imam vivasvate yogam
The Blessed Lord said:
1. This imperishable yoga, I declared to the sun god, Vivasvat; Vivasvat taught it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu told it to Ikshvaku.
2. Thus transmitted in regular discipline succession the royal-sages understood it in that way. This yoga by long efflux of time decayed in this world, O scorcher of foes.
sa evayam maya te 'dya
3. The same ancient yoga has been today told to you by Me, for you are My devotee as well as friend; and this secret is supreme indeed.
aparam bhavato janma
4. Later was your birth, earlier the birth of Vivasvat; how then am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?
bahuni me vyatitani
The Blessed Lord said:
5. Many are the births taken by Me and you, O Arjuna. I know them all while you know not, O Parantapa [subduer of the enemy].
ajo 'pi sann avyayatma
6. Though I am unborn, imperishable and the Lord of beings, yet subjugating My Prakriti, I come into being by My own Maya.
yada yada hi dharmasya
7. Whenever there is decay of dharma and rise of adharma, then I embody Myself, O Bharata.
8. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of dharma I am born millennium after millennium.
janma karma ca me divyam
9. He who thus knows My divine birth and action in true light, having dropped the body, comes not to birth again, but comes unto Me, O Arjuna.
10. Freed from passion, fear and anger, filled with Me, taking refuge in Me, purified by penances in the fire of Knowledge, many have entered into My Being.
ye yatha mam prapadyante
11. In whatever way men identify with Me, in the same way do I carry out their desires; men pursue My path, O Partha, in all ways.
kanksantah karmanam siddhim
12. Longing for success in action on earth, they worship the gods; for quickly is success born of action in this world of man.
catur-varnyam maya srstam
13. I created the fourfold caste by the different distribution of Guna and karma. Though I be the author thereof, know Me to be the action less and changeless.
na mam karmani limpanti
14. Nor do actions taint Me, nor is the fruit of action desired by Me. He who thus knows Me is not bound by actions.
evam jnatva krtam karma
15. Having known thus even the ancient seekers after freedom performed action; therefore you should perform action, as did the ancients in the olden times.
kim karma kim akarmeti
16. Sages too are perplexed as to what is action, what inaction. Therefore I shall tell you what action is, by knowing which you shall be freed from misfortune.
karmano hy api boddhavyam
17. It is needful to discriminate action, to discriminate forbidden action, and to discriminate inaction; inscrutable is the way of karma.
karmany akarma yah pasyed
18. He who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, he is wise among men; he is a yogi and accomplisher of everything.
yasya sarve samarambhah
19. Whose doings are all devoid of design and desire for results, and whose actions are all burnt by the fire of knowledge, him, the sages call wise.
20. Having abandoned attachment to the fruits of action, ever content, depending on nothing, though engaged in karma, verily he does not do anything.
21. Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence perfectly controlled, having abandoned all possessions, aaand acts only for the bare necessities of life. Thus performing karma by the body alone, he incurs no sin.
22. He is content with what he obtains which comes of is own accord, who is free from duality [the pairs of opposites], without envy, balanced in success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions.
23. Of one unattached, liberated, with mind absorbed in knowledge, performing work for Yajna alone, his entire karma melts away.
brahmarpanam brahma havir
24. The oblation is Brahman, the clarified butter is Brahman, offered by Brahman in the fire or Brahman; unto Brahman verily he goes who cognizes Brahman alone in his action.
daivam evapare yajnam
25. Some yogis perform sacrifices to Devas alone, while others offer the self as sacrifice by the self verily in the fire of Brahman.
26. Some offer hearing and other senses as sacrifice in the fire of restraint, while others offer sound and other sense-objects as sacrifice in the fire of the senses.
27. Others again offer all the actions of the senses and the functions of the life-energy, as a sacrifice in the fire of self-control, kindled by knowledge.
28. Yet others offer wealth, austerity and yoga as sacrifice, while still others, of self-denial and extreme vows, offer sacred study and knowledge as sacrifice.
apane juhvati pranam
29. Yet others offer as sacrifice the outgoing breath in the incoming, and the incoming in the outgoing, restraining the flow of the outgoing and incoming breaths, solely absorbed in the regulation of the life-energy.
30. Still others of regulated food habit offer in the pranas the function thereof. All these are knower of Yajna, having their sins destroyed by Yajna.
31. The eaters of the nectar, the remnant of Yajna goes to the Eternal Brahman. This world is not for the non-sacrificer, how then the other, O best of the Kurus?
evam bahu-vidha yajna
32. Various Yajnas such as these are spread out in the storehouse of the Vedas. Know them all to be born of karma; and thus knowing you shall be free.
sreyan dravya-mayad yajnaj
33. Knowledge-sacrifice, O Scorcher of foes, is superior to wealth-sacrifice. All karma in its entirety, O Partha, culminates in knowledge.
tad viddhi pranipatena
34. Seek that enlightenment by prostrating, by questions and by service; the wise, the seers into the Truth will instruct you in that knowledge.
yaj jnatva na punar moham
35. Knowing this, O Pandava, you will not again fall into this confusion; by this you will see the whole of the creation in your self and in Me.
api ced asi papebhyah
36. Even if you were the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.
yathaidhamsi samiddho 'gnir
37. As the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all karma to ashes.
na hi jnanena sadrsam
38. Verily there is no purifier in this world like transcendental knowledge. He that is perfected in yoga realizes it in his own heart in due time.
sraddhaval labhate jnanam
39. The man of sraddha [faith], the devoted, the master of his senses obtains knowledge. Having obtained knowledge he goes promptly to the Peace Supreme.
ajnas casraddadhanas ca
40. The ignorant, the man devoid of sraddha [faithless], the doubting self, goes to destruction. The doubting self has neither this world, nor the next, nor happiness.
41. With work absolved in yoga, and doubts rent asunder by knowledge, O Dhananjaya, actions do not bind him who is poised in the Self.
42. Therefore, severing with the sword of knowledge this ignorance-born doubt about the Self, dwelling in your heart, be established in yoga. Stand up, O Bharata.
In the Upanishad of the Bhagavad Gita, the knowledge of Brahman, the Supreme, the science of Yoga and the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, this is the fourth discourse designated.
THE YOGA OF RENUNCIATION OF ACTION IN KNOWLEDGE