On Shrimad Bhagwad Gita: The secret of right action

Acharya Prashant
6 min readSep 30, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयाद्यज्ञाज्ज्ञानयज्ञः परन्तप।

सर्वं कर्माखिलं पार्थ ज्ञाने परिसमाप्यते।। 4.33 ।।

śhreyān dravya-mayād yajñāj jñāna-yajñaḥ parantapa

sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate

Knowledge-sacrifice, O scorcher of foes, is superior to sacrifice (performed) with (material) objects. All action in its entirety, O Partha, attains its consummation in knowledge.

~ Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, Chapter 4, Verse 33.

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Question: From verse 25 to 33 of Chapter 4, Shri Krishna speaks of the following sacrifices to gods: the sacrifice of self, which is the ego, Aham; the sacrifice of organs of senses; the sacrifice of objects of senses; the sacrifice of functions of senses; the sacrifice of wealth; sacrifice by austerities; sacrifice by the study of scriptures; sacrifice by restraint of breath, and sacrifice of diet.

What is really meant by ‘sacrifice’ or ‘Yagya’? What is really meant by ‘jnana yagya’ that Krishna says is greater than all the other sacrifices or Yagya? Please also help us understand the meaning of verse 33 that says, “All actions in their totality culminate in knowledge.”

Acharya Prashant: No, no, that’s not what verse 33 says. (Making correction in the English translation of the verse) Not ‘culminate’ in knowledge, ‘dissolve’ in knowledge. The word used is ‘parisamāpyate’; an ending, ‘samāpti’. The word ‘āpti’ means highest, a climax; ‘samāpti’ means — having truly attained the climax; that is ‘samāpti’.

So when it is said here that, “All actions in their totality culminate in knowledge,” what is meant is that — real understanding gives you a dissolution of all actions. All actions dissolve in understanding.

What does that mean? What is it that actions leave behind?

Acharya Prashant