Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda


Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) - Chapter IV: 23-24

April 8, 2021

™gatasaṅgasya muktasya jñānāvasthitacetasaḥ
yajñāyā ’carataḥ karma samagraṁ pravilīyate (IV-23)
™brahmā ’rpaṇaṁ brahma havir brahmāgnau brahmaṇā hutaṁ
brahmai ’va tena gantavyaṁ brahmakarmasamādhinā  (IV-24)

IV/23. To one who is devoid of attachment, who is liberated,
whose mind is established in knowledge, who works for the
sake of sacrifice, the whole action is dissolved.

IV/24. Brahman is the oblation. Brahman is the clarified butter.
By Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire (Brahman).
Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman
in action.

Swamiji's Commentary


      The sage who is established in wisdom regards his whole life itself as a sacrifice. Yajña (sacrifice) is Viṣṇu (God) – God sacrificed his unity, as it were, in the fire diversity, creating infinite beings and imposing on himself the duty of preserving and redeeming them.

      Nothing can be ‘outside’ the infinite God. Nothing can be apart from his being. This creation, too, is within him. All the activity that is experienced takes place within him. The only suitable analogy is the dream in which the dreamer creates space, time and material diversity within himself and views the phenomenon as if he were apart from the other dream-objects, which derive their power, intelligence and individuality from the dreamer himself. Hence, the world is often spoken of as God’s dream.

      This knowledge should be sustained even in our waking state of consciousness. God is in all. God is the all. God is the all-in-all. The symbol of the Indian ritual of yajña or havan can be extended to include all actions. The performer of the action, the instruments used, the act itself and the one to whom it is directed – all are God only.

      God or the reality is not a static existence but a process, beginning-less and endless. Thus, there is nothing un-sacred in the universe. To live in this spirit is brahma-karma-samādhi or egoless participation in the will of God, described in verse twenty-one as ‘doing mere bodily action’ without the least trace of egoistic notion which creates isolation from the totality. The wise man sees that the bodily functions are already and always will be independent of the ego!

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