Chapter: 4.



This Yoga which has been spoken of in the preceding two chapters, and which is characterized by steadfastness in Knowledge associated with renunciation, can be achieved through Karma-yoga. The import of the Vedas, characterized be engagement in, and detachment from, action, culminates in it. And this very Yoga is sought to be taught by the Lord in the whole of the Gita. So, considering that the purport of the Vedas stands concluded, the Lord praises it by recounting how it was traditionally handed down:

The Blessed Lord said:
4.1 I imparted this imperishable Yoga to Vivasvan, Vivasvan taught this to Manu, and Manu transmitted this to Iksavaku.
In the beginning of creation, with a veiw to infusing vigour into the Ksatriyas who are the protectors of the world, aham, I; proktavan, imparted; imam, this; avyayam, imperishable; yogam, Yoga, presented in the (preceding) two chapters; vivasvate, to Vivasvan, the Sun. Being endowed with this power of Yoga, they would be able to protect the Brahmana caste. The protection of the world becomes ensured when the Brahmanas and the Ksatriyas are protected.

It (this Yoga) is avyayam, imperishable, because its result is undecaying. For, the result-called Liberation-of this (Yoga), which is characterized by steadfastness in perfect Illumination, does not decay. And he, Vivasvan, praha, taught (this); manave, to Manu. Manu abravit, transmitted (this); iksvakave, to Iksvaku, his own son who was the first king. [First king of the Iksvaku dynasty, otherwise known as the Solar dynasty.]

4.2 The king-sages knew this (yoga) which was received thus in regular succession. That Yoga, O destroyer of foes, in now lost owing to a long lapse of time.
Rajarsayah, the king-sages, those who were kings and sages (at the same time); viduh, knew; imam, this Yoga; which was evam parampara-praptam, received thus through a regular succession of Ksatriyas. Sah, that; yogah, Yoga; nastah, is lost, has go its traditional line snapped; iha, now; mahata kalena, owing to a long lapse of time. parantapa, O destroyer of foes. By para are meant those against oneself. He who, like the sun, 'scorches' (tapayati) them by the 'rays' of the 'heat' of his prowess is parantapa, i.e. scorcher of antagonists.

Noticing that the Yoga has got lost by reaching people who are weak and have no control of their organs, and that the world has become associated with goals that do not lead to Liberation,

4.3 That ancient Yoga itself, which is this, has been taught to you by Me today, considering that you are My devotee and friend, For, this (Yoga) is a profound secret.

Sah, that; puratanah, ancient; yogah, Yoga; eva, itself; ayam, which is this; proktah, has been taught; te, to you; maya, by Me; adya, today; iti, considering that; asi, you are; me, My; bhaktah, devotee; ca sakha, and friend. Hi, for; etat, this Yoga, i.e. Knowledge; is a uttamam, profound; rahasyam, secret.

Lest someone should understand that the Lord has said something contradictory, therefore, in order to prevent that (doubt), as though raising a question,
Arjuna said:

4.4 Your birth was later, (whereas) the birth of Vivasvan was earlier. How am I to understand this that You instructed (him) in the beginning?
Bhavatah, Your; janma, was aparam, later, in the abode of Vasudeva; (whereas) the birth vivasvatah, of Visvasvan, the Sun; was param, earlier, in the beginning of creation. Therefore, katham, how; vijanyam, am I to understand; etat, this, as not inconsistent; iti, that; tvam, You, yourself; who proktavan, insturcted this Yoga; adau, in the beginning, are the same person who are now teaching me?

By way of demolishing the doubt of fools with regard to Vasudeva, that He has no God-hood and omniscience-to which very purpose was Arjuna's question-
The Blessed Lord said:

4.5 O Arjuna, many lives of Mine have passed, and so have yours. I know them all, (but) you know not, O scorcher of enemies!

O Arjuna, bahuni, many; janmani, lives; me, of Mine; vyatitani, have passed; tava ca, and so have yours. Aham, I; veda know; tani, them; sarvani, all; (but) tvam, you; va vetta, know not, due to your power of understanding being obstructed by righteousness, unrighteousness, etc. However, parantapa, O scorcher of foes; aham, I know, possessing as I do unobstructed power of knowledge, because by nature I am enternal, pure, enlightened and free.

'In that case, how, in spite of the absence of righteousness and unrighteousness, can there be any birth for You who are the eternal God?'
That is beng answered:

4.6 Though I am birthless, undecaying by nature, and the Lord of beings, (still) by subjugating My Prakriti, I take birth by means of My own Maya.

Api, san ajah, though I am birthless; and avyayatma, undecaying by nature, though I am naturally possessed of an undiminishing power of Knowledge; and so also api san, though; isvarah, the Lord, natural Ruler; bhutanam, of beings, from Brahma to a clump of grass; (still) adhisthaya, by subjugating; svam, My own; prakrtim, Prakrti, the Maya of Visnu consisting of the three gunas, under whose; spell the whole world exists, and deluded by which one does not know one's own Self, 

Vasudeva;-by subjugating that Prakrti of Mine, sambhavami, I take birth, appear to become embodeid, as though born; atma-mayaya, by means of My own Maya; but not in reality like an ordinary man.
It is being stated when and why that birth occurs:

4.7 O scion of the Bharata dynasty, whenever there is a decline one virtue and increase of vice, then do I manifest Myself.

O scion of the Bharata dynasty, yada yada hi, whenever; bhavati, there is; a glanih, decline, decrease; dharmasya, of virtue consisting of the duties of castes and stages of life of living beings, which are the means to achieving properity and Liberation; and abhyutthanam, increase, rise; adharmasya, of vice; tada, then; do aham, I; srjami, manifest; atmanam, Myself, through Maya.

4.8 For the protection of the pious, the destruction of the evil-doers, and establishing virtue, I manifest Myself in every age.

Paritranaya, for the protection; sadhunam, of the pious, the followers of the virtuous path; vinasaya, for the destruction; duskrtam, of the evil-doers, of the sinful ones; and also dharmasamsthapanarthaya, for establishing virtue fully;-for that purpose, sambhavami, I manifest Myself; yuge yuge, in every age.

4.9 He who thus knows truly the divine birth and actions of Mine does not get rebirth after casting off the body. He attains Me, O Arjuna.

Yah, he who; evam, thus, as described; vetti, knows tattvatah, truly, as they are in reality; that divyam, divine, supernatural; janma, birth, which is a form of Maya; ca karma, and actions, such as protection of the pious, etc.; mama, of Mine; na eti, does not get; punarjanma, rebirth; tyaktva, after casting off; this deham, body. Sah, he; eti, attains, comes to; mam, Me-he gets Liberated, O Arjuna.

This path of Liberation has not been opened recently. What then? Even in earlier days-


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