Text of the Bhagavagd Gita (Mother's Institute of Research) - Session 17: Sat-Chit-Ananda: Chapter 4—Verses 32–42 (8 April 1999)

We are now towards the end of the 4th chapter and we need to repeat 2 or 3 comments, which I have made earlier.

Chapters 4, 5, and 6, are inter-connected, and the inter-connecting point is the theme of knowledge. Chapters 3 & 4 are inter-connected by the thread of Aaction and knowledge. Chapters 2 & 3 are connected by the theme of knowledge and action. That is to say, the 2nd Chapter begins with emphasis on knowledge, and enters into the field of action. The 3rd chapter concentrates upon action, preparing a way for knowledge. The 4th chapter concentrates upon action but focuses fully upon knowledge towards the end of the chapter. And the 5th chapter focuses upon knowledge. And the 6th is only elucidation of the 5th.

Now, this inter-connection is because of the inter-connection between two important powers of the trinity of the Divine. The ultimate Reality is Sat-Chit-Ananda. This is what we have said earlier also at one of another points that the aim of life, aim of all that we are, and what we do, is to get the contact and union with Sat-Chit-Ananda. The solution of all problems is this contact and union: at no other level, at any lower level, is the real solution. All solutions till that time are temporary solutions, provisional solutions, solutions which will give rise to problems, and the solutions of those problems will give rise to other sets of problems, until we arrive at a point where this contact and union with the Divine becomes our central theme, and when that happens, then the problems are resolved. This is, you might say, the basic teaching of the whole of the Bhagavad Gita. Although the word Satchitananda does not occur in the whole book, but whatever is described as Brahman, as Purusha, Purushottama, as ‘Me’, because Sri Krishna refers to Himself as Me, Myself, I, matparaḥ, one who becomes My, one with Me, matparaḥ: all these words refer to “Satchitananda”.

Out of these three terms Sat, Chit, and Ananda, the most fundamental term is Sat. Although Satchitananda is one, it is one Reality, but this Reality is not simple but complex. There are many teachings, which make Reality simple, without any complexity, like Sankhya, which we had done at one time, where Purusha and Prakriti are supposed to be to separate realities, in which Purusha, which has to be gained or regained is described as ‘simple consciousness which is inactive’: there is no complexity in it; it is pure simple immobility.

There is a view that Brahman also, (not Purusha-Prakriti in Sankhya), but there is one trend of Vedantic philosophy, which also says that ‘Brahman is one Reality which is immobile’. In Sankhya, Purusha is an individual Reality, which is immobile. In the Vedanta this supreme Reality, universal Reality, transcendental Reality, is ‘one simple immobility’. So, there are many descriptions of Reality, which you come across in the world of philosophy, where Reality is described as simple: simple in the sense, it has no other vibration than one vibration, one simple Reality without complexity.

But when we say, ‘Reality is Satchitananda’, you are already positing three things: it is one Reality but it has three strands in it. Therefore it is complex: there is Sat, there is Chit and there is Ananda. Even when you say Sat is Chit, and Chit is Ananda; or Ananda is Chit, and Chit is Sat, even when you say this, why do you need three terms to use it? Because you need to distinguish something that is in the word “Sat”, which does not clearly give you the “Chit”, and therefore it is a Sat that is Chit; because mere word Sat will not give you that idea of Chit; or mere idea of Chit will not give you the idea of Sat. Therefore even when you say Sat is Chit and Chit is Ananda and Satchitananda is one, still there is a complexity. And wherever there is complexity there is a question of inter-relationship. In other words, there is a relationship between Sat and Chit, and relationship between Chit and Ananda. Relationship always means some kind of hierarchy.

All relationships imply some kind of hierarchy: mother and child have a relationship; in that relationship there is a hierarchy; from one point of view mother is superior to the child, because child depends upon the mother;. But you ask the mother’s heart: who is the sovereign of the mother? It is the child who is sovereign of the mother. So, there is a relationship, a hierarchy, the child is supreme to the mother. Wherever there is a relationship, there is a hierarchy of certain kind, but hierarchy, which is not hurtful: when the mother says, “my child is my sovereign”, there is no hurt in the heart, it is a pride in the heart, it is the great ecstasy in the heart to say, “my child is my sovereign”. So, there is a hierarchy without hurtful conditions.

Now, in the hierarchy of the divine Reality, the inter-relationship of Sat-Chit-Ananda is such that there is no hurtful connection between the three. So, in a certain sense you can say: ‘Sat is the top’; in a certain sense you can say ‘Ananda is the top’. You can easily say from one point of view: Sat is the top; from another point of view: Ananda is the top. And certain say Karma is the top, and certain say Jnana is the top. And therefore in a complex teaching, you will find all kinds of statements, which confuse and bewilder. While speaking of Ananda, you can say there is nothing like Ananda: it is the crown. And when you speak of Sat you can say, well, without Sat, Ananda has no existence; therefore when you say, Ananda if crown and if without Sat crown can not exist then what is the position of Sat? You might say it is the top, it is the essence, it is something that is irreducible, without which Ananda has no even existence. So, if Sat is crown, or Ananda is crown, now it depends upon how you want to relate; at what point you stand, and at different stand points you can call one highest or the other highest and so on. Now, this is what happens when you want to expound a complex teaching.

Now, Bhagavad Gita’s teaching is a complex teaching. Therefore, when Sri Krishna speaks of one, you find that He speaks of Karma as “the” important thing. When in answer to the question, at the end of the 2nd chapter, Arjuna complains and says that, “If you think that intelligence is superior to action, then why do you throw me into this ghore karma (3.1). That is the starting point of the 3rd chapter, because at the end of the 2nd chapter, Sri Krishna seems to give a great importance to ṣṭhitā prajñā (2.68), who is settled in intelligence, and there is a complete quietude and silence, so it gives an impression as if silence is the top: therefore the 3rd chapter’s question. And you will find the same question being repeated at the beginning of the 5th chapter. Because even the 4th chapter ends by exhorting Jnana, although the 3rd chapter, the 4th chapter starts with Karma, explains the yajñā, and says that no Karma can be done without yajñā; no yajñā can be done without Karma. Even though exhorting Karma in this way the later portion of the 4th chapter speaks of Jnana, and exalting Jnana. So, that is why Arjuna in the beginning of the 5th chapter will ask again the same question: “Now you tell me to give up Karma, then you tell me that Karma is superior, why do you give me such a kind of contrary and contradictory statement? Tell me one thing which is certain, and without any kind of ambiguity.” But if the teaching is complex, then you cannot give absolutely in black and white, because the Reality is complex.

The whole of the Gita is therefore to be read with great care to see where exactly the emphasis falls, and why it falls, at what point it falls, and what exactly is the nature. So unless we know the relationship between Sat, and Chit, and Ananda, we will not understand the various emphases that lie in the whole book of the Bhagavad Gita. That is why my recommendation is to first have mastery over the relationship between Sat, Chit and Ananda. And let us, although we have done this earlier, it is good once again to repeat this interrelationship.

And let us say that the most fundamental is Sat: most fundamental. Now, when we say…‘fundamental’ means ‘essentially’. Essence is that without which there is no starting point. It is that to which everything is ultimately reduced; it is that from which everything issues: that is the meaning of ‘fundamental’ and ‘essence’. What is called tattvataḥ in the Gita’s language? What is tattvataḥ fundamentally, in essence? What is called antato gatvā? Having said everything, after all what remains is the “Sat”. If the whole world vanishes, gets dissolved, ‘that’ still remains. It is something that overtops: it is ‘that’ in the presence of which the immense universe seems only a petty swarm. These are different ways of describing: it is the remainder. In the Atharva Veda there is the reference to ucchiṣṭa, that which remains. It is irreducible, that which remains ultimately. Even if everything goes away, ‘that’ remains.

In the Bhagavad Gita there is the description of Him where Sri Krishna says: “I am the one on whom everything depends, but I do not depend on them”: that is the description of “Sat”; “They all depend on Me, but I do not depend on them”. There is even a more drastic statement in the Bhagavad Gita, which shall come after this first block of 6 chapters are over, then 7th, 8th , 9th chapters are the chapters of full knowledge, where all these things are expounded, and there you will find the description where Sri Krishna says: “They are in Me, I am not in them”, just as He says: “They all depend on Me, but I do not depend on them”, similarly He says, “They are in Me, but I am not in them”. Now, in a certain sense this is a very surprising statement: “They are in Me, but I am not in them”. So, there is a Reality such that transcends any idea of dependence, you might say: totally independent Reality. In Latin it is called: ‘Sui Generis’. One, whose origin is within oneself, does not depend upon somebody else at all.

So, this is what we call “Sat”. In the Veda, the Reality is described as Sat, basically. The famous sentence of the Rig-Veda: ekaṁ sad (viprā) bahudhā vadanti, (1.164, 46), “Reality is one but it is variously described”; ekaṁ sad bahudhā vadanti: it is the description of the Sat. There is a Reality in comparison with which everything else is asat, it looks non-existent: this is also an extreme statement. When you are in the presence of the supreme Reality everything else looks as if it is unreal. When you have drunk the amṛta, ‘nectar’, then every other drink is absolutely tasteless, almost nothing. Now, such are the descriptions, which we find of that Reality, Sat, without which all this, unless you are in it, unless you have discovered that Sat, there is no final resting place.

In fact all solutions are resting places. And when there is a problem, it means that the resting place is gone, so we want a solution, and we want to have a resting place. And all resting places, so called resting places are only temporary stations. They may give you as if it is a destination, but they are all stations, until you reach that point which is the…the “Sat”. And the Bhagavad Gita wants to stress to Arjuna, because he is in a state of a problem, and Sri Krishna wants to tell Arjuna that all his problems arise because he does not refer to Sat. If you read the whole argument of Arjuna, there is no reference to Sat at all, and that is why Sri Krishna says that, “You speak like a wise man, but you are not wise, because wise people start with “Sat”, that which is eternal”. That is the very starting point as I have said at that time, a big “dong!” with which the Gita starts is a statement of that which is eternal, that which is irreducible, that which is essence, that which does not die, that which is immortal. It is with that, that the whole Bhagavad Gita starts. So, you might say, He starts with the Sat.

So, what is the relationship between “Sat” and “Chit”? Now, you might say that basically Chit and Ananda are the means to approach the Sat: why? Because Sat, is in the hierarchy on the top; because without which nothing else can happen. Even Chit and Ananda, they are, as it were, one with the Sat and they depend upon the Sat. Such is the relationship. They are one with the Sat, and yet they depend upon the Sat. Sat can remain without Chit and Ananda, but Chit and Ananda cannot remain without Sat. There is a status; there is a state in which Sat alone can exist, where even Chit and Ananda are rolled up as it were, where they do not remain as Chit and Ananda. It is just as you heat anything, ultimately it becomes vapour, and it is reduced to ākāśa, but akasha cannot be described as pṛthvī; it is prithvi, which ultimately became vapour and ultimately enters into akasha, but you cannot say akasha is prithvi; and yet prithvi is that; it is that in which it is reduced. And yet ākāśa is still much more than pṛthvī, or jala, or vāyu, or whatever. Similarly Chit and Ananda, when they are rolled up completely into Sat, then Sat still remains Sat. Chit and Ananda although they are in it, they are no more recognisable as Chit and Ananda. Such is the miraculous relationship that exists between Sat, Chit and Ananda.

Now, Chit itself is twofold, just as Reality is three fold: Sat, Chit and Ananda. Chit itself is twofold: Chit, which is immobile; and Chit, which is mobile. Therefore immobile-mobile is the two-fold character of Chit. The immobile Chit is really called Chit normally: it is called the “Consciousness”. The mobile Chit is called Shakti, is the “Power”, is called Action. That is why Chit is called Consciousness-Action, Consciousness-Force or Conscious Force. Now, in Consciousness-Force there is an inter-relationship: the mobility always depends upon immobility; but immobility does not depend upon mobility. Mobility when folded up becomes completely immobile, in which mobility as we understand it, may not even be recognised. So, between the Consciousness and Force, between Consciousness and Action we may say they are one, and yet, there is a hierarchy. Chit is superior to Shakti: Consciousness is superior to Action. Now, it is the union of Sat and Chit, this union is that which gives Ananda. Although Sat is Chit, and Chit is Ananda and they are all one, but if you enter into the heart of these complex threads of Satchitananda, you find that the position of Ananda is a tertiary position. The primary position is of Sat; the secondary position is of Chit. Between Chit and Shakti the primary position is of Chit; and the secondary position is of Shakti; and tertiary position, the third position is of Ananda. In other words without Sat and Chit being united there is no Ananda. Ananda is dependent. Mere Chit is not Ananda; mere Sat is not Ananda. It is Sat and Chit, when combined together gives you Ananda. Such is the inter-relationship between the three.

If you now compare the path of Knowledge to the path of Chit, compare the path of Action with the path of Shakti, and compare the path of Bhakti to the path of Ananda, you get three paths, and between the three paths, you find the same kind of relationship as you find between Chit, Shakti and Ananda

These distinctions have to be remembered in a subtle manner in our own consciousness. The distinctions do not divide, that is the important point. When we say Chit is immobile, it does not divide itself from mobility. There is a state, in which you might say, in which the mobility can be folded up, and becomes immobile to such an extent that mobility cannot be recognised, but it does not mean that there is no mobility at all in it. Now, if you therefore understand….

Chapter 4—Verses 32-39

If you therefore now have this fundamental grasp that Chit is mobile and immobile, and mobile Chit is the path of Action, the immobile Chit is the path of Knowledge, and Ananda is the origin of the path of Bhakti, and all the three paths depend upon a goal, which has to be reached, namely Sat: Sat is the starting point but also the…from all point of view the goal, because we are at present in a state, which has been resulting from Chit and Ananda, and then all the further consequences of which we are the children: basically all of us are the children of Ananda. In Taittiriya Upanishad it is said: “If Ananda was not there, how could anybody breathe?” All breaths, all that we are, all that we are doing is because of the fundamental presence of Ananda. We are all children of Ananda. It is out of Ananda that the whole world moves out. You remember at one time we did Satchitananda in the anthological way, metaphysical way, and where the question was asked: “If Sat, Reality, is complete within itself, if it needs nothing else, then why should it create the world?” It needs nothing else! And our answer was: “The only reason for its action is Ananda.” Even without action, without creation, He is in a state of Ananda, or that in which Ananda is folded up. Even in manifestation, He remains Ananda. Ananda does not add something to Reality, which He had not before within Itself. Ananda is such a concept that when there is a manifestation of Ananda, the manifestation is full of delight, and yet, when there is no manifestation then also there is delight.

That is why we have the concept of pūrṇa: from pūrṇa is manifested pūrṇa; if you add pūrṇa to pūrṇa, pūrṇa remains pūrṇa; if you substract pūrṇa, from pūrṇa, pūrṇa remains. “pūrṇam eva avaśiṣyate”: such is our definition of pūrṇa. It is such a Reality that we are in search of. And all our problems arise because we do not know this Reality, and we do not know how to approach this Reality. And therefore this complex teaching that we have before us in the Bhagavad Gita, these three paths have been enunciated: the path of Action, the path of Knowledge, and the path of Devotion. These three paths correspond to: Chit, Shakti and Ananda. That is why we have emphasis on Karma, sometimes emphasis on Jnana, sometimes emphasis on Bhakti sometimes. And if you know the equation of all these three, we will not be bewildered as to why at certain point Sri Krishna says: “Although without Karma you can attain to the highest, yet I prefer that Action is better.” Why this? Why this preference? What is the point in it?

At the end of the 6th chapter, you will find that Sri Krishna declares that, “There are the tapasvīs and jñānis, and yet I prefer the yogis,( that is to say the Karmayogis), but even beyond Yogis, the one who are dearest to Me are Bhaktas.” That is the end of the 6th chapter you will find a declaration. Why this? Karmayogis are better than jnanayogis and tapasvins, and bhaktas are even greater, are much dearer! If you know therefore that if Bhakti is the crown, Ananda is the crown, then naturally the crowning position is of Bhakta. If Yogis are those who manifest the jnana, then naturally those who are karmayogis are better than mere jnanayogis: they do not manifest.

And yet now Sri Krishna in the 4th chapter now what we are going to read, Sri Krishna will seem to admit that all actions ultimately ends in knowledge. It is as if knowledge is the supreme, is the crown: karmākhilaṁ jñāne samāpyate (4.33): ‘All action ultimately ends in Knowledge’. So, if you start from action, then the top is jnana; if you start with jnana, and look at the world, then karma is superior to jnana, because it brings out what is in knowledge; and if you still go further, then ananda is the crown of it; even karma is not the crown, it is the crown of the bhakti, of the ananda. Therefore this emphasis that you find in the Bhagavad Gita you should see at what point Sri Krishna put one thing higher than the other.

Actually speaking, the highest is none, lowest is none, it is all one Reality that unity, integrity, oneness of the Reality, but when approached in different ways, then these hierarchies arise, and these hierarchies are temporary hierarchies, depending upon your standpoint: from which stand point is what? If you are at the top of the hill and you want to go home, then home is the top, even though you may be on the top of the hill, but if your destination is home, then home is the top for you. Where you are is not the top, it depends upon your standpoint, where you stand and where you want to go, how you want to go, then accordingly you can be told.

If I stand at the North Pole, and then if I want to show what is east and west, it will be one answer, if I am at another place east and west will be different! So, we should not therefore get bewildered by different kinds of statements where Sri Krishna…and now exhorts one, exhorts another, and says something quite different at the third point. In fact that was the problem of Arjuna, therefore he says that now you exalt this one, then you exalt another one, please tell me one thing, and then you tell me do this and I will do it. But do not tell me these bewildering statements, which are contradictory.

And Sri Krishna is not very helpful because Reality is not very helpful. Reality itself is of such a nature that it depends upon the standpoint. But ultimately this is the basic relationship: Sat is the basis, Chit is double (immobile and mobile), and when the two are united you have Ananda. When this relationship is understood then you yourself can put emphasis according to wherever you stand. It is for this reason that there are inter-connections between Action and Knowledge.

The first 6 chapters are actually interconnections between Karma and Jnana, in which the starting point is Jnana: it is by Jnana that Sat is ultimately realised as immortality. In the very 2nd chapter Karma is introduced, and although the 2nd chapter ends with some kind of emphasis on knowledge, which causes a problem in the mind of Arjuna, and says that if you think that knowledge is superior to action then why do you throw me into this ghore karma. Then the 3rd chapter gives you an explanation of the relationship between knowledge and action, and then He says that although the path of knowledge is a path that can lead you to the top, action also leads you to the top but I prefer the path of action.

Why does He prefer that path of action? Because the standpoint is the standpoint of the war, in which all of them are engaged, and the question that Arjuna has raised is: what I should do in regard to the war? So, the question is related to his action: what am I to do? So, if your standpoint is of an action then action is preferable because you are here. So, that is the fundamental point that is made in the 3rd chapter, and then the whole Karma Yoga is expounded. In the 2nd chapter also there is an exposition of Karma Yoga, but it is only preliminary.

We had said already that the 2nd chapter Karma Yoga only tells you that without desire for fruits of action, you act: you have a right only to action and not to the fruits of action. Second that you have to attain to equality: samatvaṁ yoga ucyate (2.48). And even when you do not have desire for fruits of action, do not neglect action: yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam (2.50). These 3 statements are the important statements of Karma Yoga that we expounded in the 2nd chapter.

The 3rd chapter we have now an exposition of Karma that even with regard to action, towards which we have been told you have a right, even that action, you really don’t have the right. And the whole 3rd chapter it is explained as to what is Karma. And it is explained that the whole karma is nothing but a sacrifice: the whole world is only a sacrifice. The Sat has made a Sacrifice as a result of which Chit is broken up as it were, from its immobility and made mobile. So, the whole world is actually the sacrifice of the Supreme. And then there is a cycle: because the Sat has sacrificed Himself, and action has emerged out of It, all of us which are in the midst of action, they always turn towards the Sat. It is a cycle, we are all thrown up by that Reality and then we return to it, and He throws up and we again return to it: this is the cycle and this cycle is represented by action. So, action starts from whom? From the Divine. So, you do not even have the right to action. Therefore, considering this principle, when you think, “I am the doer”, you offer it back to the Divine because this is the real Reality. So, Karma Yoga is nothing but offering to the Divine, sacrifice yourself to God, to the Divine. This is the central teaching of the 3rd chapter.

And then in the end of the 3rd chapter we have the secret manifestation of the end of this movement of yajñā. When you read the highest developed yajñā, again and again, repeat again and again, then you will realise that you are not the doer: Supreme is the doer, and you are only the instrument of the Divine. In other words you become born into the Divine and you have the capacity of doing the Divine’s actions. Or you can say that the Divine acts Himself through you. So, divyam janma, divyam karma, that is the starting point of the 4th chapter. So, it is as it were, a culmination of the Karma Yoga is to be found in the 4th chapter.

And therefore Sri Krishna says that, “Actually speaking the divyam janma, the divine birth, in which you now no more feel that you are an actor, that is called ‘the divine birth’, you enter into the divine consciousness, in which you do not feel that you are the doer, anything in fact, you are only an agent, when this consciousness arises you are born: divyam janma. And then having reached that state of consciousness, whatever happens is: divyam karma, in that state of consciousness, not in our present state of consciousness. When we reach that state of consciousness then whatever happens is divyam karma. In order to explain this, Sri Krishna gives His own example and says: “Look, My consciousness is divine, and My consciousness manifests itself in action, and if you examine Me, you will find what is divine consciousness and what is divine action”. So, He gives His own example.

It is in that context that we have the whole philosophy of Avatar, in which Sri Krishna says: “If you really want to know what is divine consciousness, what is divine action, you will attain best when you know the secret of Avatar”, on which we have delve at length, in which now the important point that is left at the end of all this teaching is that you cannot attain to divine birth and divine action, unless you consciously know the divine birth and divine action: there is no such thing as being unconscious and yet you are in divine birth and divine action.

It is only when you are fully aware; when the Chit-Shakti, Shakti becomes aware of Chit, and Chit is united with Sat, only in that condition you have the real divine consciousness and divine action. Therefore now, the remainder of the 4th chapter is in praise of Knowledge: you cannot have the divine birth and divine action without possessing the Knowledge. And this is where we are now.

So, if you now turn to 4th chapter, verse 32, we can now read this more easily and rapidly without the need of any comment because all that is there is already easily understandable. Now, you can see 4th chapter, 32:

eva bahuvidhā yajñā vitatā brahmao mukhe |
karmajān viddhi tān sarvān eva jñātvā vimokṣyase ||4.32||

“Thus from the mouth of Brahman all these different types of sacrifices have proceeded. Know them all to be born of Karma. Thus knowing you will become liberated.”

So, now the emphasis falls upon knowing: “Thus knowing you will become liberated.” You may know all yajñā(s), but if you are not aware if you do not “know”, then all your yajñā(s) are useless. At least it will not give that kind of liberation that is to be sought after: “Thus knowing you will become liberated”, so the key word is, ‘thus knowing’: evaṁ jñātvā vimokṣyase.

Now, the next one is an elucidation of this:

śreyān dravyamayād yajñāj jñānayajñā parantapa |
sarva karmākhila pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate ||4.33||

There are different kinds of yajñā(s): in some yajñā(s) you offer dravya, all material things. But greater than this kind of a sacrifice is jñānayajñāḥ. We are sitting now today in a kind of a jñānayajñāḥ: this kind of yajñā is even greater than a sacrifice, in which you only do all kinds of offerings of material things. When you are all becoming aware of the Reality, we are participating in that great Knowledge that is much greater. And then Sri Krishna says:

sarva karmākhila pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate

In any case, even if you do all kinds of actions, there is no end of actions, action leads you to action, and action leads you to action. If you want to come to a resting place, all action ultimately parisamāpyate, it attains to its highest resting place: jñāne, in the Knowledge. This one sentence is one of the famous sentences of the Bhagavad Gita:

sarva karmākhila pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate

All action, sarvaṁ karma, all action, not only prescribed actions, not only good actions, not only bad actions: sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ, whatever paths you have, wherever you are, if you want a resting place, resting place is in jñāna.

Question: The knowledge here would mean the knowledge of the Divine?

Now, this is a multi-million dollar question, this is a very important question: what is the meaning of jñāna? Sri Krishna is a great teacher and little by little He expounds His knowledge, whatever He has to expound. In the first 6 chapters, the word jñāna is used and we, as docile pupils, are supposed to understand what it means, although we really don’t understand. But you know, in the study of any subject, you cannot define all the terms at the outset: this is the difficulty of any process of study. Of course many people write down first of all, all definitions in the very beginning. But then if you examine these definitions, every definition will raise the question: what does this word mean? To understand which again you have to go to another definition, when you come to that definition, you have to go back again to another definition. So far as a good teacher He expounds with use of words (this is the difficulty of verbal exposition), you have got to use words, and you cannot explain everything at one breath.

Now, when you have raised this question: “What is that meant exactly by Knowledge?” The answer to this question comes only in the 7th chapter: what is jñāna? In fact 7th, 8th, and 9th, and 10th, these chapters are expositions of jñāna. At the present moment you can say jñāna here means: Knowledge of the divine birth, divine action and all of them starting of the divine: brahmaṇo mukhe, everything is from…in the Brahman. The giver is the Brahman; receiver is the Brahman. This awareness, this jñāna, is sufficient for us to understand the word jñāna here, for the present. But if you ask the question: what is jñāna? Then we have to read the 7th, 8th, 9th particularly these 3 chapters.

Because there Sri Krishna says: “I will now expound to you Knowledge aśeṣeṇa, ‘without remainder’. So once you know this nothing more remains to be known.” And then He says: “I will expound to you jñāna vijñānena saha: I will tell you what is jñāna, and what is vijñāna; jñāna and also its vistāra: vijñāna means vistāra, that which is vistṛta; knowledge and further knowledge and the totality of knowledge, all that I will tell you without remainder, and after knowing which there is nothing that you will not know”. Such is the great thing that Sri Krishna does in the 7th, 8th, 9th , 10th chapters, until this jñāna vijñāna comes to such a point…then in the 11th chapter Sri Krishna is obliged to manifest Himself and says: “This is…when you have seen this, this is Me”. And when he sees that Reality, Arjuna is bewildered, and he sees no beginning of it, no end of it, and he sees wonderful things, and hundreds of mouths and hundreds of things, and thousand of things coming and thousand going out: this awareness, this knowledge is what Sri Krishna means here, although expounded latter on. But when you ask this question: what is this jñāna? This is the jñāna: “sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate, all actions, O Arjuna, ultimately ends in Knowledge.”

Now, this knowledge: how is one to attain? Karma of course is the path, by which you come to know this, because sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ jñāne parisamāpyate, all action ends in this knowledge. So if you go on doing action rightly, then you get this Knowledge. But this Knowledge can also be attained by a special process of Knowledge itself: jñāna also ends in jñāna; not only karma ends in jñāna, jñāna also ends in jñāna. And therefore now, there is an exposition of how you are to attain to that Knowledge by the process of Knowledge. What is the difference between Karma yoga and Jnana yoga? In Karma yoga you use action as the means of arriving at Knowledge; in Jnana yoga you use Jnana itself as the process, as the instrument of Knowledge. Now, this Jnana yoga is now expounded and that is why the whole chapter is designated ‘Jnana Yoga’. Actually, exposition starts only now of Jnana yoga, till that time, it is only Karma yoga; but now the culmination comes to knowledge and then, having explained what is the ultimate result of karma, Karma yoga, now the exposition of Jnana yoga starts.

So now, let us see:

tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā |
upadekyanti te jñāna jñāninas tattvadarśina ||4.34||

How will you come to know Knowledge? praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā; this is also a very famous sentence of the Bhagavad Gita. If you want to know, paripraśnena, you should question and question again, and again, and again, paripraśnena. Actually since we have started the whole Bhagavad Gita, we are doing this process of paripraśnena, again and again. I am expounding one thing, then again I am expounding again, and expounding another again, and expounding the same thing again: there are so many repetitions because they are necessary. Without repeating, without repeated questioning, at every time a question arises, we need to reiterate the same thing, but in the context of that question: therefore paripraśnena.

But paripraśna with what attitude? praṇipātena: with submission. There is a difference between questioning with the attitude of doubt, for the sake of questioning. You question because it is the fashion to question; a statement is made and he says: how? Why? What? Anybody can ask very easy questions, and you seem very intelligent. If you ask the question why, what, and how, which you can raise in regard to any statement, which is made, it is the easiest thing the human mind can do. But that questioning should be praṇipātena sevayā, it must be with the attitude of submission, which is keen to answer, which is keen to get the answer. In the fashionable questioning, you are not keen to find the answer; you are only trying to show your superiority by putting the maker of the statement that he cannot answer your question: that is all.

But a real questioner is one who is really in need of an answer. You cannot live without the answer. Mere questioning is not important, this is the finding of the answer that is important, and that finding of the answer comes only when you have this attitude: praṇipātena, when there is the submission, you really want to know, because without knowing you cannot remain. Like Arjuna had to find the answer, therefore he submits to Sri Krishna: his questioning is not an idle question, it is not a sceptic’s question, it is a questioner who really wants the answer so he arrives at a resting place.

And how do you know this praṇipāta is a sincere one? It must manifest in sevayā: unless you do service, unless you want to give your body, life, mind, everything in submission, your questioning is still an idle question. So, this attitude of praṇipāta, of your submission is in sevayā. Therefore in these 3 words Sri Krishna has explained how you attain to Knowledge, with what attitude you can attain to Knowledge:

tad viddhi praipātena paripraśnena sevayā |

upadekṣyanti: they will then give you advice, they will tell you what it is; te jñānaṁ jñāninas tattvadarśinaḥ: those who are tattvadarśinaḥ, those who have seen the essence, fundamental Reality, those who have seen the Sat, they are jñāni, and if you approach them with praṇipātena, with seva, with paripraśna, then they will tell you and you will attain to Knowledge.

yaj jñātvā na punar moham eva yāsyasi pāṇḍava |

yaj jñātvā, what is the criterion that you have attained to Knowledge? The criterion that you have attained to knowledge is that havingkKnowledge, attained to that Knowledge, na punar moham evaṁ yāsyasi, you will have no bewilderment: this will be the test, as long as you have bewilderment, as long as you have perplexity, know that you have no Knowledge. That is why intellectual answers do not satisfy us; because this knowledge is that knowledge, it is like a cure, so that having taken the medicine that is the real cure, the problem does not remain, so:

yaj jñātvā na punar moham eva yāsyasi pāṇḍava |

O Arjuna, you will not afterwards enter into any kind of moha, any kind of perplexity.

yena bhūtāny aśeṣeṇa drakyasy ātmany atho mayi ||4.35||

This is again one of the most important statements, very short but you might say the whole Knowledge is described here; jñāna vijñānena saha, all that is to come later on, is given in one line here, yena bhūtāny aśeṣeṇa drakṣyasy, you will then see; bhūtāny aśeṣeṇa, then nothing more remains, no remainder remains: all the bhūtā(s), everything that you see in the world, you will see. See how? ātmany: you will see all that in the Self. When you see everything in the Self even that is not enough, you will see the Self is basically ‘the Immobile’. It is mobile also, but the essence of the tattva is immobile: you will see all this in ātmani, you will see that all this has come from the Immobility. But it is not enough; atho mayi, then you will rise to a higher level and you will find that all this is not merely immobile, you will find Me, who is both ‘Mobile and Immobile’: you will find that they are all in Me.

So, there are 3 stages of our procedure: we only see bhūtāny, we see only the world, the creatures of the world as they are, which create all kinds of bewilderment. So long as you see only mobility…mobility since it arises out of immobility, in mobility there is no rest and therefore no knowledge: the real knowledge arises only when you attain to Chit. But even that is not enough unless you go to Sat. Therefore, ātmany atho mayi: these two words are golden words in the Bhagavad Gita. That first you see all of them into the ātman: Atman means the Immobile Self. There is one Self, there is no multiplicity in it; all multiplicity will be seen as one. Unless you see Oneness, there is no knowledge: knowledge of multiplicity as multiplicity is not knowledge. When you see multiplicity in One, as One, emerging from One, that is the definition of Knowledge.

This is a repetition of what we have done in Isha Upanishad, where we had the path of knowledge and path of ignorance. If you merely see Oneness, you are led into greater darkness. If you only see multiplicity you are led of course into darkness. It is only when you have both avidyā and vidyā, when you see all multiplicity in Oneness, and Oneness manifesting as multiplicity, then only amṛtamaśnute, then only you attain to immortality. So, ātmany atho mayi, first you see all these things into oneness, but even above the Oneness is Myself, I am Purushottama. It is only when you know Me, then only moham evaṁ yāsyasi, then only you will not go to moha again. In these 2 sentences he has given the definition and the real mark, testing of knowledge:

yaj jñātvā na punar moham eva yāsyasi pāṇḍava |
yena bhūtāny aśeṣeṇa drakyasy ātmany atho mayi ||4.35||

“First you see all this as rooted in the Self, and you see even the Self, rooted in Me, in the Purushottama, then you will really have the true Knowledge.”

api ced asi pāpebhyaḥ sarvebhya pāpakttama |
sarva jñānaplavenaiva vṛjinaṁ santariyasi ||4.36||

“Even if you are besieged, drenched with all kinds of evil actions and sins, yet if you get a boat in the form of Knowledge, then you will santariṣyasi, you will able to cross all the evils of the world, evils of your own self, all the sinful actions of yours.”

Such is the power of Knowledge. When you know this, then where is pāpa? You are completely liberated: such is the power of Knowledge!

yathaidhāsi samiddho’gnir bhasmasāt kurute’rjuna |
jñānāgni sarvakarmāi bhasmasāt kurute tathā ||4.37||

“Just as all the materials, all the wooden sticks, which are thrown into the fire, they all become reduced to ashes…bhasmasāt: all becomes bhasma. Why? Because of Agni; Similarly jnana is like agni. When you put all actions into the Agni, (that is the importance of yajñā), you take all actions as agni, then all actions will turn into jñānā. In that jñānā, all actions will be burnt away to ashes, therefore you will become free from actions:

jñānāgni sarvakarmāi bhasmasāt kurute tathā ||

“This Knowledge is like the fire, in which if you put all your actions, then they all become reduced to ashes and therefore no karma remains.”

na hi jñānena sadṛśaṁ pavitram iha vidyate |

“There is nothing, which is pavitra, which so sacred like jñāna, like knowledge, jñānena sadṛśaṁ pavitram, there is nothing which is pavitra, so sacred as Knowledge.”

tat svaya yogasaṁsiddha kālenātmani vindati ||4.38||

“When you are matured, yogasaṁsiddhaḥ, when you become a great karmayogi, then in due course of time you arrive at it, at the Knowledge. When you attain the highest step of Karma yoga, then at the end of it is Knowledge.”

You will see here again the exaltation of knowledge, as if knowledge is the supreme thing to be attained.

śraddhāvālabhate jñānaṁ tatpara sayatendriya |
jñāna labdhvā parā śāntim acireṇādhigacchati ||4.39||

Who attains to this Knowledge…Already we have been told to attain to knowledge: praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā, by submission and by service, and by questioning again and again, you will attain to Knowledge. But this happens only when there is praṇipātena sevayā, which comes from a deeper root, the deeper root of praṇipāta, of submission; deeper root of sevay śraddhā.

śraddhā is no blind faith as it is very often understood: śraddhā is an irreducible perception, which every one of us possesses, irreducible perception, which every one possesses even before knowledge comes to us. It is a perception therefore a kind of knowledge, but a kind of knowledge, which you have before knowledge, and its qualities…it is definite and certain: the perception that you have, which has the characteristic of definiteness and certainty, even before you have the knowledge. All else, which is called śraddhā is a wrong definition of śraddhā, (that you believe and this etc…blind faith), there is a real perception. Every one of us possesses it. It is covered very often, therefore śraddhā is not manifest; śraddhā comes to us only at the moments of great crisis. Each one knows basically the Supreme, even before our knowledge, we know, we have the perception of the Supreme.

When Draupadi arrived at a stage of complete crisis, when she felt that she had nothing now left in the world to hold her, that which was in her heart, which she knew, or she did not know perhaps, she was not aware of it, but which was present in her, which cried out to Sri Krishna for help. There is always in our heart a knowledge that we cannot be destroyed: we are indestructible, we are immortal: amṛtasya putrāḥ, we are…

Chapter 4—Verses 39-42

There is an immortal perception in us, that we are immortal, that we are held by the Divine. This is even in the heart of the sceptic, of the atheist. He may not admit it; he may not be aware of it, but you will find this present in each one of us. But because it is covered, it is not manifest. So, the only difference between an atheist and the other one is: the atheist has got śraddhā, but he is not aware of it: it is covered. One who is a real śraddhāvān is one whose covering is gone. He has reached that point, where he has come to that crisis. In one way or the other, all those who have got a real śraddhā have reached a point where the crisis is being felt, and there is an intense earnestness to overcome that crisis, and there is a perception: “I am immortal, I cannot be destroyed, whatever may happen, I remain immortal. It cannot be robbed by anybody because my nature is immortal.”

This śraddhā, one who has reached this point, is the fundamental condition of your attaining to true Knowledge. When you have this perception, but you are not yet known. This perception is there in your consciousness, there is uncovering of that perception; that much you have achieved. But you have not yet seen, you have not yet realised. But this state is such a state in which there is definiteness and certainty; therefore it can also be called “blind” in that sense: to be certain and definite without seeing is a blind certainty, that why faith is called blind in that sense.

Faith is always blind in this sense: it is a perception of certainty and definiteness before knowledge has come. And Sri Krishna says that everyone has got it but is covered, but when it is uncovered, then it opens up your path of true Knowledge. So, the starting point is śraddhāvān. Those whose śraddhā is not yet uncovered, Sri Krishna says: “Don’t even teach them what I have taught you”, this is at the end of the Bhagavad Gita. It is irrelevant to them, they are not in that crisis, they do not need this Knowledge: why do you want to give it to them! But those whose perception has arisen, in whom the jijñāsā has started: the very fact the jijñāsā has started and this earnestness means śraddhā is awake. So, Sri Krishna says:

śraddhāvānl labhate jñāna (4.39)

“The Knowledge is obtained only by śraddhāvān.” One who has got a śraddhā, but śraddhā of this kind.

This śraddhā is to be distinguished from what is called “barren belief”. Those who say “I believe in God” cannot be defined merely as śraddhāvān. They have only mental opinion of God: God exist or does…they can debate. They can give you proof of existence of God if they want. But it is not śraddhā in the sense in which it is used here. The mark of the true śraddhā is: that śraddhā is a dynamic force; it pushes you towards realisation. The true śraddhā is one, which does not rest by belief. It does not say: “I believe” and that is the end of the matter: that is a barren belief. It does not produce the result of Knowledge. The belief, which does not get transformed into knowledge, is a barren belief. People may call it śraddhā, but it is not śraddhā in the true sense of the term. The true śraddhā is one, which is dynamic, which is forceful, which constantly presses you until that about which you are certain and definite without knowing, you come to know. Until you reach that point, the śraddhā constantly pushes you. That is the meaning of śraddhā: a dynamic force, which arises from perception, with definiteness and certainty, even before the Knowledge is attained.

When you are in that state…such was the case of Arjuna, therefore he got into all this. He was in a crisis, and he knew that this crisis has got to be overcome, that is why he turns to Krishna: “You will be able to solve it; kindly tell me”, therefore he attains to the Knowledge. So, He says:

śraddhāvān labhate jñāna tatparaḥ sayatendriya |

This is another mark that, one who has śraddhā, he is keen to suppress everything else, saṁyatendriyaḥ. Anything that we are doing is by indriya, by the organ of senses or action; so, one who is keen to know really is prepared to fling everything aside, that is why he is able to control all his senses.

jñāna labdhvā parā śāntim acireādhigacchati ||4.39||

“…And having attained Knowledge, jñānaṁ labdhvā, having attained Knowledge, parāṁ śāntim ādhigaccati, he attains to the supreme peace.”

Because Jnana is Chit, is Immobile. “…He get it into a state of Immobility; acireṇā, without delay.”

It is not as if you get knowledge and then there is a waiting period when you become fully quiet; acireṇā, as soon as you attain to the Knowledge, that will be the mark, quietude, complete silence, release, harmony, peace will be attained.

ajñāścāśraddadhānaśca saśayātmā vinaśyati |
nāyaṁ loko ’sti na paro na sukhaṁ saṁśayātmana ||4.40||

Now, this is a negative statement: just as śraddhāvānl labhate jñānaṁ, now Sri Krishna says: “ajñāḥ, one who is ignorant, and one who is āśraddavāna, and one who does not have the faith; he has saṁśayā, he has doubt and remains in doubt; vinaśyati, he perishes.”

nāya loko ’sti na paro na sukhaṁ saṁśayātmanaḥ ||

“For him there is neither this world, nor another world, he never attains to happiness because he is full of doubts and he is not earnest to get rid of doubt; he doubts simply.” This is the worst condition of a human being, when he has learned the art of doubting, but he has no desire to find out the Truth.

In the theory of education, it is said: “Make children question”, as if this is the highest goal. There is nothing wrong in putting this idea to children that he should question! Fine! But it is as if the price is given simply because he is questioning. That is the limitation of this educational theory. We should tell the children: “Question until you find the answer.” That is the true educational theory. Mere questioning is this: na sukhaṁ saṁśayātmanaḥ, simply questions, and questions, and questions…he will attain to no happiness.

yogasaṁnyastakarmāṇaṁ jñānasaṁchinnasaṁśayam |
ātmavantaṁ na karmāṇi nibadhnanti dhanañjaya ||4.41||

“One, yoga-saṁnyasta-karmāṇaṁ, by means of Karma yoga, saṁnyasta-karmāṇaṁ, whose all actions have been renounced…” We have seen that in the jnana-agni, all the actions are burnt away, renounced. So, when you do Karma yoga, all Karma yoga ends into knowledge, knowledge is like agni, in which all actions are burnt away. Therefore by Yoga, when all the saṁnyasta-karmāṇaṁ, all actions are renounced, jñāna-saṁchinna-saṁśayam, because of knowledge all the saṁśaya is finished, chinna, is exhausted, is finished, destroyed; ātmavantaṁ, he attains into the Self. When you have attained to that state, na karmāṇi nibadhnanti dhanañjaya, in that state even if you do action, action does not bind you.”

This is the final answer to the question that was started in the earlier stage, where Sri Krishna says: “There are 2 paths: with knowledge you attain to freedom, but even while doing actions, you will attain to freedom.” So, how do you attain to it? All that has been expounded so far; and this is the answer:

ātmavantaṁ na karmāṇi nibadhnanti dhanañjaya ||

He does not therefore mean that now you remain sthita, only that, and therefore now in last sentence says that, “Even when now śāntim acireṇādhigaccati, you attain to peace, complete and you have renounced your actions, all your actions are all finished, exhausted, burnt away, now Sri Krishna says at the end:

tasmād ajñānasaṁbhūtaṁ hṛtsthaṁ jñānāsinātmanaḥ |
chittvainaṁ saṁśayaṁ yogam ātiṣṭhottiṣṭha bhārata ||4.42||

“Your heart is at present bewildered by ignorance: ajñāna-saṁbhūtaṁ hṛt-sthaṁ. You are situated in a condition of a heart, which is bewildered by ajñāna; jñānāsinātmanaḥ, by the sword of jñānā, chittva, you destroy ajñāna, by the sword of knowledge, chittvainaṁ saṁśayaṁ, you are bewildered by moha bewilderment, and it is resulted in saṁśaya.”

That is the beginning in the first chapter at the end, saṁśaya: “What should I do? What should I not do?” “It is only when you attain to this Knowledge that, saṁśaya, your doubt will be destroyed.”

Then, “yogam ātiṣṭhottiṣṭha, now you attain to Karma yoga…” Having said all this about knowledge, now the final word is: ‘that is not the end’. “…You attain to śanti, all karmas are gone, you have reached the highest Karma yoga; having done it, continue Karma yoga, yogam ātiṣṭhottiṣṭha, and then having taken recourse to Karma yoga, uttiṣṭha, now you rise and fight.”

It is because of this sentence that in the 5th chapter you start with arjuna uvāca, I take you to the two first two sentences in the 5th chapter, where Arjuna says:

sanyāsa karmaṇāṁ kṛṣṇa punar yoga ca śasasi |
yacchreya etayor eka tan me brūhi suniścitam ||5.1||

“O Krishna, saṁnyāsaṁ karmaṇāṁ, you taught me to get renunciation of all actions, how actions to be burnt away; punar yogaṁ ca śaṁsasi, then you say now can you start action. Yoga is Karma yoga then again you say now, punar yogaṁ ca śaṁsasi; yacchreya etayor ekaṁ, how to have these two, that one which is chreya, which is really better; tan me brūhi suniścitam, that you tell me suniścitam, definitively.” And he complains and says…in the second verse Sri Krishna will answer in one sentence:

sanyāsa karmayogaśca niśreyasakarāv ubhau | (5.2)

“Both Jnana and Karma yoga, both lead you to niḥśreyasa, freedom; tayos tu, however between the two, karma-saṁnyāsāt, merely renunciation of action is inferior; karmasaṁnyāsāt karmayogo viśiṣyate || (5.2), Karma yoga is much better, between the two.”

This, in one word He answers: ‘both of them will lead you to freedom, but if you want only one answer, this one is the best’. Why? Because you are in the field of action, which is the result of the Divine decision, not your decision. This whole world is in dynamic motion, what for? Divine has decided.

If He wanted only immobility, the world would have not come out at all, which was possible? So, if you only attain to the nivṛtti, then you have attained to that point from which God Himself has already departed. So, since karma is the climax of immobility, when you attain to immobility it is the climax of karma, but of nivṛtti, karma is the climax, this is the inter-relationship. Having attained to nivṛtti, if you still want to manifest, it is only by action that you can manifest; therefore karma is the crown of nivṛtti, as nivṛtti is the crown of all action. All action ends in nivṛtti, into immobility, all immobility manifests itself in action. For purposes of manifestation, action is the crown; for purposes of non-manifestation, Jnana is the crown, and both are justified, and unless you attain to immobility, you cannot have the power of action. Therefore, jnana is fundamental. Therefore without jnana you cannot even do Karma yoga properly.

We shall stop here today.