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#Gita Chapter 04 (English translation)

November 27, 2017

Acknowledgements, Translation Notes, and Vocabulary Notes


Chapter 4





Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks:

I imparted this imperishable knowledge to the Sun God (Vivasvaan) who taught it to Manu. Manu transmitted this to his son, Ikshvaaku, who was the first king (of the Ikshvaaku dynasty, the Solar dynasty). II4.1II


The divine sages knew this through the inter-generational handing down of tradition. But it is now lost in this world. II4.2II


It is this ancient yoga that I have taught you today because you are My devotee and friend. It is the Supreme secret. II4.3II


Arjuna speaks:

Vivasvaan was born before you. How could you have revealed this to him? II4.4II


Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks:

Both you and I have had many births, Arjuna. I know My births, but you do not know yours, Parantapa (Arjuna). II4.5II


Although My nature is birthless and undecaying and I am the Lord of all beings, yet, governing my own nature I manifest Myself. II4.6II


Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and the rise of unrighteousness, I manifest Myself, Arjuna. II4.7II


To protect good, to destroy evil, and to establish righteousness, I am born in every age. II4.8II


He who realizes the divine Truth concerning My birth and life becomes one with Me when he leaves his body. He is not born again. II4.9II


Freed from attachment, fear, and anger, absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, purified by the fire of knowledge, many have attained My Being. II4.10II

(Verbatim from Swami Chinmayananda, The Holy Geeta)


Whoever, in whatever way approaches Me, in that same way I do reward them. It is My path that all men follow. II4.11II


Men in this world perform rites and rituals for the gods, seeking success for their actions. In the world of men, gratification from actions is obtained quickly. II4.12II


I have created the four separate castes according to the differing gunas (temperaments) and karmas (actions). Though I am their creator, know Me to be the Changeless non-creator. II4.13II


My actions do not taint Me, nor do I desire the fruits of my action. He who comprehends Me as such is not bound by actions. II4.14II


Having known this, the ancient seekers of salvation performed action. Therefore, you too should perform action as was done in the olden times. II4.15II


Even the intelligent are deluded by what is action and what is inaction. I will teach you That, knowing which you will be liberated from evil. II4.16II


You should know what right action, forbidden action, and inaction are. The path of action is deep (hard to comprehend). II4.17II


He who recognizes inaction in action and action in inaction is wise. He is a yogi and a true performer of actions. II4.18II


The wise call him a sage who undertakes action free from desire. His deeds are purified by the fire of knowledge. II4.19II


Having surrendered the fruits of his action, ever content and independent, he really does not do anything, though he is engaged in action. II4.20II


He incurs no sin when he acts with his mind and intellect controlled, without expectation. II2.21II


He is not bound even when he acts if he is content with what comes to him, is free from the pairs of opposites, free from jealousy, and is even-minded in success and failure. II4.22II


His actions leave no trace when he acts without attachment, free, with his mind established in knowledge, performing his actions in the spirit of selfless-effort. II4.23II


Consciousness is the act of offering. Consciousness is that which is offered. Consciousness is the fire. Consciousness is he who offers. Consciousness is reached by him who sees Consciousness in all actions. II4.24II


Some yogis undertake offerings to the gods alone. Others offer the Self as selfless-effort in the fire of Consciousness. II4.25II


Some yogis offer their organs of perception (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin) in the fire of self-control. Others offer their contact with sense-objects in the fire of their senses. II4.26II


Some yogis, kindled by knowledge, offer the actions of their sense organs and life-breath (praana) into the fire of self-control. II4.27II


Some offer their material objects, austerity, and meditation. Yet others offer their self-study and knowledge with rigid vows. II4.28II


Some yogis, absorbed in the control of the breath, offer the exhalation to the inhalation or the inhalation to the exhalation. II4.29II


Some, regulating their food, offer the life-breath into the life-breath. All of these understand the principle of selfless-effort and their sins are destroyed. II4.30II


Those who share the nectar of the remnants of selfless-effort attain Consciousness. Those who do not do selfless-effort are not fit for this world, then how can they hope for another world, Kurusattama (the best among the Kurus, Arjuna)? II4.31II


Thus, various kinds of selfless-effort arise from the mouth of Consciousness. Knowing them all to be born of action, you will be liberated (by understanding that you are actionless and detached). II4.32II


Selfless-effort through knowledge is superior to that by material objects. All actions culminate in knowledge, Parantapa (Arjuna). II4.33II


Prostrate at a teacher’s feet, ask him your questions, serve him, and he will impart the highest knowledge. II4.34II


With this knowledge you will not be deluded again. With this you will see all beings, without exception, in the Self and therefore also in Me. II4.35II


Even if you are worse than the worst of sinners, you too can cross all sin with the raft of knowledge. II4.36II


Like the blazing fire reduces all wood to ashes, the fire of knowledge reduces all action to ashes. II4.37II


Nothing in this world compares with knowledge as a purifier. He who works on this union realizes the Self in due course. II4.38II


The man of faith, diligent and self-controlled, attains knowledge. With knowledge one soon attains the supreme Self. II4.39II


The sceptic who is ignorant and has no faith is destroyed. Neither in this world nor in any other is there happiness for a person whose nature is filled with doubts. II4.40II


Actions do not bind him who has renounced actions through effort, who has effectively removed his doubt with knowledge, who remains absorbed in the Self, Dhananjaya (Arjuna). II4.41II


Therefore, Bhaarata (Arjuna), using your knowledge, cut the doubt that has arisen in your heart, born out of ignorance. Arise and follow the path of knowledge. II4.42II


Concluding verse:

Om! Such is the Truth in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. This is the knowledge of Supreme Consciousness. It is a scripture of union; a dialogue between Sri Krishna (the teacher) and Arjuna (the student). The fourth discourse ends, titled “Yoga of the Surrender of Action in Knowledge–Jnaana-Karma Sannyaasa Yoga”.



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