Categories: Hindu Scripture

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4:Jnana Yoga

“Bhagavad Gita Chapter Four” is a special part of the sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita. In this chapter, the teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna focus on ‘Jnana Yoga,’ which means the path of knowledge. It is like a guide that helps people understand how to gain wisdom and insight through learning and self-realization. Let’s explore this chapter to uncover the wisdom it holds and how it can bring light to our lives.

Lord Krishna and Arjuna

Verse 1

sri bhagavaan uvaacha:
imam vivaswate yogam proktavan aham avyayam;
vivaswaan manave praaha manur ikshwaakave’braveet.

Synonyms

Sri Bhagavan uvaacha: The Supreme Lord said
Imam: This
Vivaswate: to Vivasvan (Sun God)
Yogam: Yoga (knowledge of self-realization)
Proktavan: instructed
Aham: I
Avyayam: imperishable
Vivaswaan: Vivaswan (Sun God)
Manave: to Manu (progenitor of humanity)
Praaha: spoke
Manuh: Manu
Ikshwaakave: to Ikshvaku (ancient king)
Abraveet: said

Translation: The Supreme Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of Yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshvaku.

Verse 2

evam paramparaa praaptam imam raajarshayo viduh;
sa kaaleneha mahataa yogo nashtah parantapa.

Synonyms

Evam: in this manner
Paramparaa: tradition
Praaptam: handed down
Imam: this
Raajarshayo: saintly kings
Viduh: understood
Sa: that
Kaalena: over time
Iha: in this world
Mahataa: through great
Yogo: science of self-realization
Nashtah: lost
Parantapa: O chastiser of the enemy (referring to Arjuna)

Translation: This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time, the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.

Verse 3

sa evaayam mayaa te’dya yogah proktah puraatanah;
bhakto’si me sakhaa cheti rahasyam hyetad uttamam.

Synonyms

Sa: that
Eva: certainly
Ayam: this
Mayaa: by me
Te: to you
Adya: today
Yogah: science of self-realization
Proktah: explained
Puraatanah: ancient
Bhaktah: devotee
Asi: you are
Me: my
Sakhaa: friend
Cha: also
Iti: thus
Rahasyam: confidential
Hi: certainly
Etad: this
Uttamam: transcendental

Translation: That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend; it is the king of all confidential knowledge.

Verse 4

arjuna uvaacha:
aparam bhavato janma param janma vivaswatah;
katham etadvijaaneeyaam twam aadau proktavaan iti.

Synonyms

Arjuna uvaacha: Arjuna said
Aparam: later
Bhavatah: Your
Janma: birth
Param: earlier
Janma: birth
Vivaswatah: of the Sun-God
Katham: how
Etat: this
Vijaaneeyaam: should I understand
Twam: You
Aadau: in the beginning
Proktavaan: taught
Iti: thus

Translation: Arjuna said: Your birth is recent, while the birth of Vivasvan, the sun-god, is ancient. How am I to understand that you instructed this science in the beginning?

Verse 5

sri bhagavaan uvaacha:
bahooni me vyateetaani janmaani tava chaarjuna;
taanyaham veda sarvaani na twam vettha parantapa.

Synonyms

Sri Bhagavan uvaacha: The Supreme Lord said
Bahooni: many
Me: my
Vyateetaani: have passed
Janmaani: births
Tava: your
Cha: also
Arjuna: Arjuna
Taani: those
Aham: I
Veda: know
Sarvaani: all
Na: not
Twam: you
Vettha: know
Parantapa: O chastiser of the enemy (referring to Arjuna)

Translation: The Supreme Lord said: Many births of Mine have passed, O Arjuna, and so have yours. I know them all, but you do not remember, O scorcher of foes.

Verse 6

ajo’pi sannavyayaatmaa bhootaanaam eeshwaro’pi san;
prakritim swaam adhishthaaya sambhavaamyaatmamaayayaa.

Synonyms

Ajo’pi – Even though unborn.
Sannavyayaatmaa – Eternal and imperishable soul.
Bhootaanaam – Of all beings.
Eeshwaro’pi – Also the Lord.
Prakritim – Nature.
Swaam – His own.
Adhishthaaya – Presiding over.
Sambhavaamya – Manifest.
Aatmamaayayaa – By His divine energy.

Translation: Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.

Verse 7

yadaa yadaa hi dharmasya glaanir bhavati bhaarata;
abhyutthaanam adharmasya tadaa’tmaanam srijaamyaham.

Synonyms

Yadaa yadaa – Whenever.
Dharmasya – of righteousness.
Glaanir – decline.
Bhavati – happens.
Bhaarata – O descendant of Bharata (Arjuna).
Abhyutthaanam – rise.
Adharmasya – of unrighteousness.
Tadaa – then.
Aatmaanam – Myself (Lord Krishna).
Srijaamyaham – I manifest.

Translation: Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.

Verse 8

paritraanaaya saadhoonaam vinaashaaya cha dushkritam;
dharma samsthaapanaarthaaya sambhavaami yuge yuge.

Synonyms

Paritraanaaya – For the protection.
Saadhoonaam – Of the righteous.
Vinaashaaya – For the destruction.
Cha – And.
Dushkritam – Of the wicked.
Dharma – Righteousness.
Samsthaapanaarthaaya – For the establishment.
Sambhavaami – I manifest.
Yuge yuge – In every age.

Translation: To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of dharma, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.

Verse 9

janma karma cha me divyam evam yo vetti tattwatah;
tyaktwaa deham punarjanma naiti maameti so’rjuna.

Synonyms

Janma – Birth.
Karma – Actions.
Cha – And.
Me – My.
Divyam – Divine.
Evam – Thus.
Yo – Who.
Vetti – Understands.
Tattwatah – In truth.
Tyaktwaa – Having abandoned.
Deham – The body.
Punarjanma – Rebirth.
Naiti – Does not attain.
Maameti – Me, attains.
So’rjuna – O Arjuna

Translation: One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.

Verse 10

veetaraagabhayakrodhaa manmayaa maam upaashritaah;
bahavo jnaana tapasaa pootaa madbhaavamaagataah.

Synonyms

Veetaraaga – Free from attachment.
Bhaya – Fear.
Krodhaa – Anger.
Manmayaa – Engaged in thoughts of Me (Lord Krishna).
Maam – Me.
Upaashritaah – Taking refuge in.
Bahavo – Many.
Jnaana – Knowledge.
Tapasaa – Through austerity.
Pootaa – Purified.
Madbhaavamaagataah – Having attained My divine nature.

Translation: Being freed from attachment, fear, and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge of Me—and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.

Verse 11

ye yathaa maam prapadyante taamstathaiva bhajaamyaham;
mama vartmaanuvartante manushyaah paartha sarvashah.

Synonyms

ye – they
yathaa – as
maam – Me
prapadyante – surrender
taam – unto
tathaiva – accordingly
bhajaamyaham – I reward
mama – My
vartmaanuvartante – follow the path
manushyaah – people
paartha – O son of Pritha
sarvashah – in all respects

Translation: O Partha, as people approach Me, so I receive them. All paths, Arjuna, lead to Me.

Verse 12

kaangkshantah karmanaam siddhim yajanta iha devataah;
kshipram hi maanushe loke siddhirbhavati karmaja.

Synonyms

Kaangkshantah – Aspiring
Karmanaam – Actions
Siddhim – Success or Achievement
Yajanta – Worship or Perform
Iha – Here or in this world
Devataah – Deities or Gods
Kshipram – Quickly or Swiftly
Hi – Indeed or Certainly
Maanushe – In human
Loke – World
Siddhirbhavati – Attainment or Accomplishment
Karmaja – Born of action

Translation: Desiring success in actions, people worship the gods here in this world. For, quick is the success that comes from action born of desire.

Verse 13

chaaturvarnyam mayaa srishtam gunakarma vibhaagashah;
tasya kartaaram api maam viddhyakartaaram avyayam.

Synonyms

Chaaturvarnyam – The four varnas or social classes
Mayaa – By me
Srishtam – Created
Gunakarma – Based on qualities and actions
Vibhaagashah – According to divisions
Tasya – Of that
Kartaaram – The doer
Api – Also
Maam – Me (referring to Lord Krishna)
Viddhi – Know
Akartaaram – As the non-doer
Avyayam – Imperishable or eternal

Translation: I have created the fourfold division of human society according to their qualities and work. Know me to be the author of this system, even though I am eternal and beyond all actions.

Verse 14

na maam karmaani limpanti na me karmaphale sprihaa;
iti maam yo’bhijaanaati karmabhir na sa badhyate.

Synonyms

Na – Not
Maam – Me (referring to Lord Krishna)
Karmaani – Actions
Limpanti – Taint or affect
Na – Nor
Me – My
Karmaphale – In the fruits of actions
Sprihaa – Desire or attachment
Iti – Thus
Maam – Me
Yo – Who
Abhijaanaati – Understands or realizes
Karmabhir – Through actions
Na – Not
Sa – That person
Badhyate – Is bound or affected

Translation: Actions do not taint Me, nor do I have any desire for the fruits of actions. One who knows Me in this way is not bound by the effects of karma.

Verse 15

evam jnaatwaa kritam karma poorvair api mumukshubhih;
kuru karmaiva tasmaat twam poorvaih poorvataram kritam.

Synonyms

Evam – Thus
Jnaatwaa – Knowing or understanding
Kritam – Actions performed
Karma – Actions
Poorvair – By those before
Api – Also
Mumukshubhih – Aspiring for liberation
Kuru – Perform
Karma – Actions
Eva – Certainly
Tasmaat – Therefore
Twam – You
Poorvaih – By those before
Poorvataram – Earlier
Kritam – Performed

Translation: Knowing this, the seekers of liberation in ancient times also performed their duties in this knowledge. Therefore, you should also perform your duties as done in the past by those who sought liberation.

Verse 16

kim karma kim akarmeti kavayo’pyatra mohitaah;
tat te karma pravakshyaami yajjnaatwaa mokshyase’shubhaa.

Synonyms

Kim – What
Karma – Action
Kim – What
Akarmeti – Inaction or non-action
Kavayah – Wise
Api – Also
Atra – Here
Mohitaah – Confused or deluded
Tat – That
Te – To you
Karma – Action
Pravakshyaami – I shall explain
Yat – Which
Jnaatwaa – Knowing or understanding
Mokshyase – You will be liberated
Ashubhaa – From inauspiciousness or bondage

Translation: What is action? What is inaction? Even the wise are confused in this matter. Therefore, I will explain to you what action is, by knowing which you shall be liberated from all sins.

Verse 17

karmano hyapi boddhavyam boddhavyam cha vikarmanah;
akarmanashcha boddhavyam gahanaa karmano gatih.

Synonyms

Karmanah – Of action
Hi – Indeed
Api – Also
Boddhavyam – Should be understood
Boddhavyam – Should be understood
Cha – And
Vikarmanah – Of forbidden action or wrongdoing
Akarmanah – Of inaction or non-action
Cha – And
Boddhavyam – Should be understood
Gahanaa – Profound or intricate
Karmanah – Of action
Gatih – The path or course

Translation: One must know the nature of work, the difference between work and prohibited work, and the path of transcendental work. The intricacies of action are very hard to understand.

Verse 18

karmanyakarma yah pashyed akarmani cha karma yah;
sa buddhimaan manushyeshu sa yuktah kritsnakarmakrit.

Synonyms

Karmani – In action
Akarma – Inaction or non-action
Yah – Who
Pashyed – Sees or perceives
Akarmani – In non-action
Cha – And
Karma – Action
Yah – Who
Sa – That
Buddhimaan – Wise or enlightened
Manushyeshu – Among humans
Sa – That
Yuktah – Is integrated or balanced
Kritsnakarmakrit – One who performs all actions

Translation: One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men and is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all kinds of work.

Verse 19

yasya sarve samaarambhaah kaamasankalpa varjitaah;
jnaanaagni dagdhakarmaanam tam aahuh panditam budhaa.

Synonyms

Yasya – Whose
Sarve – All
Samaarambhaah – Initiations or undertakings
Kaamasankalpa – Desires and intentions
Varjitaah – Devoid of or free from
Jnaanaagni – Fire of knowledge
Dagdhakarmaanam – Of those whose actions have been burnt
Tam – That
Aahuh – They call
Panditam – Wise or enlightened
Budhaa – The wise or those with wisdom

Translation: That person, whose every endeavor is devoid of desire for sense gratification, who has burnt all works in the fire of perfect knowledge, is called a sage by the wise.

Verse 20

tyaktwaa karmaphalaasangam nityatripto niraashrayah;
karmany abhipravritto’pi naiva kinchit karoti sah.

Synonyms

Tyaktwaa – Having renounced or giving up
Karmaphalaasangam – Attachment to the fruits of actions
Nityatripto – Always content or satisfied
Niraashrayah – Without dependence
Karmany – In actions
Abhipravritto – Engaged or involved
Api – Even
Na – Not
Eva – Certainly
Kinchit – Anything
Karoti – Does
Sah – That person

Translation: Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, ever satisfied and independent of possessions, he performs no work at all, though engaged in all kinds of undertakings.

Verse 21

niraasheer yatachittaatmaa tyaktasarvaparigrahah;
shaareeram kevalam karma kurvannaapnoti kilbisham.

Synonyms

Niraasheer: Without desire or detachment.
Yatachittaatmaa: One with controlled mind and soul.
Tyaktasarvaparigrahah: Renouncing all possessions or attachments.
Shaareeram: Physical body.
Kevalam: Only.
Karma: Actions or deeds.
Kurvannaapnoti: Performing without.
Kilbisham: Sin or impurity

Translation: A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires—that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still—can alone achieve peace, and not the person who strives to satisfy such desires.

Verse 22

yadricchaalaabhasantushto dwandwaateeto vimatsarah;
samah siddhaavasiddhau cha kritwaapi na nibadhyate.

Synonyms

Yadricchaalaabhasantushto: Content with whatever comes by chance.
Dwandwaateeto: Beyond dualities or beyond pairs of opposites.
Vimatsarah: Free from envy or jealousy.
Samah: Equanimous or balanced.
Siddha: Accomplished or successful.
Avasiddhau: Unsuccessful or not accomplished.
Kritwaapi: Even having done.
Na nibadhyate: Is not bound or affected.

Translation: He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady in both success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions.

Verse 23

gatasangasya muktasya jnaanaavasthitachetasah;
yajnaayaacharatah karma samagram pravileeyate.

Synonyms

Gatasangasya: One who has renounced attachment.
Muktasya: Liberated or free.
Jnaanaavasthitachetasah: With a mind established in knowledge.
Yajnaayaacharatah: Engaged in acts of sacrifice or selfless service.
Karma: Actions or deeds.
Samagram: Completely.
Pravileeyate: Merges or dissolves.

Translation: Being freed from attachment, one who is in the transcendental position, who has steady intelligence, and who is free from doubts, even though engaged in all kinds of work, is not entangled.

Verse 24

brahmaarpanam brahmahavirbrahmaagnau brahmanaa hutam;
brahmaiva tena gantavyam brahmakarmasamaadhinaa.

Synonyms

Brahmaarpanam: The offering is Brahman.
Brahmahavir: The act of offering is Brahman.
Brahmaagnau: The fire of the sacrifice is Brahman.
Brahmanaa hutam: The offering is made by Brahman.
Brahmaiva: Verily, Brahman alone.
Tena gantavyam: To be reached by that (knowledge of Brahman).
Brahmakarmasamaadhinaa: By one who is absorbed in Brahman through actions.

Translation: A person who is fully absorbed in the thought of offering all that they do as a sacrifice to God, who is the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices, and who sees everything as the manifestation of the divine, attains to the Supreme Brahman.

Verse 25

daivamevaapare yajnam yoginah paryupaasate;
brahmaagnaavapare yajnam yajnenaivopajuhwati.

Synonyms

Daivameva: The divine alone.
Apare: Others.
Yajnam: Sacrifice.
Yoginah: Yogis or spiritual practitioners.
Paryupaasate: Worship with devotion.
Brahmaagnaavapare: Others offer sacrifice to the fire of Brahman.
Yajnenaivopajuhwati: They offer sacrifice through sacrifice itself.

Translation: Some yogis worship the celestial gods with sacrifices, while others offer sacrifices directly into the fire of the Supreme Brahman.

Verse 26

shrotraadeeneendriyaanyanye samyamaagnishu juhwati;
shabdaadeen vishayaananya indriyaagnishu juhwati.

Synonyms

Shrotraadeen: Ears and other.
Indriyaani: Senses.
Anye: Others.
Samyamaagnishu: Fires of self-control.
Juhwati: Offer.
Shabdaadeen: Sound and others.
Vishayaananya: Objects of the senses.
Indriyaagnishu: Fires of the senses.
Juhwati: Offer.

Translation: Others offer hearing and other senses as sacrifice in the fires of self-control; and still others offer sound and other objects of the senses as sacrifice in the fire of the senses.

Verse 27

sarvaaneendriya karmaani praanakarmaani chaapare;
aatmasamyamayogaagnau juhwati jnaanadeepite.

Synonyms

Sarvaaneendriya karmaani: All the actions of the senses.
Praanakarmaani: Actions of the life force.
Chaapare: Others.
Aatmasamyamayogaagnau: In the fire of self-discipline through yoga.
Juhwati: Offer.
Jnaanadeepite: Illuminated by knowledge.

Translation: Others, who are inclined toward the practice of self-control through the yoga of the intellect, offer the functions of all their senses and the functions of their life energy in the fire of the controlled mind.

Verse 28

dravyayajnaas tapoyajnaa yogayajnaastathaa’pare;
swaadhyaaya jnaanayajnaashcha yatayah samshitavrataah.

Synonyms

Dravyayajnaas: Sacrifices of wealth.
Tapoyajnaa: Sacrifices of austerity.
Yogayajnaas: Sacrifices of yoga.
Tathaa’pare: And others.
Swaadhyaaya: Study of sacred texts.
Jnaanayajnaashcha: Sacrifices of knowledge.
Yatayah: Ascetics or seekers.
Samshitavrataah: Firmly resolved in vows.

Translation: Some offer wealth as sacrifice, others offer severe austerities, and some engage in the practice of yoga, while still others study the scriptures and cultivate knowledge as their sacrifice, O Arjuna.

Verse 29

apaane juhwati praanam praane’paanam tathaa’pare;
praanaapaana gatee ruddhwaa praanaayaamaparaayanaah.

Synonyms

Apaane: Outgoing breath.
Juhwati: Offer.
Praanam: The life force.
Praane’paanam: Incoming breath.
Tathaa’pare: Others.
Praanaapaana: The upward and downward vital airs.
Gatee: The regulation.
Ruddhwaa: Restrained or controlled.
Praanaayaamaparaayanaah: Devoted to the practice of breath control (pranayama).

Translation: Some offer the outgoing breath into the incoming breath, and the incoming breath into the outgoing breath, restraining the courses of both, solely absorbed in the regulation of the life-energy (prana).

Verse 30

apare niyataahaaraah praanaan praaneshu juhwati;
sarve’pyete yajnavido yajnakshapita kalmashaah.

Synonyms

Apare: Others.
Niyataahaaraah: Practicing regulated diet.
Praanaan: The life breaths.
Praaneshu: In the life breaths.
Juhwati: Offer.
Sarve’pyete: All of these.
Yajnavido: Those who understand sacrifice.
Yajnakshapita: Purified by sacrifice.
Kalmashaah: Impurities.

Translation: Others, who practice self-control and regulate their diet, offer the outgoing breath into the incoming breath, and vice versa, while restraining their senses. All of them are knowers of sacrifice and have their sins cleansed by sacrifice.

Verse 31

yajnashishtaamritabhujo yaanti brahma sanaatanam;
naayam loko’styayajnasya kuto’nyah kurusattama.

Synonyms

Yajna: Sacrifice, ritual offering.
Shishta: Righteous, virtuous.
Amrita: Nectar, immortality.
Bhuja: Partake, enjoy.
Yaanti: Attain, reach.
Brahma: The Absolute, the Supreme Reality.
Sanaatanam: Eternal, timeless.
Na: Not.
Ayam: This.
Loka: World, realm.
Asti: Exists.
Ayajnasya: Of the one who does not perform sacrifices.
Kuta: From where.
Anyah: Another.
Kurusattama: O best among the Kurus (a respectful address).

Translation: Those who partake of the nectar of the remnants of the sacrifice attain the eternal Brahman. This world is not for the non-sacrificing person; how, then, can they have happiness in the other world?

Verse 32

evam bahuvidhaa yajnaa vitataa brahmano mukhe;
karmajaan viddhi taan sarvaan evam jnaatwaa vimokshyase.

Synonyms

Evam: Thus.
Bahuvidhaa: In many ways.
Yajnaa: Sacrifices, rituals.
Vitataa: Spread, diversified.
Brahmano: Among the learned, the knowledgeable.
Mukhe: In the mouth, from the teachings.
Karmajaan: Born of work, results of actions.
Viddhi: Know.
Taan: Them, those.
Sarvaan: All.
Evam: In this way.
Jnaatwaa: Knowing, understanding.
Vimokshyase: You will be liberated.

Translation: In this way, various kinds of sacrifices spread before Brahman. Know them all to be born of action, and understanding this, you will be liberated.

Verse 33

shreyan dravyamayaadyajnaaj jnaanayajnah parantapa;
sarvam karmaakhilam paartha jnaane parisamaapyate.

Synonyms

Shreyan: Superior, better.
Dravyamayaadyajnaaj: Sacrifices involving material offerings.
Jnaanayajnah: Sacrifice of knowledge.
Parantapa: O scorcher of foes (addressing Arjuna).
Sarvam: All.
Karmaakhilam: Entire field of actions.
Paartha: O son of Pritha (addressing Arjuna).
Jnaane: In knowledge.
Parisamaapyate: Is concluded, merges.

Translation: O scorcher of foes, knowledge sacrifice is superior to the sacrifice of material possessions. All actions, O Partha, culminate in knowledge.

Verse 34

tadviddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevayaa;
upadekshyanti te jnaanam jnaaninas tattwadarshinah.

Synonyms

Tadviddhi: Know that.
Pranipaatena: Through humble submission.
Pariprashnena: Through relevant questions.
Sevayaa: Through service.
Upadekshyanti: Will impart.
Te: To you.
Jnaanam: Knowledge.
Jnaaninas: Those who possess knowledge.
Tattwadarshinah: Seers of the truth.

Translation: Learn that by humble submission, by inquiry, and by service; the wise who have realized the Truth will impart knowledge unto you.

Verse 35

yajjnaatwaa na punarmoham evam yaasyasi paandava;
yena bhootaanyasheshena drakshyasyaatmanyatho mayi.

Synonyms

Yajjnaatwaa: Knowing which.
Na: Not.
Punarmoham: Again delusion.
Evam: Thus.
Yaasyasi: You will go.
Paandava: O son of Pandu (addressing Arjuna).
Yena: By which.
Bhootaani: All beings.
Asheshena: Completely.
Drakshyasyaatmanyatho: You will see in yourself.
Mayi: In me (referring to the divine).

Translation: Having known that, O Pandava, you will not again become deluded in the same way. By that knowledge, you will see all living beings without exception in yourself and also in Me.

Verse 36

api chedasi paapebhyah sarvebhyah paapakrittamah;
sarvam jnaanaplavenaiva vrijinam santarishyasi.

Synonyms

Api: Even if.
Chedasi: Commit.
Paapebhyah: Sins.
Sarvebhyah: Of all.
Paapakrittamah: The most sinful.
Sarvam: All.
Jnaanaplavenaiva: By the boat of knowledge alone.
Vrijinam: Sin.
Santarishyasi: You shall cross over.

Translation: Even if you are the most sinful of all sinners, yet you shall cross over all sin by the raft of knowledge alone.

Verse 37

yathaidhaamsi samiddho’gnir bhasmasaat kurute’rjuna;
jnaanaagnih sarvakarmaani bhasmasaat kurute tathaa.

Synonyms

Yathaidhaamsi: As in a blazing fire.
Samiddho’gnir: A well-kindled fire.
Bhasmasaat: Reduces to ashes.
Kurute: Does.
Arjuna: O Arjuna (addressing Arjuna).
Jnaanaagnih: The fire of knowledge.
Sarvakarmaani: All actions.
Bhasmasaat: Reduces to ashes.
Tathaa: Similarly.

Translation: Just as a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.

Verse 38

na hi jnaanena sadrisham pavitram iha vidyate;
tat swayam yogasamsiddhah kaalenaatmani vindati.

Synonyms

Na: Not.
Hi: Certainly.
Jnaanena: Through knowledge.
Sadrisham: Like it.
Pavitram: Pure.
Iha: In this world.
Vidyate: Exists.
Tat: That.
Swayam: Personally.
Yogasamsiddhah: One who is accomplished in yoga.
Kaalena: Over time.
Atmani: In oneself.
Vindati: Attains.

Translation: Indeed, there is nothing purer than knowledge in this world. A person who is perfected in the science of self-realization will ultimately perceive the truth within through direct experience.

Verse 39

shraddhaavaan labhate jnaanam tatparah samyatendriyah;
jnaanam labdhvaa paraam shaantim achirenaadhigacchati.

Synonyms

Shraddhaavaan: One with faith.
Labhate: Attains.
Jnaanam: Knowledge.
Tatparah: Devoted to that.
Samyatendriyah: Controlled senses.
Labdhvaa: Having attained.
Paraam: Supreme.
Shaantim: Peace.
Achirena: Without delay.
Adhigacchati: Attains.

Translation: A person who possesses faith, who is dedicated to knowledge, and who has subdued the senses attains knowledge, and having obtained knowledge, they quickly attain supreme peace.

Verse 40

ajnashchaashraddhaadhaanashcha samshayaatmaa vinashyati;
naayam loko’sti na paro na sukham samshayaatmanah.

Synonyms

Ajnah: Ignorant.
Cha: And.
Ashraddhaadhaanah: Lacking in faith.
Samshayaatmaa: One with a doubting mind.
Vinashyati: Perishes.
Na: Not.
Ayam: This.
Lokah: World.
Asti: Exists.
Na: Nor.
Parah: The next.
Na: Not.
Sukham: Happiness.
Samshayaatmanah: For the doubting soul.

Translation: A person without knowledge, without faith, and full of doubt is lost. For the skeptical soul, there is neither this world nor the world beyond, nor is there happiness.

Verse 41

yogasannyasta karmaanam jnaanasamchhinnasamshayam;
aatmavantam na karmaani nibadhnanti dhananjaya.

Synonyms

Yogasannyasta: Renouncing through yoga.
Karmaanam: Of actions.
Jnaanasamchhinnasamshayam: Free from doubts through knowledge.
Aatmavantam: Self-realized.
Na: Not.
Karmaani: Actions.
Nibadhnanti: Bind.
Dhananjaya: O Arjuna (addressing Arjuna).

Translation: Therefore, one who has renounced the fruits of their actions, who is free from all doubts, and who is self-realized, is not bound by the chains of karma, O Dhananjaya (Arjuna).

Verse 42

Tasmaad ajnaanasambhootam hritstham jnaanaasinaatmanah;
chhittwainam samshayam yogamaatishthottishtha bhaarata.

Synonyms

Tasmaad: Therefore.
Ajnaanasambhootam: Born of ignorance.
Hritstham: Dwelling in the heart.
Jnaanaasinaatmanah: By the sword of knowledge.
Chhittwainam: Cutting down this.
Samshayam: Doubt.
Yogam: Yoga.
Aatishtha: Arise.
Uttishtha: Get up.
Bhaarata: O descendant of Bharata (addressing Arjuna).

Translation: Therefore, with the sword of knowledge, O Bharata (Arjuna), cut asunder the doubts born of ignorance that lies in your heart, and take refuge in yoga. Stand up and fight!

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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