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He who truly knows my birth and this divine work of mine, comes nevermore to birth again when he quits the
body: he comes to Me, Arjuna! 10 Freed from passion, fear, and wrath, thinking on Me
and finding refuge in Me, many, purified by the ascetic rite () of knowledge, enter into my being.
As men devote themselves to Me, even so do I honour them. Men follow my path, 0 son of Prithā! from every side.
They who desire success in works offer sacrifice here to the gods, for soon in this world of mortals success is gained by works.
The four castes were created by me, according to the apportionment of qualities (or modes) and works. Know that I, the uncreating and unchanging, am the creator of them.4
Works defile me not; in me there is no desire for the fruit of works. He who comprehends me thus is not bound by works.5
I Knowledge is called tapas (re. Kshatriya, the Vaishya, and the ligious austerity) from its purifying Sūdra to issue from his mouth, his influence. So in Manu (xii. 101) it arms, his thighs, and his feet.” This is said that “knowledge of the Veda is, however, a late invention. The burns out the sin of the soul, born of castes were not definitely fixed in work, as fire burns even moist wood." the Vedic age, and the institution
2 This is an accommodation of the seems to have been developed graYoga system to the popular faith dually. (See Prof. Roth on the Lit. and practice. The gods are recog- and Hist. of the Vedas.) nised, and offerings made to them This apparent contradiction is may have some efficacy, but they usually explained by the dogma that cannot procure the final bliss of he who works without "attachment” nirvana.
does not really work (cf. v. 20 infra). 3 The four castes are the Brāhman, We may, however, interpret the pas. the Kshatriya, the Vaishya, and the sage thus: “As Vishņu (or Brahmā) Śūdra. Cf. the account given by I am the author of the castes, but not Manu i. 31: “That the human in my supreme form as Brahmă.” race might be multiplied, the Su. 5 His actions are not attended by preme caused the Brāhman, the such results as the gaining of heaven
15 Knowing this, works were wrought by men of old,
who sought for (final) deliverance. Wherefore do thou engage in work as it was done aforetime by the men of old.2
Even the wise (c) are troubled if one should ask, “What is action and what is inaction?” I will teach thee the kind of action by the knowledge of which thou wilt be free from evil.
For action must be well understood, and forbidden action, and also inaction: tangled is the path of works.3
He who can see inaction in action, and also action in inaction, he among men is wise; he is devout, and has fulfilled every work (d).
He whose every effort is free from the impulse of desire, whose work has been burnt up by the fire of know
ledge, 4 is called by the wise a learned man (paņdita). 20
Renouncing all attachment to the fruit of works, ever contented, self-reliant(e), this man, though engaged in work, yet works not at all.
Void of hope, self-restrained in thought, and rejecting all surroundings, performing merely bodily work, he contracts no guilt. or birth in another body; he is ab. Telang translates gati (way, path) sorbed into the divine nature. San. by "essence.” The Hindū commen. kara says that for him there are no tators explain it as "truth” (tattwa), works requiring effort in another but it means rather the discussion of body.
action, the laying down of its limits, 1 An absolute union with the than its essence. divine essence in nirrāņı.
4 Since action arises from the Fight as thy forefathers, who modes of Nature, not from the soul, were of the Kshatriya (warrior) caste. it follows that the soul has no neces.
3 The question of works is difficult sary connection with it. Action is and obscure, like a path in a tangled due to the conditions of our physical forest. Ananda says that gahana state, as some of our Western scien(hard to penetrate) means "under tists teach. stood or discerned with difficulty."
Contented with whatever he may receive, unaffected by pairs of opposites (pleasure and pain, &c.), free from envy, the same in good and evil fortune, he, though he works, is not bound.
The work of one in whom attachment is dead, who is freed (from things of sense) (f), whose mind is stayed on knowledge, wholly dissolves away, though he engage in sacrifice (g).
Brahma is the oblation; Brahma is the sacrificial butter;1 Brahma is in the fire; the burnt-offering is by Brahma. Into Brahma will he enter who meditates on
Brahma in his work. 25 Some devotees attend sacrifices offered to the gods;
others offer sacrifice by sacrificing only in the fire of Brahma: 2
Others sacrifice hearing and the other senses in the fire of self-restraint; others sacrifice the objects of the senses, sound and the rest, in the fire of the senses.
Others, too, sacrifice all the functions of the senses and of life in the mystic fire of self-restraint, kindled by knowledge.
Others also, subdued in mind and bound by vows austere, offer the sacrifice of wealth or penance or de
1 Havis, clarified butter, which is oblations perform not always exter. poured on the sacrificial fire ; also nally the great oblations, but sacri. other offerings cast into the fire, as fice continually in their sensegrain, &c.
organs; some constantly sacrifice 2 The fire is the flame of derotion, their breath in speech and their created by Brahma himself. Com- speech in breath, perceiving in their pare a similar statement in Manu: speech and breath an ever-accom“Others continually perform sacri- plished sacrifice” (iv, 24, 23, 22). fice by knowledge only.” Other Sankara says that the knowledge of forms of devotion noted in this pas. the Supreme Spirit is the austere sage are mentioned by hiin : "Some rite or penance (tapas) by which men who know the ordinances for these are purified.
votion (yoga), or the sacrifice of silent reading and knowledge.
So also others sacrifice the inward breath in the outward, and the outward breath in the inward, obstructing the channels of inspiration and expiration, intent on the
restraint of breath. 30 Others, who practise abstinence, sacrifice their life in
life (n). All these are skilled in sacrifice, and by sacrifice their sins are destroyed.
They who feed on the ambrosial remains of sacrifices 3 go to the Eternal Brahma. This world is not for him who offers no sacrifice; how then the other, O best of Kurus?
Thus many kinds of sacrifice are offered in the presence of Brahma (1). Know that all these proceed from action: knowing this, thou wilt be free.
The sacrifice of knowledge is better than the sacrifice of wealth,4 O slayer of foes! Every work, in its completeness, is contained in knowledge.
Learn this (knowledge) by doing reverence, by questions, and by service. The wise, who see the truth, will
teach thee knowledge. 35 When thou hast known it, thou wilt not come again to
this trouble (of mind), O son of Pandu ! for thou wilt see
1 The Hindū commentators show who is able continually feed on the their Vedāntist bias by asserting residue of a sacrifice to the gods, that this means knowledge of the which is amrita" (immortal food). Šāstras or sacred books generally 4 Here the influence of the Sān. (Sankara), or of the Vedas (Śrīd. kyha system is evident. Cf. Plato hara). The knowledge of the Su. (Phædo, sec. 71): “None can attain preme Brahma is, however, here to the rank of the gods but those meant.
who pursue philosophy and depart 2 Restraint of breath (prāņāyama) from the body pure ; none but the is breathing through one nostril only, lovers of true knowledge.” by closing the other.
By becoming the disciples and 3 Cf. Manu üi. 285: "Let him ministers of religious teachers.
all things, without exception, in thyself and then in Me.1 Even if thou art the most sinful of all sinful
thou wilt pass over all transgression by the bark of knowledge.?
As the kindled fire reduces all fuel to ashes, Arjuna ! so the fire of knowledge reduces all works to ashes.
For no purifier is found on earth equal to knowledge. One who is perfect in devotion finds it in course of time in himself.
This knowledge is obtained by the believer, who is devoted to it and has subdued the senses: when he has obtained it, he reaches without delay the supreme repose
(nirvāna). 40 The ignorant man and the unbeliever, and he whose
soul is full of doubt, are lost. He whose soul is full of doubt has neither this world, nor the next, nor (final) blessedness.
Works do not bind the man who is master of himself, who has abandoned work in devotion (yoga), and in whom doubt is destroyed by knowledge, O subduer of wealth!
Wherefore slay this doubt, which is born of ignorance, and is seated in the heart, by the sword of knowledge; give thyself to devotion, and arise, O son of Bharata!
1 Because all things have ema. (faith) as a proof of Christian influ. nated from the One Supreme Being. ence. The argument is not without
? He will gain remission of all force, but is not perfectly conclu. past sins : they will bring on him sive, for all religions require faith. no evil consequences, because sacred 4 Neither the blessing of a higher knowledge destroys sin.
birth, or that of heaven, or of final 3 Dr. Lorinser refers to sraddhū nirvāṇa.
Thus the Bhagavad Gītā, Reading the Fourth, whose title is
“THE DEVOTION OF KNOWLEDGE."