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32. The antiquity of the Gita dharma:

Some people are under the impression that this philosophy of karmayoga was newly preached by Sri Krishna and that it was not in existence earlier. They also believe that Vedas advocate karma alone while the Upanishads, the jnana alone, and that the Gita advocates yet another path different from both. But this is wrong. Sri Krishna says:
s @vay< mya te=* yaeg> àaeKt> puratn>,
sa ev˜yaÕ may˜ te'dya yoga× prokta× pur˜tana× -- IV-3
(I am preaching to you the ancient message of karmayoga.) In fact karmayoga with its twin principles of devotion and disinterestedness has been handed down from generation to generation from the Almighty Lord to Surya, from Surya to Manu, from Manu to Ikshvaku, and so on. There is nothing new in it. The Gita only reiterates the principles already laid down in the ancient Vedas and the Upanishads.
k…vRÚeveh kmaRi[ ijjIiv;eCDt~ sma>,
@v< Tviy naNywetae=iSt n kmR ilPyte.

kurvanneveha karm˜õi jijŸviÿecchataÒ sam˜×
evaÕ tvayi n˜nyatheto'sti na karma lipyate
-- Isavasya 2
The Isavasyopanishad in the above sloka, tells us in brief how to perform action without any bondage. The Gita only elaborates this point. This teaching which has come from the Sun and Manu should be honoured and followed by us, who are the descendants of Manu. The first man, Manu himself, to whose family we belong, showed us the path of karmayoga. Hence there is no doubt that in the interest of general welfare and social justice, it is absolutely essential for one and all to follow this ancient path of karmayoga.

33. The incarnation of God and its purpose:

Sri Krishna says that He preached this karmayoga to the Sun God at the beginning of creation. How could Krishna of Dwapara Age preach this to the Sun of an earlier age at the very beginning of creation? Sri Krishna explains this paradox.

Just as the individual soul has many births, the Lord has many incarnations. We should not think that we have only one life. Even when we are leading a righteous life, we face many hardships and sufferings. On the other hand, immoral and sinful people are seen leading happy and luxurious lives. Hence a doubt arises as to why we should lead the difficult and moral life? This doubt arises because we think of only one life. Even a thief may enjoy a grand life for one or two days after theft. A sick man may not find any improvement in his health after taking medicine only for one or two days. The experience of only a few days is too short to enable us to judge the ultimate result. We have to wait for quite some time to get the result of our actions. The same applies in the case of spiritual life also. In the extensive existence of the soul, a single life is but like a day. From the results seen in one day we cannot judge the true effects of dharma and karma. From a partial and one-sided view of our life and from the transient happiness and sorrow, we cannot draw any conclusion of lasting value. A half-finished painting or sculpture looks grotesque. Similarly from the unfinished and partial life we cannot judge the far-reaching results of morality and action. The scriptures say that the soul is eternal and our life is but a single fragment of its eternity. If we remember this we shall not be perturbed by temporary setbacks and pleasures and it will give us the courage to pursue our lives on sound moral principles.

Like the soul, the Lord also takes on many incarnations. He is not ordered or compelled by anything to take these forms. He does it out of His own free will and sweet desires. We do not know about our past and future lives but God knows all about His past and future incarnations. That is the difference between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul:
taNyh< ved svaRi[ n Tv< veTw pr<tp.

t˜ny-ahaÕ veda sarv˜õi na tvaÕ vettha parantapa
-- IV-5
Sri Krishna now proceeds to explain the purpose of His incarnations. We enter into activity for the fulfilment of some desire. But in God there is no unfulfilled desire. He is not wanting in anything. Hence His incarnation is not for any personal satisfaction or fulfilment. He is all-merciful. Out of compassion for the suffering humanity He takes on His incarnations. In our case, even when we are helping others, in our heart of hearts we may have some selfish motives. In ordinary people, the motive may be purely selfish, and in great men and holy men, the motive may be to acquire merit, and obtain the grace of God. Hence all people, big or small, have some motive, high or low, in performing action. If there is anybody in the universe who performs action solely for the good of others without any selfish interests it is the all-merciful God alone. His creation and playful incarnations are all motivated by extreme compassion for suffering humanity. There is no selfish motive in Him. There are different categories of soul, pure s˜tvika (saiTvk), impure t˜masa (tams) and passionately active r˜jasa (rajs). God takes incarnation for the glory of the pure souls.
yda yda ih xmRSy Glain-Rvit -art,
A_yuTwanmxmRSy tdaTman< s&jaMyhm!,,
pirÇa[ay saxUna< ivnazay c Ê:k«tam!,
xmRs<SwapnawaRy s<-vaim yuge yuge.

yad˜ yad˜ hi dharmasya gl˜nir-bhavati bh˜rata
abhyutth˜nam-adharmasya tad˜tm˜naÕ s®j˜myaham
paritr˜õ˜ya s˜dh¨n˜Õ vin˜þ˜ya ca duÿk®t˜m
dharma-saÕsth˜pan˜rth˜ya sambhav˜mi yuge yuge
-- IV-8
(Whenever righteousness lies prostrate and unrighteousness becomes rampant then to destroy the wicked and protect the good and to establish the rule of law and dharma, I incarnate myself in every such age.)

God is Almighty. He need not descend to earth. Sitting in His own place He can destroy the wicked. Still He takes on a human form and lives like a man in this world just to set an example for mankind. The mother can take the child in her arms and walk fast. But she prefers to walk slowly and lead the child by holding its hands and teach it to walk. So also, God in his mercy descends on earth, takes a human form and lives with men like men, and shows us the way to lead an ideal life. The purpose of God's incarnation is to teach us to live well. The Bhagavata says:
mTyaRvtar iSTvhmTyR iz][<,

marty˜vat˜ra stvihamartya þikÿaõaÕ

Why does the Lord kill wicked people in His incarnations? He is totally free from desire and anger and so, why does He indulge in such violence? Ordinary mortals have attachment of their physical bodies and so are subject to emotions like desire and anger. The king rewards those who praise him, he punishes those who criticise him and these are quite natural. But God is beyond these worldly things and He is not affected by any such feelings. Therefore would it be right if He, like ordinary kings and men, favour His devotees and punish His enemies? There is an answer to this question in the Bhagavata, Seventh Skanda.
svaRTmn> sm†zae ýÖySwanh<k«te>,
tTk«t< mitvE;My< inrv*Sy n Kvict!.

sarv˜tmana× samad®þo hy-advayasth˜nahaðk®te×
tat-k®taÕ mati-vaiÿamyaÕ niravadyasya na kvacit
-- 1 : 9 : 21
For the Lord who is beyond all worldly nature, there is no touch of any emotion like desire and anger. He is not perturbed by praise or blame. He is not overjoyed by any praise of Him, neither is He depressed by any blame. He is not moved by these passions when He punishes the wicked. The people who know the Truth and tread the path of righteousness are his devotees. The tamasa and rajasa souls spurn this truth, tread the path of unrighteousness and bring disorder in this world. They are the enemies of God. God protects the deities and His devotees and thus strengthens the satvik force; when He destroys the demons He only curbs the rajas and tamas spirit. His punishment or reward are not for any personal benefit which He has none and has no need. It is just to help the process of creation and evolution of the universe in the right direction that He strengthens the satvik forces and puts down the destructive forces, and this, in fact, is the noble purpose of His incarnation. Where is the scope for any emotions like desire and anger in this scheme of things? There is no room for any selfishness in His actions. In Bhagavata it is said:
sTv<suranIkimvEx yTyj>,
rjStmSkan! àih[aeTyuéKrm>.

satvaÕsur˜nŸkamivaidha yatyaja×
rajastamask˜n prahiõotyurukrama×

Seen from this point of view we cannot attribute any partiality or nepotism to God. Some people, acquiring dictatorial powers by their might, bring death and destruction on a mass scale and shake the very foundation of the just social order. If there is cancerous growth in any part of the body, the whole body suffers the pain. Similarly such wicked people with demonic forces cause suffering for the whole world. Suppression of such evil forces is absolutely necessary to save the world from catastrophe. When there is a tumor in the body it has to be removed by surgical operation. Similarly, destruction of such monsters who torment the people is not considered as violence but as a surgical operation to save the world. When we understand the difference between violence caused for selfish ends due to our own personal desire, and the destruction of the evil forces wrought by God for the protection of the good people and the establishment of the world in good, then all our doubts regarding the purpose of God's incarnation will disappear.

Thus the religion of the Bhagavad Gita is not something novel preached during the Krishna incarnation for the first time but it is only reiteration of an ancient and eternal religion preached by God Himself from the beginning of creation. Thus by dispelling all the doubts the Lord creates firm faith in and liking for karmayoga.

34. The difference between the individual soul and the Universal Soul:

This part of the Gita explains clearly the difference between the individual soul and the Universal Soul, the God. Even though the soul has spent many lives, man is not aware of these. Even in this life, he experiences pleasure and pain but he has no control over these. But God's incarnations are quite different. God takes incarnations of His own free will. He is not affected either by pain or pleasure. His incarnation is purely for the welfare of the world. In this activity, there is no loss of His knowledge, bliss and other auspicious qualities. From these fundamental differences we can easily see that the two are not identical. This difference has been emphasised in the Gita. Sri Krishna says that if we realise this difference and acquire true knowledge of His greatness and true Nature, then we can attain salvation.
vItrag-yKraexa mNmya mamupaiïta>,
bhvae }antpsa pUta mÑavmagta>.

vŸtar˜gabhayakrodh˜ manmay˜ m˜mup˜þrit˜×
bahavo jñ˜natapas˜ p¨t˜ madbh˜vam˜gat˜×
(Devoid of attachment, fear and anger, full of Me and finding their refuge in Me, many, having purified themselves through knowledge and asceticism, have attained a place in Me.)

Here the jnanis are called "manmaya" or "Bhagavanmaya". "Manmaya" does not mean those who are identical with God. In the very next half of the line there is the word m˜mup˜þrit˜× (mamupaiïta>) that is, "those that take shelter in me." This shows the difference between the jnani and Paramatma. One is the soul that seeks shelter and the other is the supreme soul that gives shelter. Those that give Him the highest place in their lives and those who see His function in the motion and existence of everything, are the true devotees (Bhagavanmayas).
zrvÄNmyae -vet!,
þaravattanmayo bhavet

The above is a quotation from an Upanishad. Just as an arrow penetrates into and sticks to its target, so alone our mind should penetrate and stick to God. When we say we are "Bhagavanmaya", full of God, we only mean we are established in Him. By this sort of establishment in God, we should get salvation which is but finding a firm foundation in God.

35. Jnanis and Traividyas:

The Gita now proceeds to describe the difference between those who have full knowledge of karmayoga and others. Jnanis worship the Supreme Lord with undistracted devotion. These have no desire for any worldly rewards. They do not pray to the lesser deities for worldly happiness. With the knowledge that there is one sole Supreme Lord of the whole universe, they just surrender themselves to Him whole-heartedly. Such people are known as Bhagavatas. Sri Bhimasena is unique among such Bhagavatas. We can see in his life the supreme embodiment of unwavering devotion to God. Archery did not interest Bhimasena. The archers have to invoke deities like Agni, Vayu etc. for the potency of their weapons, for the selfish gains of killing enemies. Bhimasena did not like this. For his personal gains he did not wish to beg of anybody - not even God. Therefore he took to his mace as a weapon whose potency depends only upon his physical strength and valour. In the village of Ekachakra, whereas the other Pandavas were begging alms, Bhimasena did not join them. He thought that those who lived by the Bhagavata dharma should not lead an undignified life. Those who did their God-ordained duty have automatically right over the society to demand what they needed:
i-]aqn< Zc ÷<karat! krvt! vEZytae=¢hIt!,
bhikÿ˜÷anaÕ þca huðk˜r˜t karavat vaiþyato'grahŸt
(He demanded his bhikÿ˜ (i-]a) with a thundering voice as a king demands his taxes from the vaiþya (vEZy).)

Just as the kings received the offerings by the subject as their right, Bhimasena also got his daily needs from the people without any anxiety or begging or losing any self-respect. Thus he never begged of either people or the gods for any of his personal needs. He bows only before the Supreme God. Thus does Bhimasena exemplify the principle that a Bhagavata should never lead a life of humiliation for the satisfaction of selfish desires.

Even before God, Bhimasena will not bow his head and ask for any worldly favours. In the Mahabharata war, after Dronacharya was killed, his son Ashwathama sent up his Narayanastra which was more potent than any held in the Pandava army. No one was able to stop it. It has the power to kill every one coming in its way. If any body keeps down his weapon and bows to this and pays homage, it would not harm him. As advised by Sri Krishna the whole of the Pandava army bowed before this arrow and thus saved themselves. It was the arrow bearing the name of God Narayana and since there is nothing demeaning for a king in bowing before the Supreme Lord Narayana, Bhimasena was also advised likewise. But Bhimasena was not prepared to bow even to God's own weapon just to save his life. He would not ask the Lord any favours barring spiritual knowledge, devotion and grace. He did not want to disarm himself and beg of the Lord to save his life. He had never asked anybody for any personal favours. Thus Bhimasena is regarded as an ideal personality who has completely assimilated the Bhagavata dharma to himself.

One may not go to the same extent as Bhimasena. But even if one gives up the worship of lesser gods for small favours and prays to the Supreme God for its own sake, even then he will be considered as a true follower of the Bhagavata dharma.

We see several who even if they know God to be supreme, have not realised Him as the omnipresent regulator from within and the prime doer. They pray to God only occasionally, and that too, for some petty rewards. Such people are called 'Trai-vidyas' (i.e. those who know only the superficial meaning of the three Vedas). They have some devotion but they do not have full knowledge of the greatness of God. They have not inculcated this devotion to God in their lives. Whenever they perform any deeds they forget the supreme doership of God and act under the illusion that they are the doers and that the petty gods reward them with fruits and that both are independent their hearts are stirred by desires for immediate fruits.

The Supreme Lord's ways of issuing rewards to the Bhagavatas and Trai-vidyas differ. The Bhagavatas worship God devotedly with full knowledge of His power and greatness. Whatever you may do and to whatever god you may pray, it all reaches the Supreme God Vishnu who is inside each and everything in this Universe.
svR dev nmSkar> kezv<àitgCDit,

sarva deva namask˜ra× keþavampratigacchati

Whichever god you may worship, the Supreme giver of rewards, however trivial the reward may be, is still the Lord Himself. There is only one God and He is inside all other Gods bearing their very names and forms. He is the prime mover behind all our actions. Whosoever you may worship, ultimately it reaches the Supreme God. But poor Trai-vidyas are not aware of this. Due to ignorance of the all-pervasiveness of the Supreme God, they run after different deities for small favours and even when they are worshipping the great God Himself they are not aware which God in fact they are propitiating.
mm vTmaRnu vtRNte mnu:ya> pawR svRz>.

mama vartm˜nu vartante manuÿy˜× p˜rtha sarvaþa×
-- IV-11
(They are all but treading my (own) path.)

But these aspirants too are on the right path to God. They are not aware that what they are worshipping is nothing but the Supreme God itself. God is fulfilling their petty desires also and rewarding them although not to the same extent as He is doing in the case of Bhagavatas.
ye ywa ma< àp*Nte ta< StwEv -jaMyhm!,

ye yath˜ m˜Õ prapadyante t˜Õ stathaiva bhaj˜myaham
-- IV-11
"I reward people according to their kind of devotion," says the Lord.

There is another category of devotees who do not go to lesser gods but nevertheless go to the Supreme God Himself, for personal favours. These people may not get liberation in this very life but they are on the right road to it. It is in any case better than leading a sinful life. For personal favours, instead of begging the rich and the mighty, is it not better to beg God Himself?
mm vTmaRnu vtRNte mnu:ya> pawR svRz>.

mama vartm˜nu vartante manuÿy˜× p˜rtha sarvaþa× -- IV-11
(Even the people performing desire-prompted action also tread the path which ultimately lead to Me.)

Being unable to bear the insult of his stepmother, the young boy Dhruvaraj proceeded to a forest, did penance and obtained the vision of God. So God exalts us if we turn to Him with the urges of desire. Dhruvaraj no doubt had God's vision and he enjoyed all the worldly and kingly pleasures but that did not satisfy him. He weeps for his folly of asking God for worldly pleasures instead of heavenly bliss. When God was capable of taking him completely out of the cycle of birth and death and open the very floodgates of His grace and benediction, Dhruva asked Him only for fleeting and momentary worldly pleasures. He therefore repents and spends the rest of his life in pure devotion and desireless action and ultimately reaches the goal. Hence aspiring souls, even if they turn towards God prompted by any desire, ultimately change their attitude and go in the right path toward God.

Therefore the Upanishads proclaim:
"iÿyadey<" "i-yadey<"
"hriy˜deyaÕ" "bhiy˜deyaÕ"

(Give, out of shame; give out of fear.)

At least out of shame, on seeing others give alms and donations, you also do it. Give away your wealth at least out of shame that while others are giving you are not; give at least out of fear of danger to happiness in this world and the other. This is what the Upanishads insist: do good deeds, be it out of shame or even with a desire for fame and prestige. It is better to do so, than do nothing at all.

Some people offer huge donations and perform religious ceremonies on a very grand scale. Others who are jealous of such people call this as exhibitionism. But even if it be for show, these people spend their hoarded wealth and distribute it among the poor. Is it not far better than the critics who do not have any generosity and only find fault in others who have? In short, the Gita says that any life which leads towards God is better than the one which takes one the other way.

36. The fourfold varna system as depicted by the Gita:

The cause for gradation in devotion and religious practices anuÿ÷h˜na (Anuóan) lies in God's own system of creation in consonance with the intrinsic nature and individuality of souls. God has not invented this difference or gradation. The individual qualities are natural and eternal; and it is but natural that there should be difference in the quality of aspirants in God's creation, which is based on a set of facts like intrinsic difference of souls.
catuvR{yR mya s&ò< gu[kmRiv-agz>,

c˜turvarõya may˜ s®ÿ÷aÕ guõakarmavibh˜gaþa×
-- IV-13

Sri Krishna says that He has Himself brought about this caste system in conformity with the nature and aptitude for work of the individual only. The superficial meaning of the above stanza is quite confusing. There is no reason for Sri Krishna to talk about caste system when he is describing the difference between people who perform action under the urge of desire and others who do it desirelessly. It is irrelevant, at this point, whether the society is divided into castes by birth or by qualities. So, we should not take the fourfold pattern to be wholly identical with the current caste system.

Besides, it is contrary to fact to assert that individual qualities and ways depend on the caste division. Serenity of mind and discipline of the body are not the exclusive prerogative of any one caste. They may be found in people belonging to all the four castes. It is quite possible to find a higher sense of devotion and good conduct in a Vaishya or a Shudra than in a so-called high-caste Brahmin. There is no total consistency between the classification of souls on the basis of intrinsic virtues mentioned in the Gita and the present caste system. And it would be unrealistic to forge a new system of castes on the basis of the intrinsic qualities and ways. One and the same person may behave in different ways in entirely different circumstances. In such a situation, it would be impracticable to go on changing the caste system from moment to moment, as the system is based on specialised cultivation, occupation and pursuit. Besides, it is also possible that much friction would be generated while determining the existence or absence of spiritual qualities. It may be possible to make use of the peculiar radiance of individual virtues while determining a person's attainment. If we try to restructure society on the basis of individual assessment, we are but courting perpetual conflict. Hence it is clear that we can not divide a community into different social classes and castes on the basis of individual nature. Nor is it possible to adjust the classification by qualities with the present caste system. For example, a Brahmin is supposed to possess some virtues. But we see in every day life instances in which such virtues as are lacking in Brahmins are amply found in Non-Brahmins. How can we say that these virtues are the prerogatives of only those who are born in a Brahmin family and not of others? It would be a sheer contradiction of fact. Hence we must examine carefully the exact import of Sri Krishna's reference to the caste system.

Sri Madhvacharya has explained this point clearly in his commentary on the Gita. He has explained that the four divisions of the caste system do not belong to the human body but to the soul; the souls are categorised into four groups depending upon their nature, quality and propensities. The good souls which are worthy of salvation are classified into four divisions. All these have a preponderance of the sattvaguõa (sÅvgu[) the differentia among them is due to the permutations of the qualities of rajoguõa (rjaegu[) and tamoguõa (tmaegu[) only, and on the basis of this difference of combination only they are classified fourfold. Devotion to God þamo-bhagavanniÿ÷hat˜ (zmae-gviÚóta) and control over the senses dama (dm) are basic to all. They are divided into four classes only on the basis of the degree of the two great qualities possessed by each. Such is the fourfold system, based on the intrinsic nature of the soul, propounded in the Gita.
Sva-aivkae äaü[aid> zmadErevi-*te,
yaein-ed k«tae-ed> }ey AaEpaixkSTvym!.

sv˜bh˜viko br˜hmaõ˜di× þam˜dairevabhidyate
yonibheda k®tobheda× jñeya aup˜dhikastvayam

(The natural differentiation into castes like Brahmins and others is according to the qualities of devotion to God etc., while the classification according to birth is conditioned by external factors.)

We can resolve the society into four classes like Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra in two ways. One is by birth, and the other by the inner qualities of the soul. The former classification is conditional or artificial while the latter is intrinsic. It is not proper to judge a man only by the accident of his birth. We should judge him by his behaviour, deed and character. The latter method of classification appears to be more natural and more enduring, as it is based on the essential nature of the soul and not on the physical attributes.

If categorisation into castes by birth is useful for social organisation and for the observance of religious ceremonies according to the prescriptions of the shastras, the division on the basis of the intrinsic nature of the souls is foundational being based on matters of spiritual practice and meditation.
Aixkíet gu[> zUÔe äaü[id> s %Cyte>,
äaü[aePyLp gu[k> zUÔ @veitkIitRt>.

adhikaþceta guõa× þ¨dre br˜hmaõadi× sa ucyate×
br˜hmaõopyalpa guõaka× þ¨dra evetikŸrtita×

Even though by birth one is a Shudra, if he is rich in noble qualities like self-control and serenity of mind he is verily a Brahmin from the point of view of the soul. On the other hand, even if he is a Brahmin by birth, if he is poor in these qualities, he is verily a Shudra. Thus an individual should not be measured by his caste and birth only. We should assess him on the basis of his conduct, his intensity of devotion and intrinsic virtues.

The physical body may be of a high caste Brahmin but it does not follow that the soul it covers is necessarily qualitatively superior. The import of the Gita is that the greatness of the soul is to be measured by the yardstick of virtues reflected in his good deeds and good nature. Therefore in the Bhagavata it is said:
ivàaid ;'gu[ yutadrivNdnat!,
padarivNdivmuoat! ñpc<viróm!.

vipr˜di ÿaðaguõa yut˜daravindan˜t
p˜d˜ravindavimukh˜t þvapacaÕvariÿ÷ham

A Pariah who is a devotee of God is far better than even a Brahmin if he is ungodly. In the Mahabharata parable of Dharmavyadha also it is stated:
yStuzUÔae dmesTye xmeRcsttaeiTyt>,
t<äaü[mh<mNye v&Äenih -veiÖj>.

yastuþ¨dro damesatye dharmecasatatotyita×
tambr˜hmaõamahammanye v®ttenahi bhavedvija×

A Shudra with noble qualities like self-control and truthfulness is indeed a Brahmin; a man is to be identified as a Brahmin only by his noble deeds. In answering a question by Yaksha, it is stated that virtuous character alone is the distinguishing cause of being a Brahmin. All this is not written to cry down the present caste system. Its main purpose is to highlight the importance of good character and conduct in identifying noble souls.

This does not mean the physical caste system in spite of its conditioning factors, laid down in our scriptures, is superfluous. It is most essential for determining the duties and responsibilities of each person and for religious pursuits. But we cannot determine the worthiness or otherwise of a soul for salvation just by considering his birth and caste. Even if we classify religious rituals and pursuits on the basis of the external attributes of caste and birth, we cannot determine the worthiness for salvation on that basis. We cannot also decide about the spiritual qualifications like devotion, prayerfulness etc. and the genuine honesty of a person on the basis of birth or caste. The one born as a Brahmin does not automatically possess great virtues like devotion and discipline. We have to assess a man only on the basis of right conduct and the particular combination of the three gunas. Good qualities and good nature should be discovered and honoured wherever and in whatever caste they are found. It is to enable us to identify this fundamental good nature among men that the Gita has laid down this categorisation. The caste system referred to in the Gita is not a classification based on accidental attributes of birth but a classification of good souls in our society. Such a classification which depends upon the essential, deeper qualities will bring about harmony among the members of the different communities for the good of the society as a whole, compensating for the gaps left by the caste system based on accidental features.

According to the Gita, the caste system is nothing but a community of noble souls. To them God has given physical bodies and other accessories and brought them into this world. Hence, He has helped us more than our parents and teacher. We should not forget such a Being and run after others inferior to Him for our worldly rewards. Hence all good souls are to be devoted entirely to the Supreme Lord of the Universe who is full of all the auspicious qualities. Forgetting Him we should not run after lesser deities, spirits or other persons for any worldly rewards. The Supreme Lord is one and only one. In Him we should have faith, confidence and devotion. We should not pervert our minds by worshipping a multitude of lesser deities. Hinduism does not cynically propound a polytheistic religion with a plurality of supreme gods as some think. It is clear that monotheism alone is the supreme import of the Gita. In the ninth chapter, this has been clearly explained.
ye=PyNydevta -­a yjNte ïÏya=iNvta>,
te=ip mamev kaENtey yjNTyivixpUvRkm!.
Ah< ih svRy}ana< -ae­a c à-urev c,
n tu mami-janiNt tÅvenatZCyviNt te.
yaiNt devìta devan! ipt¨NyaiNt ipt¨ìta>,
-Utain yaiNt -UteJya yaiNt m*aijnae=ip mam!.

ye'pyanyadevat˜ bhakt˜ yajante þraddhay˜'nvit˜×
te'pi m˜meva kaunteya yajantyavidhip¨rvakam
-- IX-23
ahaÕ hi sarvayajñ˜n˜Õ bhokt˜ ca prabhureva ca
na tu m˜mabhij˜nanti tattven˜taþcyavanti te
-- IX-24
y˜nti devavrat˜ dev˜n pit²ny˜nti pit²vrat˜×
bh¨t˜ni y˜nti bh¨tejy˜ y˜nti mady˜jino'pi m˜m
-- IX-25
(Even those who worship other deities and sacrifice to them with faith in their hearts, are really worshipping Me, though with a mistaken approach. For I am the only enjoyer and the only God of all sacrifices. Nevertheless such men must return to life on earth, because they do not recognise Me in my true nature. Those who sacrifice to the various deities, will go to those deities. The ancestor worshippers will go to their ancestors. Those who worship elemental powers and spirits will go to them. So also, My devotees will come to Me.)

Who are the other deities and who is the Supreme Lord, are explained here. By using the words m˜Õ (ma<) and mady˜jina× (m*aijn>) Sri Krishna reveals that He Himself is the Supreme Lord. From this it is clear that Sri Krishna is the Lord of all deities and receiver of all sacrificial offerings. If you worship lesser deities, you naturally get smaller rewards; even if the smaller deities are worshipped, these sacrificial offerings are received by the Supreme Lord Himself who is immanent in these deities and it is He who rewards the devotees; if He Himself is directly worshipped as the Supreme Lord Himself, the devotee will be crowned with the highest fruit of salvation.

37. Action and inaction:

The Gita gives the quintessence of karmayoga, discussed so far, so pithily in the following verse:
kmR{ykmR y> pZyedkmRi[ c kmR y>,
s buiÏmaNmnu:ye;u s yu­> k«TõkmRk«t!.

karmaõyakarma ya× paþyedakarmaõi ca karma ya×
sa buddhim˜nmanuÿyeÿu sa yukta× k®tsnakarmak®t
-- IV-18
"One should perceive inaction in action, and action in inaction" is the apparent meaning and it appears like a riddle. But the lines propound the essence of karmayoga in a nutshell. Whenever we perform action, the egoism that we are the doers of action is always with us. Even pious people who otherwise know that God is the doer of all deeds seem to forget, for a moment, that God is the prime mover. It is the forgetfulness of this aspect of God's activity that is the cause of man's egoism. Hence these actions become binding. Therefore when we perform any action, we should always remember that we are not doing these actions independently but it is the great work of the Lord functioning in these actions. If we remember God, there will be no room for attachment and egoism. That is what is meant by the idea that in action we should see 'inaction'. Even as we are engaged in physical activity our attitude should be that it is not our activity but God's. We should not only realise our own limitations but also see the hand of God in all the worldly activity. A means God. Hence akarma (AkmR) means God's work. For every activity in this universe there are two beings responsible: the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. A father takes hold of his son's hand and makes him write the alphabets. Here the mind and efforts of both the persons are involved. We have seen in everyday life joint efforts being put by two persons. The unseen hand of God is behind each one of our activities and we derive all our energy and inspiration from Him only. Thus in each one of our activities, both our efforts and God's power are combined, but with this difference, that God does not depend upon anything else for His powers whereas we are for ever dependent on Him for whatever we do. He is the object and we are His image. Unless the object moves, the image cannot move at all. Hence the source of all of our activities is God Himself.
iv:[aerevkmR -- nah<ict!àitib<b> ikÂTkraeim,

viÿõorevakarma -- n˜hañcitpratibimba× kiñcatkaromi
-- Gita Bhashya
Because we are not independent, even though we are actively engaged in any work, we are called inactive. But God is independent and for His activity he does not depend upon us. He is the real source of power behind all the states of our existence. Even when we are fast asleep or in a dream state, God's activity within us continues. In dream we see objects just as we see pictures in a movie. Who creates this dream world for us? We have no hand in it. God's work is behind all these and His activity is quite independent of us akarmaõicakarmaya× (AkmRi[ckmRy>). Even in the state of our inactivity, God's activity is ever continuing and keeps the Universe moving. Thus God's power perpetually works by itself without an ulterior dependence. The answer to the riddle of action and inaction lies in realising the weakness of the individual and the Lord's incessant activity and unfettered independence.

The same ideas can be derived by looking at the stanza in another way. Only the individual soul, who is governed by duties and responsibilities, is bound by the obligation of action. The soul who is bound by action is called 'Karma'. But the Supreme Lord who is beyond all action is called 'Akarma'. It is significant that God is called 'Akarma' since he is not bound by any rules and regulations and he is beyond all action. Even if any individual performs any action, he does it not by his own ability. Since he has no capacity for independent action in anything, it is said that the soul performs no action. All action is reposed in God who is beyond everything. He is the prime mover and He is the force and the energy behind every action in this whole universe.
n ÇteTvt!i³yteik<icnare,

na tratetvatkriyatekiñcin˜re
-- Rigveda 10-113-9
(Without God nothing moves in the Universe.)

-- IV-18
implies the independence and omnipotence of the Supreme God. This stanza asks us to remember always that we are utterly dependent upon God. God alone is the Independent Reality.

Many people have interpreted this stanza in their own way according to their fancy. "Doing action or not doing action are both an illusion. Even when we are doing action, that action is not real. Even when we think that we are not doing action, there will be action in us. Hence both action and inaction are not real. When we travel in a train, the distant trees and buildings seem to run in the opposite direction. But in reality they do not move. Similarly even if some activity is seen in us it must be deemed as unreal. A person at a great distance seems to be stationary even though he may be walking. We may be thinking that he is not walking but he is walking. Similarly we may be thinking that we are inactive but these imaginary actions crop up within us. Even though action may be unreal, we are never bothered by it." Even when the world of action always clings to us they say it is all unreal and imaginary. But we feel this to be a strange interpretation. How can we believe that when Krishna has been consistently advising Arjuna to perform his duty and in the rest of the discourse too he is insisting on the same theme, He could ever, at this stage, defying all consistency, give Arjuna a philosophy which denies the very world of action? If all that we do is as unreal as a dream then why indulge in it with faith and perseverance? If, after doing all this action with supreme effort, the whole fuss of action comes to nought, then will not one feel that it is better to keep mum? If Krishna had told Arjuna that both action and inaction are imaginary, it would have confused him further instead of goading him into action. We cannot expect such an irrelevant action from God Himself.
Ty®va kmR)las¼< inTyt&Ýae inraïy>,
kmR{yi-àv&Äae=ip nEv ik<icTkraeit s>.

tyaktv˜ karmaphal˜saðgaÕ nityat®pto nir˜þraya×
karmaõyabhiprav®tto'pi naiva kiñcitkaroti sa×
-- IV-20
This stanza explains the means of finding inaction in action. This stanza says that he who performs action without caring for the fruit of action, without any ego, is deemed as one who has not performed action.

Inaction does not mean forsaking action. Nor does it mean treating all action as illusory. The author of the Gita has clearly laid down here that performing duty without attachment or egoism itself is 'non-action'. If only we noticed this stanza which immediately follows, while interpreting akarmaõyakarmaya× paþyet (AkmR{ykmRy> pZyet!) we can easily grasp the meaning of the riddle-like stanza.

The Gita never propounds anywhere that either the world or the actions that we see are unreal. In fact such an interpretation is utterly contrary to the philosophy of karmayoga propounded by the Gita at every step. Everyone acknowledges that the Gita prescribes performance of action even to those who have attained God-realisation. The blessed Lord offers Himself as an example and says that everyone has to perform the duties entrusted to him.
k…yaRiÖ Öan! twa=sKt>,

kury˜dvi dv˜n tath˜'sakta×

The Gita clearly lays down that even the illumined soul should perform actions with detachment. Even Sri Sankaracharya who otherwise advocates the illusoriness of action and non-performance of action by all jnanis admits that this stanza (IV-20) imposes performance of action by a Brahma Jnani. There is thus no dispute about the fact that the Gita advocates performance of action even after the attainment of realisation. If action itself is illusory, how can the Gita advocate performance of action by a jnani? If action is illusory, there cannot be any illusion for a jnani and hence there cannot be any action for a jnani. A rope can be mistaken for a snake only till its true identity is revealed and not afterwards. If the world and the actions are unreal and illusory, they will disappear the moment real wisdom dawns. Whatever that remains even after wisdom is attained can never be untrue. If a jnani also performs some action in this world, then it is clear that both the world and the action are not unreal. The Gita advocates that the world of action which is performed even by those who have attained the knowledge of Brahman and the world itself which is the field of action, are real. Therefore, if anybody says that the sloka karmaNyalarmayaH pashyet.h advocates unreality of action, he contradicts the basic contention of the Gita.

38. Different kinds of sacrifice:

Action that is performed as a sacred duty and as a dedication to God who is independent, all-powerful and omnipotent, alone is true action. Such an action which is performed as a sacrifice does not conduce to bondage. There are many ways of performing sacrifice and Sri Krishna describes these in the fourth chapter.
ÔVyy}aStpaey}a yaegy}aStwapre,
Sva Xyay }any}aí yty> s<iztìta>.
dravyayajñ˜stapoyajñ˜ yogayajñ˜stath˜pare
sv˜ dhy˜ya jñ˜nayajñ˜þca yataya× saÕþitavrat˜×
-- IV-28
@v< b÷ivxa y}a ivtta äü[ae muoe,
kmRjaiNviÏ taNsvaRnev< }aTva ivmaeúyse.

evaÕ bahuvidh˜ yajñ˜ vitat˜ brahmaõo mukhe
karmaj˜nviddhi t˜nsarv˜nevaÕ jñ˜tv˜ vimokÿyase
-- IV-32

Actions performed with the sole purpose of pleasing God without desire and attachment, themselves are sacrifices. The sannyasis are not supposed to offer oblation to fire and perform sacrifice. But the sacrifice advocated in the Gita is open to all persons. The intense devotion of yogis, the sense-control and breath-control practised by the yogic aspirants and the intense study and lesson of the pundits are all sacrifices in one form or the other. Even the sense delights enjoyed by the organs are a form of sacrifice.
zBdadIiNv;yanNy #iNÔyai¶;u juþit,

þabd˜dŸnviÿay˜nanya indriy˜gniÿu juhvati
-- IV-26
(Some sacrifice the objects of sense, such as sound, etc. into the fire of the senses.)

Even our physical frame is a means for serving God and for that the body should be kept in a fit condition by partaking of good and wholesome food and thus, even eating without attachment becomes a form of sacrifice. As a mechanic oils the machine in order to make it work well, in the same way the jnani thinks of his body as a machine and feeds it with conducive food. In this case there is no scope for excitement or perversion of the mind. Eating food or any other routine activities of life done in such a healthy frame of mind are counted by the Gita as but versions of sacrifice.

In the Chandogya Upanishad the whole life is called a sacrifice. A holy person's life, in which all the activities of life are dedicated to God, is itself a supreme yajna. Wherever there is selflessness, wherever there is dedication, there is the essence of a yajna. It is but natural to call a holy person's life yajna since the very texture of his life is woven with such dedication. There is an important place for dakshina in a yajna. Without it, the yajna is not complete. In a true sort of life, truth, mercy and compassion are dakshina, says the Upanishad. Because of these virtues our life becomes full and consummate. The Upanishad describes death as avabh®tha (Av-&w), culminating holy bath, The real jnani engaged in perforAing these duties, is not afraid of death. He welcomes it with open arms as a great boon. The karmayogis joyously embrace death to fulfil the supreme perfection of life even as a person performing yajna spiritedly yearns for the avabh®tha (Av-&w) bath.

Thus the Gita has shown us the true import and significance of sacrifice in its most comprehensive meaningfulness. The Gita has taught us by diverting us from the voluptuous life and the narrow circle of life described by a sense of 'I' and 'mine', to live a life for the sake of others and in a spirit of dedication to the indwelling Lord of the world. To the ignorant people who think that yajna means pouring ghee into the sacrificial fire to attain worldly pleasures, wealth and even heaven svarga, the Gita has given a wider significance to the term. Even as Sri Krishna has revealed his infinite form to Arjuna during this discourse, the Gita has shown us here the infinite dimensions of yajna. In the usual yajna an animal is sacrificed. But in the sacrifice preached in the Gita, what we have to sacrifice is our beastly egoism and selfishness. Like the sacrificial goat the selfish man goes on crying me me (me me) "mine, mine". Our life has become a grazing ground for such a beast.
#dm* mya lBximd< àaPSye mnaerwm!

idamadya may˜ labdhamidaÕ pr˜psye manoratham -- XVI-13
(I have gained this today; I will again gain another later.)
#hNte kam-aegawRmNyayenawR sÁcyan!

ihante k˜mabhog˜rthamany˜yen˜rtha sañcay˜n
-- XVI-12
(They try to gain lots of money through unfair means to satisfy their sense desires.)

They always hanker after whatever they see in the world and they want to possess everything they see around them. "Today I have this, tomorrow I must have that. That is how it goes on." They multiply their wants. They stick to their positions of power by hook or by crook and for this they do not hesitate to commit even the worst of crimes. We see such deplorable people all around us. Unless we adhere to the teachings of the Gita in our day-to-day life we cannot cleanse this dirt from our body politic. Sacrifice your selfishness, dedicate all that you possess to God and perform your action as a worship for the good of mankind. This is the sacred sacrifice. This is true worship.
àat> à-&itsaya<t sayaidàatr< twa,
yTkraeim jgÚawtdStu tv pUjn<.

pr˜ta× prabh®tis˜y˜nta s˜y˜dipr˜taraÕ tath˜
yatkaromi jagann˜thatadastu tava p¨janaÕ
-- Pancha Ratra

Whatever we do from dawn to dusk is nothing but a form of worship of God. Gita does not advocate our going to church or temple once a week or once a day just for a short time and then for the rest of the day carrying on our sinful activities. Religion should pervade our whole life. Religion should not only be treated as a part of life but as its very soul animating all its aspects. The day-to-day, mundane life should not be isolated from the spiritual and moral life. The day-to-day life, led in a spirit of dedicated service to God in honesty and with a desire to do good to others, itself can become religion.

The story of Tuladhara narrated in the Mahabharata is a fitting illustration of this point. The Brahmin boy Jabali was puffed up with pride because of his learning and spirituality. He heard a voice from heaven taunting him that the merchant Tuladhara was superior to him. He then went to Tuladhara and found him sitting in an unpretentious way in front of his pair of scales. Even while he was hesitating to seek his advice, Tuladhara himself explained the reason for Jabali's coming over there. Jabali, utterly surprised, enquired of him the secret of his great insight. Then Tuladhara said: "I am an ignorant man devoid of learning or any occult powers. The scale which I hold in my hand every day is my teacher. In my business I do not cheat anybody. It treats all customers alike, be he a child or an old man, be he a relative or a stranger. It is due to my honesty even like that of the scale that I have acquired this spiritual power."
AÔaehe[Ev -Utana< ALpÔaehenvapun>,

adroheõaiva bh¨t˜n˜m alpadrohenav˜puna×

Without enmity for creatures, or with very little of it, Tuladhara explains his honest efforts to carry on his business without harming, as far as possible, anybody. In this life everybody has to engage himself in some business or the other but he could perform it with a sense of fairness and justice, is the great lesson we derive from the example of Tuladhara. This parable is one of my most favourite parables. The story contains the total truth and ideal of life. The story best exemplifies how religion can permeate every day life and how straightforward and practicable religion is. A spirit of sacrifice and dedication to God are the twin principles which will elevate our mundane activities into a form of sacrifice. That we should sanctify our lives by such activities is the central teaching of the Gita.

39. Knowledge itself is the Fruit of Sacrifice:

What is the purpose of such a sacrifice? What is the ultimate benefit of works performed in a spirit of sacrifice. Devotion and sacrifice become instruments of a higher purpose; they turn life into a pilgrimage to God. The final aim of all such works is the gift of the vision of God through a purification of the heart.
sv¡ kmaRiol< pawR }ane pirsmaPyte,

sarvaÕ karm˜khilaÕ p˜rtha jñ˜ne parisam˜pyate
-- IV-33
(All action culminates in knowledge.)

Among the various forms of sacrifice, jnana yajna has a special significance. Jnana yajna is nothing but a special effort to get the knowledge of God. Even if you are engaged in public service, it is necessary to set apart at least som time every day for it. When all the yajnas are performed with a view to acquiring knowledge, we should not neglect the activity of God-knowledge and resort only to a life of (knowledgeless) actions.
ïeyaNÔVymya*}aJ}any}> pr<tp,

þrey˜ndravyamay˜dyajñ˜jjñ˜nayajña× parantapa
-- IV-33
(The jnana yajna, - i.e., the yajna performed for the realisation of God - is far superior to the yajna in the form of sacrificing material wealth)

The yajna in the form of þravaõa (ïv[) and manana (mnn) is immensely superior to the yajna performed with worldly wealth. Without this jnana or wisdom, we will falter even in the discharge of our ordinary duties. Since, bereft of knowledge, we are likely to be led into delusion for lack of an awareness of the rightness or otherwise of our actions, we will have to depend solely on knowledge for the pursuit of even our daily actions.
SvaXyayàvcne @veit nakae maEÌLy>, tiÏ tpStiÏ tp>,

sv˜dhy˜yapravacane eveti n˜ko maudgalya× | taddhi tapastaddhi tapa×
-- Tai 1:9
In the Taittiriyopanishad it is stated that acquiring jnana or wisdom is a great form of penance. We find it difficult to concentrate our mind on God as we sit for meditation or worship. But when we are engaged in the reading or study of a book it is possible for us to forget everything else and get absorbed in it. Hence for acquiring a complete meditativeness the process of knowledge is an easier and more convenient means than any other.

If that were so, would it not suffice to pursue only the path of knowledge shunning the life of action? Why should we waste our time performing the various types of yajna spoken of in the Gita. Even if knowledge is the ultimate goal and even if the path of knowledge is supreme, we must remember that we can not reach that goal without the help of action. When it is said that the path of knowledge is the highest, we should not construe that it immediately follows that there is no need of the fruits of action. Reaping a good harvest is the ultimate aim of every farmer. For that he sows the seeds and grows the crops. But can he ever reap a harvest without cultivating the field and just planting the seedlings? He has to plough, water and do several other things and only by doing so can he get the fruit of his labour: Similarly we have to perform many actions, karmayajña (kmRy}), before we have reached God-realisation.
tTSvy< yaegs<isÏ> kalenaTmin ivNdit.

tatsvayaÕ yogasaÕsiddha× k˜len˜tmani vindati
-- IV-38
(Thus does the Illumined soul, cultivated by karmayoga, get to God in due course.) Since the Gita says that the one who has attained perfection in karmayoga alone will be worthy of knowledge, it is absolutely necessary to perform actions.

Thus, with rightful action and janana yajna in the form of þravaõa, manana and dhy˜na, (ïv[, mnn and Xyan) we achieve the interior cultivation which leads to the direct vision of God. Such a realisation rids us of all our sins which bind us down to the cycle of birth and death. Wittingly or unwittingly we commit a host of sins in our daily lives and our heart is soiled by it. The direct vision of God is the immortal stream that washes away all these sins and purifies us. Even if there is an unending pile of sins, it can be destroyed by the weapon of jñ˜na (}an). However deep the river may be, we can cross it with a small boat; however big a firewood pile may be would it ever be laborious for fire to burn it? Jnana is such a boat which ferries us across an ocean of sins and the fire which can reduce to ashes a whole pile of sins.
n ih }anen s†z< pivÇimh iv*te,

na hi jñ˜nena sad®þaÕ pavitramiha vidyate -- IV-38
(There is nothing here which is holier than knowledge.)

Is there anything in this world which is holier than jnana? We call pure water holy. The waters of the Ganges are considered supremely holy. They can only wash away the dirt that sticks to our body and mind. But even after the holy bath the body and the mind get soiled again. Even after a dip in the holy Ganges people commit sins and again pollute their minds. But the power of the direct vision of God is unique. It not only sweeps clean our past sins but also makes us immune from future sins.
tdixgm %ÄrpUvaR"yaerZle;ivnazaE tdœ£Vypdezat!,

tadadhigama uttarap¨rv˜ghayoraþleÿavin˜þau tad-vyapadeþ˜t
The Brahmasutra (4:1:13), quoted above, states that jnana not only eradicates the past sins but has the miraculous power of rendering us incapable of any future sins. Jnana plucks out the very root. The jnani will not be tainted by sin. That is why jnana is the holiest of the holies.

40. The doubter perishes:

To acquire such wisdom we should surrender ourselves to the guru who leads us on the path of knowledge. By service and inquiry with him we acquire such knowledge. Then by manana (deeper study) (mnn)  and nididhy˜sana (meditation) (inidXyasn) we can hope to reach realisation. For this, faith and devotion to truth are absolutely necessary. Where there is faith, doubts and defects can never raise their ugly heads. Faith does not mean blind belief. We could be said to be full of faith only if there is a congruence between the knowledge acquired through careful pondering with the deeds that we perform. When Nachiketa sees his father giving away as daana cows which are famished and useless,
t<h ïÏa==ivvez

taÕha þraddh˜''viveþa
-- Katha Upanishad 1:2
(Faith indeed entered him.)
faith enters him. He at once protests against his father's miserly acts. Once true faith or devotion to truth is awakened, the attitude of revolt against injustice and misdeeds naturally emerges in a man. A man of faith has no room for blind, superstitious obedience to the elders, Faith is nothing but the indomitable enthusiasm to work out a correspondence between one's own life and the philosophy one has acquired.

The Gita has expounded the significance of firmness in faith and knowledge by pointing out that a man given to doubt and contradiction and who looks upon everything, throughout his life, with doubt and suspicion can never achieve the supreme knowledge of God. It is necessary to base our devotion and religious practices on the foundation of faith. We can not get the true fruit if we do our religious meditation and shape our conduct with a vacillating mind. We spend a lot of effort and money for a good cause. But if it is devoid of faith, and done with snobbery we cannot reap the full spiritual benefit. On the contrary, it leads to mere waste of money and effort and mental anguish.
nay< laekae=iSt n prae n suo< s<zyaTmn>.

n˜yaÕ loko'sti na paro na sukhaÕ saÕþay˜tmana×
-- IV-40
(For the doubter, there is neither this world, nor the next, nor any happiness whatsoever.)

In the Mahabharata on several occasions Sri Krishna preaches to Dharmaraja, after an analysis of truth and untruth, that that action which conduces to goodness and beneficial to humanity alone is truth. Even if you tell a lie to save innocent people from the hands of dacoits it is but truth. Once some people hid themselves from dacoits who were chasing them. The dacoits asked a Brahmin, Kaushik, the whereabouts of these people. The Brahmin knew the hiding place and he blurted out the truth. For this he had to go to hell. In the interest of public welfare and of dharma even if you tell a lie, it has been sanctioned by Sastras as belonging to the rank of truth. Sri Krishna advises Dharmaraja to tell a lie in order to kill Drona. Dharmaraja was not fully in favour of this. Neither was he bold enough to discard the advice of Sri Krishna. So he slowly murmurs: "Ashwathama is dead" with great difficulty. For betraying a lack of faith in the advice offered by Sri Krishna, Dharmaraja has to suffer the sight of hell soon after his death.
ncait ivöM- AasIÄv k«:[vaKye,

nac˜ti visrambha ˜sŸttava k®ÿõav˜kye
-- Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya
Dharmaraja had to reap the bitter fruit of his action performed with a shaky mind.

One could cite a story in this connection. Kumarila Bhatta, believed in the Vedas and so he was opposed to the followers of Buddha (who disbelieved in the Vedas). Once, his enemies pushed him down from the balcony of the first floor. He fell down saying, "If the Vedas are an authority I shall not die." Fortunately he didn't die but he lost an eye. Kuntatila, no doubt, believed in the Vedas but there was some grain of doubt in his belief. By saying "If Vedas are an authority," he betrayed his lack of absolute faith in the Vedas. He did not say: "I believe in the Vedas and so, I am certain, no harm will come to me." If he had such certainty, nothing would have happened to him. He had to pay the bitter price of an eye for his infirmness. All good deeds must be backed by unflinching faith. We should see that the winds of doubt and contradiction do not get released. Actions performed under any delusion or with half-heartedness do not produce full results. With unflinching devotion and faith in God all obstacles will be overcome.
r]tITyevivñas> tdIyae=himit Sm&it>,

rakÿatŸtyevaviþv˜sa× tadŸyo'hamiti sm®ti×
-- Bhagavata Tatparya
(The faith that He does certainly protect, the sense that I am His.)

By a critical study of the scriptures we must first acquire faith and then find our duties and carry them out with determination. Arjuna was tormented by doubt and despair and had grown confused about his duty. It is to rid him of these and give him confidence that the Lord has elaborated on the destructive efforts of doubt and contradiction. He directs him to perform his rightful duties with faith, determination and purposefulness, rooting out confusion and delusion.
tSmad}ansM-Ut< ùTSw< }anaisnaTmn>,
iDÅvEn< s<zy< yaegmaitóaeiÄó -art.

tasm˜dajñ˜nasambh¨taÕ h®tsthaÕ jñ˜n˜sin˜tmana×
chittvainaÕ saÕþayaÕ yogam˜tiÿ÷hottiÿ÷ha bh˜rata
-- IV-42
(Therefore cut off, with the sword of knowledge, this doubt born of ignorance, take shelter in the karmayoga and stand up and fight, 0 Bharata.)

That is why the importance of true knowledge is specially described towards the end of the fourth chapter.

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This page prepared by  Ramadas
Created March 02, 2000; last modified March 08, 2000