Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 4.28, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 28 from the chapter 4 called “Jnana-Yoga (Yoga through Transcendental Knowledge)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 4.28:

द्रव्य-यज्ञास् तपो-यज्ञा योग-यज्ञास् तथापरे ।
स्वाध्याय-ज्ञान-यज्ञाश् च यतयः संशित-व्रताः ॥ २८ ॥

dravya-yajñās tapo-yajñā yoga-yajñās tathāpare |
svādhyāya-jñāna-yajñāś ca yatayaḥ saṃśita-vratāḥ || 28 ||

dravya-yajñāḥ–sacrifice of possessions in charity; tapo-yajñāḥ–sacrifice in the form of austerities; yoga-yajñāḥ–sacrifice in the form of yoga; tathā–and; apare–others; svādhyāya-jñāna-yajñāḥ–sacrifice in the form of study of transcendental knowledge from the Vedas; ca–and; yatayaḥ–(all these) ascetics; saṃśita-vratāḥ–follow strict vows.

Some perform sacrifice by giving their possessions in charity, some by performing austerities, some by practising the yoga of eightfold mysticism and others by studying the Vedas and acquiring transcendental knowledge. All who make such endeavours follow strict vows.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

(By Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura; the innermost intention of the commentary named ‘the shower of essential meanings’)

Those who perform sacrifice by offering their material possessions in charity are called dravya-yajñāḥ. Those who perform sacrifice by performing difficult austerities, such as the cāndrāyaṇa-vrata, are called tapo-yajñāḥ. Those who perform sacrifice by the eightfold process of aṣṭāṅga-yoga are called yoga-yajñāḥ, and those whose sacrifice is to study the Vedas only in order to acquire knowledge are called svādhyāya-jñāna-yajñāḥ. All those who make such endeavours are described as saṃśita-vratāḥ (performers of strict vows).

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

(By Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja; the explanation that illuminates the commentary named Sārārtha-varṣiṇī)

Here Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is describing various types of sacrifice. Karma-yogīs give food grains, cloth and so on in charity. This is their dravya-yajña. They perform welfare activities that are described in the Smṛtis, such as digging wells and ponds, establishing temples of the demigods, giving food in charity, and making parks and gardens. There are others who perform activities such as protecting their dependants and taking a vow of non-violence towards all. Their charitable activity is called datta-karma. There are others who perform sacrifice for the purpose of pleasing the demigods. This is called iṣṭa-yajña. And some perform painfully austere vows, such as cāndrāyaṇa, which are explained in Manu-saṃhitā:

Kṛcchra-vrata:

ekaikam grāsam aśnīyāt try-ahāni trīṇi pūrvavat
try-ahañ copavased antyam atikṛcchṛaṃ caran dvijaḥ

Manu-saṃhitā (11.214)

For the first three days, a person eats one mouthful of food during the day. For the next three days, he eats one mouthful daily in the evening, and for the three days after that, he takes one morsel of food a day without begging. For the last three days, he fasts completely. This austere vow is called kṛcchra-vrata.

Cāndrāyaṇa-vrata:

ekaikaṃ hrasayet piṇḍaṃ kṛṣṇe śukle ca vardhayet
upaspṛśaṃś tri-ṣavaṇam etac cāndrāyaṇaṃ smṛtam

Manu-saṃhitā (11.217)

On the full moon day, a person should take only fifteen mouthfuls of food per day and take bath in the morning, noon and evening. From the first day of the lunar month onwards, he should reduce his food by one mouthful each day, and on the fourteenth day he should eat only one mouthful. He is to fast completely on the dark moon day. From the first day of the bright fortnight onwards, he increases his meal by one mouthful each day, eating fifteen mouthfuls on the full moon day. This is called cāndrāyaṇa-vrata.

There are others who perform sacrifice by devoting themselves to yoga. Their sacrifice is to perform aṣṭāṅga-yoga while residing in a pious place or holy place. Patañjali has said, “yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥyoga means to control the various activities of the mind.” The eight limbs of yoga are yama (adhering to regulative principles), niyama (abstaining from actions to be avoided), āsana (sitting postures), prāṇāyāma (breath control), pratyāhāra (withdrawal of the senses), dhāraṇā (concentration), dhyāna (meditation) and samādhi (trance), the performance of which is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga. Other karma-yogīs call the study of the Vedas jñāna-yajña; this is their exclusive engagement.

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