The Bhagavad Gita : Chapter FOUR.[compiled by Kamini Khanna. Mombasa, Kenya. Africa]
The fourth chapter speaks of upasana (the process of fine – tuning our minds to God) and jnana (quest forknowledge), It reveals Bhagavan’s svarupa or nature anddescribes his avatars(incarnation in human form ). Krishna, as the Universal Divine Spirit, declares unequivocallythat He is attained by those who have cleansed themselves through upasana and jnana. Manyhave reached the final beatitude, cleansing themselves of all negativity.Karma Yoga or the path of action by itself is not enough for completepurification. All our attachments, arrogance, fears andgreed are not easily eliminated. Just as stained clothessometimes need a more powerful detergent to cleanse them; we need upasana to purify our minds further.
This is achieved by puja or prayer, japa, (chanting mantra) tapas or penance, yoga, vrata (fasting) and other specialized techniques of purification. All these are the means of bringing force to our sadhana or spiritual practice. We need to acknowledge God’s existence first and then come to know Him. Upasana is to see the Lord in everything – in every idol or symbol, in every object, action, in nature and all beings. It is to superimpose the idea of divinity in everything and act accordingly.
Any impurity or restlessness of the mind that remains is then removed through jnana or knowledge. Through jnana,the Lord says, even the wicked can be completely cleansed. Knowledge removes likes and dislikes at the level of the senses, confusion and delusions at the level of the emotions, and justifications at the level of the intellect. Mere study of scriptures is not enough. We need to establish knowledge, without any trace of doubt – knowledge with full conviction. We have to experience things intuitively, as they are not as an accumulation of academic knowledge. Knowledge removes impurities, just as the revelation of the rope removes the fear of the snake which was falsely seen in it. We should aspire to remove all the impurities and with a pure mind and heart, come to know the Self. Bhagavan explains to Arjuna that in this world, there is no purifier like knowledge: he, who attained purity of heart through practice of karma yoga, automatically realizes it in the Self in due course of time. He, who has fully controlled his senses, is completed devoted to the spiritual practice and is full of faith, attains knowledge: having gained knowledge, he immediately attains supreme peace. (In the form of God – realization)He who lacks discrimination, is devoid of faith, and is possessed by doubt. He gets lost on the spiritual path.
For the doubting soul, there is neither this world nor the world beyond, nor even contentment and happiness. Sri Krishna further counsels Arjuna, saying, he who had dedicated all his actions to God, according to the spirit of karma yoga, whose doubts have been dispelled by wisdom, actions do not bind him.
Bhagavan propels Arjuna to destroy the doubts in his heart, born of ignorance, with the sword of knowledge, thus establishing himself in karma yoga, and to stand up and fight.
Chapter 4 is the Lord’s knees – they enable us to run faster in our sadhana! With only the ankles, we move slowly. With the help of the knees, we progress faster. We must employ the techniques of upasana and jnana in our spiritual journey.
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