselves in that knowledge using the three methods of long prostration, question and service. The terms long prostration, question and service are not literal in their meaning but they are more symbolic. Long prostration or “Sasthanga pranam” is something we do in temples in front of Gods or when we want to seek the blessings of people who are spiritually at a higher platform. Here we should not take the literal meaning of prostration but the symbolic meaning of it. Prostration symbolically means surrender and only when we surrender to the task we are doing and do it like how we worship God we can realise the truth.

Second way of doing it is through question. Question here symbolically means asking questions. Knowledge can only be acquired if a person seeking it has an inquisitive mind. When a person starts asking questions to himself then he will be able to explore more and that will give him answers to many things that he needs to know and this will also bring him closer to truth. The third method is through service. Service to humanity brings us closer to many people which will teach us many practical lessons. Thus a wise man using these three methods will realise the truth of his existence and acquires the knowledge about everything in this world and finally dissolves himself in that knowledge.