Chapter IIII - The Yoga of Knowledge
I taught this imperishable Karma-yoga
To (King) Vivasvaan.
Vivasvaan taught it to Manu.
Manu taught it to Ikshavaaku.
Thus handed down in succession
The royal sages knew this.
After a long time the science of Karma-yoga
Was lost from this earth.
Today I have described
The same ancient science to you,
Because you are my sincere devotee and friend.
Karma-yoga is a supreme secret indeed.
You were born later,
But Vivasvaan was born in ancient time.
How am I to understand
That You taught this yoga in the beginning?
Both you and I have taken many births.
I remember them all, O Arjuna,
But you do not remember.
Though I am eternal, imperishable,
And the Lord of all beings;
Yet I manifest
By controlling My own material nature
Using My Yoga-Maya.
Whenever there is a decline of Dharma
And the rise of Adharma, O Arjuna,
Then I manifest Myself.
I incarnate from time to time for protecting the good,
for transforming the wicked,
and for establishing Dharma,
the world order.
The one who truly understands
My transcendental birth and activities,
Is not born again after leaving this body
And attains My abode, O Arjuna.
Freed from attachment, fear, and anger;
Fully absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me,
And purified by the fire of Self-knowledge,
Many have attained Me.
With whatever motive people worship Me,
I reward them accordingly.
People worship Me with different motives.
Those who long for success
In their work here worship the demigods.
Success in work comes quickly
In this human world.
The four Varna or divisions of human society,
Based on aptitude and vocation, were created by Me.
Though I am the author of this system,
One should know that I do nothing and I am eternal.
Works do not bind Me,
Because I have no desire for the fruits of work.
The one who understands this truth is not bound by Karma.
The ancient seekers of liberation
Also performed their duties with this understanding.
Therefore, you should do your duty as the ancients did.
Even the wise are confused
About what is action and what is inaction.
Therefore, I shall clearly explain what is action,
knowing that one shall be liberated from the evil.
The true nature of action
Is very difficult to understand.
Therefore, one should know
The nature of attached action,
The nature of detached action,
And also the nature of forbidden action.
Attached action is selfish work
That produces Karmic bondage,
Detached action is unselfish work
That leads to nirvana,
And forbidden action is harmful to society.
The one who sees inaction in action,
and action in inaction, is a wise person.
Such a person is a yogi and has accomplished everything.
A person whose all works
Are free from selfish desires and motives,
And whose all Karma is burned up
In the fire of Self-knowledge,
Is called a sage by the wise.
Having abandoned attachment
To the fruits of work, ever content,
And dependent on no one;
Though engaged in activity,
One does nothing at all.
Free from desires,
Mind and senses under control,
Renouncing all proprietorship,
Doing mere bodily action,
One does not incur sin.
Content with whatever gain
Comes naturally by His will,
unaffected by dualities, free from envy,
Equanimous in success and failure;
Though engaged in work
Such a person is not bound.
Those who are devoid of attachment,
Whose mind is fixed in knowledge,
Who does work as a Seva to the Lord,
all Karma of such liberated persons dissolves away.
Brahman is the oblation.
Brahman is the clarified butter.
The oblation is poured by Brahman into the fire of Brahman.
Brahman shall be realized by the one who considers everything
As an act of Brahman.
Some yogis perform the Yajna
Of worship to Devas alone,
While others offer Yajna itself
As offering in the fire of Brahman
By performing the Yajna.
Some offer their hearing and other senses
In the fires of restraint,
Others offer sound and other objects of the senses
In the fires of the senses.
Others offer all the functions of the senses,
And the functions of Prana as sacrifice
In the fire of the yoga of self-restraint
That is kindled by knowledge.
Others offer their wealth, their austerity,
And their practice of yoga as sacrifice,
While the ascetics with strict vows
Offer their study of scriptures
And knowledge as sacrifice.
Those who are engaged in yogic practice,
Reach the breathless state
By offering inhalation into exhalation
And exhalation into inhalation as sacrifice.
Others restrict their diet
And offer their inhalations as sacrifice
Into their inhalations.
All these are the knowers of sacrifice,
And are purified by sacrifice.
Those who perform Yajna
Obtain the nectar (of knowledge)
As a result of their sacrifice
And attain eternal Brahman. O Arjuna,
Even this world is not for the non-sacrificer,
How can the other world be?
Thus many types of sacrifice
Are described in the Vedas.
Know them all to be born from Karma
Or the action of body, mind, and senses.
Knowing this, you shall attain nirvana.
The knowledge sacrifice is superior
To any material sacrifice, O Arjuna.
Because, all actions in their entirety
Culminate in knowledge.
Acquire this transcendental knowledge
By humble reverence, by sincere inquiry, and by service.
The wise who have realized the truth will teach you.
Knowing that, O Arjuna,
You shall not again get deluded like this.
By this knowledge you shall behold the entire creation
In your own Self/Lord, or in Brahman.
Even if one is the most sinful of all sinners,
yet one shall cross over the ocean of sin
By the raft of knowledge alone.
As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes,
Similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge
Reduces all Karma to ashes, O Arjuna.
Verily there is no purifier
In this world like knowledge.
One who becomes purified by Karma-yoga
Discovers this knowledge within
In course of time.
The one who has faith, and is sincere,
And has mastery over the senses,
Gains this knowledge.
Having gained this,
One at once attains the supreme peace.
But the ignorant, who has no faith
And is full of doubt, perishes.
There is neither this world
Nor the world beyond nor happiness
For the one who doubts.
Karma does not bind one
Who has renounced work through Karma-yoga;
Whose doubt is completely destroyed by knowledge;
And who is Self-realized, O Arjuna.
Therefore, resort to Karma-yoga
And cut the ignorance-born doubt
Abiding in your heart
By the sword of Self-knowledge,
And get up (to fight), O Arjuna.
This is the end of Chapter IV of the Bhagavad Gita
Or "The Yoga of Knowledge"