श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयाद्यज्ञाज्ज्ञानयज्ञ: परन्तप |
सर्वं कर्माखिलं पार्थ ज्ञाने परिसमाप्यते || 33||
śhreyān dravya-mayād yajñāj jñāna-yajñaḥ parantapa
sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate
śhreyān—superior; dravya-mayāt—of material possessions; yajñāt—than the sacrifice; jñāna-yajñaḥ—sacrifice performed in knowledge; parantapa—subduer of enemies, Arjun; sarvam—all; karma—works; akhilam—all; pārtha—Arjun, the son of Pritha; jñāne—in knowledge; parisamāpyate—culminate
O scorcher of foes! Knowledge-sacrifice is superior to sacrifice performed with objects. All actions, O Arjuna, in their entirety, culminate in Knowledge.
Jnana – yajna implies enquiry into the Truth, the pursuit of reality. Discrimination between Atma and Anatma, the Seer and the Seen, hearing of Truth, thinking and meditating on Truth, restraining the senses, controlling the mind, the destruction of the latent tendencies, all these are comprehended by the term Jnana Yajna.
Dravya yajna means sacrifice performed with the aid of material objects. It is here said that Jnana Yajna is superior to Dravya Yajna. The reason is that hat Self-realisation (Atma Jnana), is the ultimate goal of all embodied beings. Man has forgotten his real nature by ignorance, and to become aware of his real Self is the object of all religions and philosophy. All religious practices lead finally to this knowledge. The fruits of all sacrifices are comprehended in Self-Knowledge, the supreme bliss and blessedness of Brahman. So whatever fruits are obtainable by the performance of Dravya Yajna are fully and completely realised in Brahma Jnana. Therefore it is declared that Jnana Yajna is superior to all others. It is the yajna par excellence.
The end of all forms of Karma is knowledge. The sacrifices purify the mind, remove all sins, and in that way render Self – Knowledge possible. And, just as the rivers join the ocean, so also all the works with their fruits are merged in Brahman. The idea is that the fruits of karma are not destroyed but fully realised in the bliss of Brahma Jnana.
So every man should strive for wisdom, and towards that end, he should take the aid of Yajna in the form of some good works. Whatever may be the practice followed, its goal is wisdom. At some time or other, everyone should acquire this knowledge by which he attains liberation.
Karma is ‘sadhana’ knowledge is ‘sadhya’. Karma takes man to the threshold of Jnana, and Jnana lifts him up to the heights of the liberated state. From this, we understand that liberation is not a sudden blast of knowledge, but the end of a long process of good and righteous action. By ceaseless devotion to God, man acquires His grace, and He by his infinite compassion opens the eye of wisdom in man and Atma is then perceived. Even after self-realisation, some wise men continue to work for the benefit of humanity. Thus in this verse, the excellence of Jnana and the need for Karma are both emphasised.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
As to the so-called Hindu idolatry — first go and learn the forms they are going through, and where it is that the worshippers are really worshipping, whether in the temple, in the image, or in the temple of their own bodies. First know for certain what they are doing — which more than ninety per cent of the revilers are thoroughly ignorant of — and then it will explain itself in the light of the Vedantic philosophy. Still these karmas are not compulsory. On the other hand, open your Manu and see where it orders every old man to embrace the fourth ashrama, and whether he embraces it or not, he must give up all karma. It is reiterated everywhere that all these karmas “finally end in jnana”.[Source]
Disciple: Sir, now you are speaking of jnana; but sometimes you proclaim the superiority of bhakti, sometimes of karma, and sometimes of yoga. This confuses our understanding.
Swamiji: Well, the truth is this. The knowledge of Brahman is the ultimate goal — the highest destiny of man. But man cannot remain absorbed in Brahman all the time. When he comes out of it, he must have something to engage himself. At that time he should do such work as will contribute to the real well-being of people. Therefore do I urge you in the service of jivas (The living beings) in a spirit of oneness. But, my son, such are the intricacies of work, that even great saints are caught in them and become attached. Therefore work has to be done without any desire for results. This is the teaching of the Gita. But know that in the knowledge of Brahman there is no touch of any relation to work. Good works, at the most, purify the mind. Therefore has the commentator Shankara so sharply criticized the doctrine of the combination of jnana and karma. Some attain to the knowledge of Brahman by the means of unselfish work. This is also a means, but the end is the realization of Brahman. Know this thoroughly that the goal of the path of discrimination and of all other modes of practice is the realization of Brahman.[Source]
Question: What is the supreme yajna?
Answer: Jnana Yajna (Knowledge sacrifice).
Question: Then, what is the use of other yajnas?
Answer: They are realised in their entirety and along with their fruits in the supreme bliss of Brahma Jnana.