Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 25

Sloka

Api chedasi paapebhyah sarvebhyah paapakrittamah;
Sarvam jnaanaplavenaiva vrijinam santarishyasi.

Translation

Even if thou art the most sinful of all sinners,
yet thou shalt verily cross all sins by the raft of knowledge.

Interpretation

This sloka also continues about the greatness of knowledge, especially acquiring the right kind of knowledge. He says that even a person who is the most sinful amongst the sinners also will be able to overcome the sins with knowledge. Here Lord Krishna compares knowledge to a raft that can be used to cross the ocean of sins that a person has committed. He says that once the person is aware of his sins and makes an effort to change himself, then he can cross the ocean of sins by riding on the raft of knowledge. This raft or knowledge will prevent him from drowning in any of the sins that he has committed before.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The question that comes to mind is can sins be washed away with knowledge? We commit sins in ignorance. Nobody will commit any sin knowingly. But we think that people wantedly commit sins in spite of knowing everything. It is not the case. Certain times, our vision and thought process temporarily gets blinded making us to see things in a way which is perceptually not accurate. In that state of inaccuracy we commit actions which qualify to be sins. Example is one who denies the existence of God or puts down God without knowingly completely the concept of God and how He rules our lives and shows way. People dont believe in God because they feel that God has no role to play in their lives and all that they achieved is with their hard work. If that non-belief turns in cursing God or calling themselves as God amounts to sin.

Here the person doesn’t know that he is committing a sin. He thinks that he is right in whatever he is doing. That is where knowledge comes into picture. The moment he starts getting knowledge his outlook towards the same things drastically changes. He slowly starts understanding the big picture and the mistakes he has made. In the first stage of knowledge he sees them as mistakes. But as he moves forward on the raft of this knowledge he slowly realises that there are not just mistakes but sins committed by him. When he realise his sins and start repenting for them, they get washed away. Thus knowledge also helps us to wash away our sins.