Summary of the Chs. 1–6
I think we have now come to the 5th chapter, and the 5th chapter is related to one word, which is used over the end of the 4th chapter: the 4h chapter, verse n°41. It is that word which takes you to the chapter n°5. There is a link between chapter n°4, verse N°41 on page 213, where Sri Krishna says:
yogasaṁnyastakarmāṇaṁ jñānasaṁchinnasaṁśayam |
ātmavantaṁ na karmāṇi nibadhnanti dhanañjaya ||41|| (IV)
The important word is saṁnyastakarmāṇaṁ, and it is preceded by the word yoga: yoga means Karma yoga; Karma yoga in which karmāṇaṁ saṁnyasta, in which action is renounced. And when you have Knowledge by which all the doubts are cut asunder; and when you become established in yourself ātmavantaṁ, then O Arjuna, dhanañjaya na karmāṇy nibadhnanti, then the actions do not bind you.
So, repeat: “By practise of Karma yoga, when all action is renounced, and by power of Knowledge, all the doubts are cut asunder, and when you become seated in your own Self, then no actions bind you”. This is the verse.
Now, this is also a connection with 2nd chapter…if you open 2nd chapter and verse n°39. So, this verse we had referred to earlier also, this significance of these verses that Sri Krishna tells Arjuna, that, “There is a method by which the Buddhi–intelligence by concentration can be fixed on Knowledge, and as a result of that, liberation can be obtained. But, there is also another way, where intelligence can be so concentrated that even while doing actions, you still attain to liberation”.
Now, this promise that Sri Krishna has given is fulfilled in this chapter n°4, verse n°41, after all that is contained here, between these two verses; and this is the conclusion where He says: yogasaṁnyastakarmāṇaṁ, when ‘even while doing action, you do Karma yoga by which action gets renounced, you get liberated, even while doing action, you still get liberated from Karma, you become free from action. And then, even when Karmas are done, they do not bind you’. So, you might say that there is a connection between this verse, and this verse that is the promise and this is the conclusion, and that is said in between is the exposition of that secret, by which even while doing actions you can be free.
Now, in this exposition the most important part of the exposition is the totality of the 3rd chapter. If you ask the question as to what is the most important part of the Bhagavad Gita, fundamentally, all that Sri Krishna wanted to teach basically is said essentially in the 3rd chapter; because after expounding it, when you come to the 4th chapter, Sri Krishna Himself tells Arjuna, that, “This is the wisdom, this is the Knowledge that I have given to vivasvān who gave it to manu, who gave it to ikṣvāku and then it got lost”. That means that all that He wanted to say, that basic Knowledge, is contained in the 3rd chapter; because the 3rd chapter tells you how action, even when it is performed, you can still become free.
And the most important message of the 3rd chapter is the idea of sacrifice. It is the Knowledge of sacrifice, exposition that the whole world is nothing but sacrifice, and whether you know sacrifice or not, even if you do not know sacrifice, you will be obliged to do sacrifice, there is an obligation because the whole world is nothing but a sacrifice. So, if you do it willingly, you can apply the Knowledge, and therefore a greater result, which comes to you when you apply Knowledge rightly.
The difference between Yoga and that, which is not Yoga, is only this: that even one who is not a Yogi is obliged to do Yoga. It is because his part of universe, he cannot escape it; he is obliged to do it; he is obliged to sacrifice, whereas a Yogi is one who knows it, and willingly participates in it. And when you do it willingly, then you get one special result; when you are conscious, the result will be first of all a quicker result, the siddhi that is to come will be quicker, and being conscious you will have a mastery over the whole process and you will not deviate.
So, the most important teaching of the Bhagavad Gita is, you might say, ‘the law sacrifice’. What Sri Krishna wants to tell Arjuna is that, “Whatever arguments you are putting forward, these arguments do not take into account the idea of sacrifice: you are speaking of renunciation, you are speaking of anything, but you do not know what the law of sacrifice is. And if you know the law of the sacrifice, then you will be free even while you are doing action. Today you feel grieved, full of grief, because you do not know the law of sacrifice”. Then what is the law of sacrifice, in one word? It is the recognition that the first sacrificer is the Lord Himself. It is the Lord, giving Himself, and by His giving the whole world comes into existence, the world is nothing but bringing out the stuff of God Himself and putting it forth. Therefore, the law of sacrifice for the world is to return that movement to God; and God again returns it into the world; and world again goes back to the Lord. This is the cycle, and if you know the cycle very well, then there is no problem which you cannot resolved. This is the basic teaching of the 3rd chapter.
The 4th chapter is only a further elucidation in which the culmination of this sacrifice is given, namely ‘Divine birth and Divine action’, the nature of it, and towards the end of this chapter, Sri Krishna says that, “Now, when by doing Karma yoga you become free from action, you are able to renounce action, so that even while doing action you renounce action, and then the action does not bind you”. This is the end of His promise, when He had said: “I will now teach you that even while doing action, you can be free”. So, in the 4th chapter, towards the end, this promise is fulfilled.
Now, when this promise is fulfilled, then this word, yogasaṁnyastakarmāṇaṁ, particularly the word saṁnyāstakarmāṇaṁ, it creates a confusion in the mind of Arjuna. And the 5th chapter starts with the statement of the confusion: the word saṁnyāstakarmāṇaṁ, creates a confusion, so, let us read the first sentence of the 5th chapter.