Chapter 4Approaching the Ultimate TruthVerse 1


Sanskrit Vocal





Commentaries of the Four Authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

as confirmed in the Garga Samhita Canto 10, Chapter 61, Verses 23, 24, 25, 26
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Sridhara Swami's Commentary

Here Lord Krishna is praising karma yoga or the performance of Vedic activities by explaining that He, Himself previously had instructed the eternal knowledge of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness. The Supreme Lord did this in order to illustrate the appearance and disappearance of an avatar or incarnation and to discern between Thou referring to the individual consciousness and That referring to the Ultimate Consciousness, following the great Vedic dictum of Thou art That. In chapter two and three the path of jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge through the medium of karma yoga has been established as the means to moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the material existence. In order to elaborate further by the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures which give a vision for the mind to imagine when performing yagna or Vedic worship like Brahman is the ladle to pour the ghee and Agni is the fire to receive it. The Supreme Lord is praising this yoga and explaining in this first verse how He instructed it and in the next two he shows that that it is confidentially instructed under the auspices of parampara or authorised disciplic succession.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:

There is no commentary for this verse.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

In the third chapter Lord Krishna explained that only karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities was suitable for the materialistic person aspiring for moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death and that such an aspirant was not competent to follow the path of jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge. It was also shown that even for jnana yoga practitioners that karma yoga when performed as a matter of duty without attachment was preferable. It was further illustrated that for leaders of prominence in society it is an important necessity to perform karma yoga in order that the public is guided and inspired in a righteous manner. The objective of this fourth chapter is to further emphasise the worthiness of karma yoga by giving evidence that it was taught to great personalities at the beginning of this Manavatar or cyclic appearance of one type of divine incarnations as verified in Vedic scriptures over a period of time comprising approximately every 350 million years. Also it will be shown in this chapter how karma yoga partakes of the nature of jnana yoga by reason of spiritual intentions underlying all prescribed Vedic activities. Chapter four finishes up by explaining the nature and varieties of karma yoga and the importance of spiritual awareness connected to performing every action.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

The third chapter established that one desiring moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death, whose desires for sense gratification had not been extinguished should engage themselves in karma yoga or performance of prescribed Vedic activities assisted by some Vedic knowledge and feeling completely free from the fear of falling from one's position. Everyone is not qualified for jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic wisdom and even those who are qualified should still follow the path of karma yoga performing prescribed Vedic activities as a matter of duty as an example to the common man for the maintenance of world order.

Now in the fourth chapter Lord Krishna explains karma yoga in the light of historical tradition and that by instructing the knowledge of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness, He Himself performed karma yoga in giving these instructions in the past to Visvavan the demigod of the sun and now to His friend Arjuna because he is His surrendered disciple. It should not be thought that Lord Krishna is speaking it just to motivate Arjuna to battle or that the science of this eternal yoga is recent because it was spoken before 120 million years previously at the commencement of this time period of Manu in order to protect all the worlds. Lord Krishna taught this imperishable yoga for the highest benefit of the human species and for the preservation of universal order. Visvavan after gave it to his son Satyavrata who was the Manu of that time period and he later gave it to his eldest son Iksvaku.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 4, verse 1 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 1

Copyright © Bhagavad-Gita Trust 1998-2015