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Chapter 5 Verse 1 Sanyasa Yoga

Chapter 5 Verse 1 Sanyasa Yoga

Shloka

Arjuna Uvaacha:
Sannyaasam karmanaam krishna punar yogam cha shamsasi;
Yacchreya etayorekam tanme broohi sunishchitam.

Translation

Arjuna said:
Renunciation of actions, O Krishna, Thou praisest, and again Yoga!
Tell me conclusively which is the better of the two.

Interpretation

After the Gnana yoga where the power of knowledge over the other means of salvation were highlighted, Arjuna asks Lord Krishna a question on renunciation and this is the beginning of the Chapter of renunciation or Sanyasa yoga. Here Arjuna asks Lord Krishna that between renouncing all the actions and doing the actions, which one of them is better. There is a lot of confusion in the mind of Arjuna whether to do an action or renounce all actions to attain salvation. He asks to give a clarity on whether to renounce an action or perform the action.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

There are many instances when we feel like giving up and not do anything at all, and just sit and pray to God or become a sanyasi and renounce everything and lead a simple life.

Is it the right way? We normally get into renouncing mode only when we encounter successive failures and difficulties. It is considered to be wrong to give up fearing failure. But it is also said that renouncing is a noble gesture. Is it better to renounce everything and take up sanyaas and do nothing, instead of failing continuously or doing things that are not meant for you? These are some of the questions that this sanyasa yoga will answer. Let’s wait what Lord Krishna has got to say.

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 29

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 29

Shloka

Tasmaad ajnaanasambhootam hritstham jnaanaasinaatmanah;
Cchittwainam samshayam yogam aatishthottishtha bhaarata.

Translation

Therefore, with the sword of knowledge of the Self cut as under the doubt of the self born of ignorance,
residing in thy heart, and take refuge in Yoga; arise, O Arjuna! Hari Om Tat Sat

Interpretation

This is the last sloka of the Gnana Yoga and here Lord Krishna talks about the greatness of knowledge over all the other ways of attaining salvation. He says that a person should take refuge in yoga to drive away the ignorance. He can only do that only when he takes the route of knowledge. Here Lord Krishna compares the knowledge to a sword. The sword cuts anything that comes on its way. Here the sword of knowledge cuts all self doubts born out of ignorance. Once that is done then a person gets into the refuge of yoga and that will give him the ultimate Salvation, in the name of om tat sat……

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This is something that one can only experience. You cannot explain by giving any example how a person can attain salvation using the knowledge. But what we can see is how things become clearer to us and how we cut through the layers of maya. The most important thing here is self doubt. Self doubt is because of ignorance. Let me talk about a person whom I know very well, who had a lot of doubt whether he can do finance or not. I have seen him going through this self doubt and how he has overcome all this and finally won over that self doubt and became a master of that subject. Even salvation is something which is similar to that.

That person, as I said was very much in doubt whether he can do finance or not. He started to sit through the classes and started understanding the subject. As he started to understand more and more confidence started developing in him. This confidence is like a sword. As the knowledge started growing the confidence started building up and finally it acquired the sharpness of a sword. And sword in a single moment cut off all the doubts that he had about learning the subject. Now you see how continuously pursuing knowledge in ourselves gives us the power to overcome the ignorance.

Once that ignorance is gone, that person stared to take up that subject like a yogi doing yoga. Here yoga means, transferring whatever he has learnt to other people. He, after learning the subject became a teacher of that subject himself and started teaching it to many more people giving them that confidence which will create hundreds of such swords that will cut ignorance from everyone. That is how one attains the proportions of Yoga and if he does that relentlessly till he removes the last person from his ignorance, automatically attains the Nirvana or salvation and goes into the abode of Hari om, the greatest energy of this Universe in the form of a tatva or matter which is as pure and divine as satya.

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 28

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 28

Shloka

Ajnashchaashraddhadhaanashcha samshayaatmaa vinashyati;
Naayam loko’sti na paro na sukham samshayaatmanah.

Translation

The ignorant, the faithless, the doubting self proceeds to destruction;
there is neither this world nor the other nor happiness for the doubting.

Interpretation

In this sloka Lord Krishna talks about a person who is a non-believer in the concept of education. He says that like there are three qualities to acquire knowledge, there are three qualities that prevent a person from getting knowledge. They are ignorance, lack of faith and self doubt.

Lord Krishna says that any person who is ignorant of things around him, doubt everything that he does and has no faith in what he does proceeds towards destruction. Such a person would totally destroy himself and will not find a place in this world or in any other worlds nor they ever get any happiness says Lord Krishna.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Here we need to understand how ignorance, lack of faith and self doubt brings destruction in an individual. We all do many works and have many goals to achieve. Some tasks we complete, some we leave them midway. Why do we leave the tasks midway? It is because of the three mentioned reasons.

First is ignorance. Ignorance comes from a total lack of awareness on the task that a person is doing. Like many people do management education without having any idea as to what a manager is supposed to do. Such a person might get a degree but can never become an effective manager.

The other two qualities that bring destruction are faithlessness and self doubt. When you do a task and you dont have a faith in what you are doing then you can never complete it. Continuing the above example, let us assume that a manger was given a specific task by his boss. If he is an ignorant manager who doesn’t understand what he is doing, he has no faith on what he is doing. He is doing it because he was asked to do that and because he is getting paid for it.

Such person approaches everything with a self doubt and even if he succeeds he will still have a doubt on the work he is doing. Such people not only destroy themselves with such behaviour but also destroy the entire society by spreading these qualities. Such people can never get happiness and will always be doubting everything they do.

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 21

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 21

Sloka

Yajnashishtaamritabhujo yaanti brahma sanaatanam;
Naayam loko’styayajnasya kuto’nyah kurusattama.

Translation

Those who consume the remnants of the sacrifice, which are like nectar, go to the eternal Brahman.
This world is not for the man who does not perform sacrifice; how then can he have the other, O Arjuna?

Interpretation

After talking about the six types of sacrifices Lord Krishna talks about the results that each of these sacrifices give. He says that a person who consumes the remnants of this sacrifice will go to the heaven and compared them to the nectar. Here consuming does not mean eating. It means a habit that gets internalized or established in an individual.

So, Lord Krishna says that any person who follows any of the six sacrifices told in the previous slokas will attain salvation. Then Lord Krishna also goes on to explain that a person who doesn’t follow any of the six sacrifices will never be able to attain salvation nor be able to live happily in the World also. He belongs to nowhere.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The important point to note in this sloka is not about the salvation that a person could get after performing the sacrifices. I feel the more important point that Lord Krishna is making here is about a person who does not perform any sacrifices. That kind of the person cannot even belong to this World is what Lord Krishna says. Not performing sacrifices means not doing anything meaningful like serving God unconditionally or doing things he is passionate about or doing meditation or giving away his wealth or acquiring knowledge to become yogi or controlling his diet habits.

Look at a person who doesnt have any of these habits. Such kind of people lead a life which is only for themselves and for their self interests. Such people are selfish and will only satisfy their egos.

Example

Let’s take an example of a rich man who is a miser. Though he has lot of wealth he never give a single pie to anyone. He tries to become more and more richer by cheating people and trouble them for his wealth. He wont show mercy on anyone who comes in the way of his wealth and power. He goes to the extent of even killing those who question his authority or expose him.

Such a person even if he prays or goes to a temple will not have any mercy shown from God. That kind of a person even if he constructs a temple, its worse than a house of devil. The wealth that is created through these unscrupulous means will not go to his children also and will disappear. That is how the law of Karma works. Such kind of people will be strongly punished by the God and such people will not have a place in heaven or on earth. They will go to hell and suffer there.

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 16 – Bhagavadgita

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 16

Sloka

Brahmaarpanam brahmahavirbrahmaagnau brahmanaa hutam;
Brahmaiva tena gantavyam brahmakarmasamaadhinaa.

Translation

Brahman is the oblation; Brahman is the melted butter (ghee); by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman;
Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in action.

Interpretation

This is another important sloka where Lord Krishna explains what is Brahman. Brahman is God or Godliness and since we cannot see it Lord Krishna makes us to see it in different forms that we see. He says that Brahman is any kind of offering that we make to God, Brahman is also the ghee that we use in yagna. He also explains that one form of God that is Ghee is poured into another form of God which he says is fire that explains a process called Yagna which is also Brahman. And finally Lord Krishna says that a person who is an ordinary soul can reach God if he sees God in every action that he does.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We need to the usage of the words like ghee, fire, action and Brahman in this sloka. The words ghee and fire talks about purity. What is purity? Purity is the nature of our actions. We pour ghee into fire, it makes fire to burn more. That also increases the purity of fire. This process is called Yagna or sacrifice. Let’s take an individual. Passion is like fire and efforts that he puts to fulfil that passion is like ghee. If efforts mix with passion in a sacrifice the results come like how purity of fire increases with ghee. Here the efforts of the person who does what he is passionate about, produces results that are as pure as conducting a Yagna or sacrifice using fire and ghee. Just understand how deeply these two anolagies are connected.

The next most important thing is seeing God in every action. We see God in temples, we see God in saints, we also see God in some people and worship them, like people see God in their parents, a divot wife sees God in her husband. But do we ever see God in the action that we do? If we see every action with the sanctity with which we see God, then we will do that action with lot of love and care. We attach a lot of importance to that action and do it with utmost dedication.

That Godliness also stops us from doing wrong actions like we never steal things, we never cheat people or dupe them for money. We do Godly things like helping people, offering alms to the needy and helping people come out of their difficulties. That is how this sloka should be seen and every bit of it should be practiced to attain the state of Brahman.

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 14 – Bhagavadgita

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 14

Sloka

Niraasheer yatachittaatmaa tyaktasarvaparigrahah;
Shaareeram kevalam karma kurvannaapnoti kilbisham.

Translation

Without hope and with the mind and the self controlled,
having abandoned all greed, doing mere bodily action, he incurs no sin.

Interpretation

This shloka continues to talk about the qualities of a sage. In the previous shloka Lord Krishna talks about who is a sage. This shloka says that a sage is a person who does work, without any hope and with a self controlled mind. Working without any hope means not having any expectation from the work. Another aspect that Lord Krishna talks about here is that a sage should be free from all the greed of the results of his actions, and should think that his body alone is doing the action, and the mind is not controlled by his body. Such a person is a sage and a sage never incurs any sin by his actions.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Lack of greed and self controlled are the two things that this verse talks about. A sage is a person who should be free of these two vices. What is greed? Greed is the urge for wants. Your soul says what it needs. Any thing that you acquire more than that is a want and every want stems from desires. How do you come out of your greed? That is by getting rid of your desires. The day you overcome your desires you will not be greedy. Its not easy to overcome desires. That can happen only if one has the control over his mind.

This control of mind is the linked to controlling greed. Suppose you have two options infront of you, one, to take up a job with a big multinational company and another to become a teacher to groom students, what will you choose? 99% of people will choose the first option and just 1% will go for the second. The reason is simple. You need lot of self control to overcome desires and its not possible for everyone. That person who sees money and power as just distractions but thinks that self satisfaction by doing what he is passionate about is a sage and that person alone can get the success.

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 13 – Bhagavadgita

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 13

Sloka

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

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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!

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 12 – Bhagavadgita

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 12

Sloka

Karmanyakarma yah pashyed akarmani cha karma yah;
Sa buddhimaan manushyeshu sa yuktah kritsnakarmakrit.

Translation

He who sees inaction in action and action in inaction, he is wise among men;
he is a Yogi and performer of all actions.

Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna turns his attention to another aspect of looking at action and inaction. We have seen inaction as not doing anything, it also means not doing the action that is supposed to be done. This shloka brings out the third dimension of inaction that is doing an action without the feeling that am the doer of the action. Such an action is called inaction. A person who thinks like that is the wisest of all men. Lord Krishna equates such a person to a yogi who is the performer of all the perfect actions.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We always hear people say, “I did this”, “this is my work”, “I have put in all the efforts and hard work and achieved it”. Are these statements right? Think for a minute when you say, “I did this”. Who are “you”? You are a body that doesn’t know what it was in the past births and what it will be in the next moment. All that you have are the memories of past and efforts of present. With this limited knowledge, are you capable of doing anything? If you seriously contemplate on it, you will understand that all those statements connecting to you doing the actions is nothing but a myth.

Inaction in action is when you do actions but you don’t attribute them to yourself. You start firmly believing that you are just the instrument which does that action. The planner and executor is someone else. Let’s take for example, a pen which writes the exam and scores the highest marks. If the pen starts believing that it only wrote everything and all the marks it got are due to its own efforts, you will laugh at the pen. If the same analogy is taken, we are like a pen and We are held by God and we are made to do actions, and like everyone looks at the pen and not the hand, we also look at our actions but not the planner and executor of those actions ie God.

A wise understands this difference. He knows that all he is doing is what God is making him to do. so, for him its inaction. Inaction is where he doesn’t attribute any action to himself. Such kind of a person will not feel the pressure and can do any action because he knows that, like we hold the pen tightly while writing, God also will be holding us tightly while we are performing the actions. He will confidently and successfully do those actions and doesn’t claim the credit for any of the results attained from such actions.

Like the way, we turn the pen in different ways and put it to test while writing, God also puts us to many tests while we are performing actions to get the best results.

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 10

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 10

Sloka

Kim karma kim akarmeti kavayo’pyatra mohitaah;
Tat te karma pravakshyaami yajjnaatwaa mokshyase’shubhaat.

Translation

What is action? What is inaction? As to this even the wise are confused.
Therefore, I shall teach thee such action (the nature of action and inaction), by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from the evil

Interpretation

After talking about the actions in the previous shloka, Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about the action and inaction. This verse talks about what is action and what is inaction. This is very important thing to know because, even the wisest of wise gets confused about this.

So, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that he will teach him what is action, which also includes inaction and action in inaction. Knowing this is important because the knowledge of this will help us in liberating ourselves from the evil effects.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

What is action? What is inaction? Is there an action in inaction also? This is a very fundamental question. Action is work. Anything we do is action. Eating, talking, reading, helping others and even evil thins like stealing, looting, killing and hitting are all actions.

Every action bears its fruits as per what we have seen in previous shloka. So good actions bear good results and evil actions bear bad results. But what is inaction? Inaction is not doing anything. Then the question is can there be anything called inaction?

In life there is nothing called inaction. We continue to do actions even in the state of inaction. These inactions also bear us the fruits. Inaction can also be referred to as not doing something that is supposed to be done. Let us take an example of a person who applies leave from his office and stays at home.

The question is, is he right in taking leave from office? Is not going to office be taken as action in inaction? The answer is Yes. Whenever you feel like staying at home, just ask yourself what is stopping you from office? If you have a work which is higher in dharma then going to office, then you are right in staying at home and doing that task. But if you take a leave because you have many leaves pending or because you are not in a mood to go to office or to bargain for a hike with your boss then it is an evil action.

Inactions in life are more dangerous than bad actions because their effects are indirect and long term. That is why one needs to know everything about inaction so that one can stay away from evil actions. Next time you postpone your work or dont do the work you are supposed to do, then it is just not counted as inaction but it will be counted as action in inaction which will have a bad effect on your life. Knowing this will help us to stay away from all the evil actions which is a mark of a wise man.