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The Bhagavad Gita translated by Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Chapter Four

The Yoga of Wisdom

The Blessed Lord said:

1. I taught this imperishable Yoga to Vivasvan; he told it to Manu; Manu proclaimed it to Ikshvaku.

2. This, handed down thus in regular succession, the royal sages knew. This Yoga, by a long lapse of time, has been lost here, O Parantapa (burner of foes)!

3. That same ancient Yoga has been today taught to you by Me, for you are My devotee and friend; it is the supreme secret.

Arjuna said:

4. Later on was Your birth, and prior to it was the birth of Vivasvan (the Sun); how am I to understand that You taught this Yoga in the beginning?

The Blessed Lord said:

5. Many births of Mine have passed, as well as of yours, O Arjuna! I know them all but you know not, O Parantapa!

6. Though I am unborn and of imperishable nature, and though I am the Lord of all beings, yet, ruling over My own Nature, I am born by My own Maya.

7. Whenever there is a decline of righteousness, O Arjuna, and rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself!

8. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of righteousness, I am born in every age.

9. He who thus knows in true light My divine birth and action, after having abandoned the body is not born again; he comes to Me, O Arjuna!

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

11. In whatever way men approach Me, even so do I reward them; My path do men tread in all ways, O Arjuna!

12. Those who long for success in action in this world sacrifice to the gods, because success is quickly attained by men through action.

13. The fourfold caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma; though I am the author thereof, know Me as the non-doer and immutable.

14. Actions do not taint Me, nor have I a desire for the fruits of actions. He who knows Me thus is not bound by actions.

15. Having known this, the ancient seekers after freedom also performed actions; therefore, perform actions as did the ancients in days of yore.

16. What is action? What is inaction? As to this even the wise are confused. Therefore, I shall teach you such action (the nature of action and inaction), by knowing which you shall be liberated from the evil (of Samsara, the world of birth and death).

17. For, verily the true nature of action (enjoined by the scriptures) should be known, also (that) of forbidden (or unlawful) action, and of inaction; hard to understand is the nature (path) of action.

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

19. 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.

20. Having abandoned attachment to the fruit of the action, ever content, depending on nothing, he does not do anything though engaged in activity.

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

22. Content with what comes to him without effort, free from the pairs of opposites and envy, even-minded in success and failure, though acting, he is not bound.

23. To one who is devoid of attachment, who is liberated, whose mind is established in knowledge, who works for the sake of sacrifice (for the sake of God), the whole action is dissolved.

24. 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.

25. Some Yogis perform sacrifice to the gods alone, while others (who have realised the Self) offer the Self as sacrifice by the Self in the fire of Brahman alone.

26. Some again offer hearing and other senses as sacrifice in the fire of restraint; others offer sound and various objects of the senses as sacrifice in the fire of the senses.

27. Others again sacrifice all the functions of the senses and those of the breath (vital energy or Prana) in the fire of the Yoga of self-restraint kindled by knowledge.

28. 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.

29. Others offer as sacrifice the outgoing breath in the incoming, and the incoming in the outgoing, restraining the courses of the outgoing and the incoming breaths, solely absorbed in the restraint of the breath.

30. Others who regulate their diet offer life-breaths in life-breaths; all these are knowers of sacrifice, whose sins are all destroyed by sacrifice.

31. Those who eat 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?

32. Thus, various kinds of sacrifices are spread out before Brahman (literally at the mouth or face of Brahman). Know them all as born of action, and knowing thus, you shall be liberated.

33. Superior is wisdom-sacrifice to sacrifice with objects, O Parantapa! All actions in their entirety, O Arjuna, culminate in knowledge!

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

35. Knowing that, you shall not, O Arjuna, again become deluded like this; and by that you shall see all beings in your Self and also in Me!

36. Even if you are the most sinful of all sinners, yet you shall verily cross all sins by the raft of knowledge.

37. As the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all actions to ashes!

38. Verily there is no purifier in this world like knowledge. He who is perfected in Yoga finds it in the Self in time.

39. The man who is full of faith, who is devoted to it, and who has subdued all the senses, obtains (this) knowledge; and, having obtained the knowledge, he goes at once to the supreme peace.

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

41. He who has renounced actions by Yoga, whose doubts are rent asunder by knowledge, and who is self-possessed,-actions do not bind him, O Arjuna!

42. Therefore, with the sword of knowledge (of the Self) cut asunder the doubt of the selfborn of ignorance, residing in your heart, and take refuge in Yoga; arise, O Arjuna! Hari Om Tat Sat

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the fourth discourse entitled: "The Yoga of Wisdom"

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