api ced asi pāpebhyaḥ
vṛijinam santariṣyasi (4.36)
[4.36]”Even if you are the most heinous sinner, the ark of knowledge will carry you safely across all evils.”
We should not make the error of concluding from this that we will know salvation even with committing more and yet more sin. Sri Krishn rather intends to say by this that we should not be under the mistaken impression that we are such great sinners that there cannot be salvation for us.
So this is Sri Krishn’s message of hope and courage to Arjun and to everybody: that despite being the doer of sins greater than the sins of all sinners he will sail across sins successfully, by the ark of knowledge acquired from seers.
bhasmasāt kurute tathā (4.37)
[4.37]”As blazing fire turns fuel to ashes, so verily O Arjun, the fire of knowledge reduces all action to ashes.”
Here we have a portrayal, not of an introduction to knowledge through which one approaches yagya, but of the culmination of knowledge or perception of God, in which there is first the destruction of all unrighteous inclinations and in which then even the act of meditation is dissolved. The one who had to be attained to has been attained. Now who is there to look for by further meditation? The sage with the wisdom that arises from perception of God brings his actions to an end. But where does this perception of God occur? Is it an external or internal phenomenon?
na hi jñānena sadṛśam
pavitram iha vidyate,
tat svayam yogasamsiddhaḥ
kālenā’tmani vindati (4.38)
[4.38]”Doubtlessly nothing in the world is more purifying than this knowledge and your heart will realize it spontaneously when you have attained to perfection on the Way of Action.”
Nothing in this world purifies as this knowledge does. And this knowledge will be manifest to the doer alone, not to anyone else, when his practice of yog has reached maturity, not at its inception, not in the middle, not externally but within his heart-within his Self. What is the required ability for this knowledge?
śraddhāvānl labhate jñānam
jñānam labdhvā parām śāntim
[4.39]:”The worshipper of true faith who has subdued his senses attains to this knowledge and at the very moment (of attainment) he is rewarded with the benediction of supreme peace.”
For realization of God one needs to possess faith, determination, and restraint of the senses. If there is no intensely felt curiosity for the knowledge of God, even taking refuge in a seer will not bring it.
Also, mere faith is not enough. The worshipper’s effort may be feeble.Therefore, the determination to proceed resolutely along the prescribed way is a necessity. Along with this it is also necessary to restrain the senses. Realization of the Supreme God will not come easily to one who is not free from desire. So only a man who has faith, enthusiasm for action, and restraint of the senses can have this knowledge. And the very moment this knowledge dawns upon him, he is blessed with the ultimate peace, because after this there is left nothing more to strive for. After this he will never know anything other than peace.
ajnaś cā’śraddadhānaś ca
nā’yam loko’sti paro
na sukham sanśsyātmanaḥ (4.40)
[4.40]:”For a skeptic, bereft of faith and knowledge, who strays from the path of righteousness, there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next; he loses both the worlds.”
For the man who is ignorant of the way of yagya- for the doubting man who is of devoid of faith and who strays from the path of good, there is no happiness, no next life in human form, and no God.
So if there are any doubts in the worshipper, he should go to a seer and resolve them, or else he will never know the reality.
ātmavantam na karmāni
nibadhnanti dhananjaya (4.41)
[4.41]:”O Dhananjay, action cannot bind the man who relies on God and who has surrendered all his actions to him by the practice of karm-yog and all whose doubts have been put to rest by knowledge.”
Action cannot enslave the man whose deeds are dissolved in God by the practice of yog, whose doubts have been resolved by perception, and who is united with God. Action will be brought to an end only by yog. Only true knowledge will destroy doubts.
chittvai’nam sanśayam yogam
ātiṣṭho’ttiṣṭha bhārata (4.42)
[4.42]:”So, O Bharat, dwell in yog and stand up to cut down this irresolution that has entered into your heart because of ignorance with the steel of knowledge.”
Arjun has to fight. But the enemy-irresolution-is within his own heart, not outside. When we proceed on the way of devotion and contemplation, it is but natural that feelings of doubt and passion will arise as obstacles before us. These enemies launch a fearful assault. To fight them and overcome them, through the destruction of uncertainties by the practice of the ordained yagya, is the war that Arjun has to wage, and the result of this war for him will be absolute peace and victory after which there is no possibility of defeat.
[As expounded by most revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans]
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