Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4 verse 42: Use the sword of knowledge to rend asunder this doubt born of ignorance and rooted in the heart. Practice Karma Yoga: Stand up!

This verse summarizes Krishna’s teachings in Chapters 1 through 4 and is His most succinct instruction on how to practice karma yoga: ‘Stand up.’ Stand up and serve the desires of others. All that’s required for Arjuna to ‘rend asunder’ ‘ignorance,’ ‘doubt’ and emotional attachments of the heart is to ‘stand up.’ Arjuna’s fear, confusion, cowardliness, dithering … disintegrate the moment he lifts himself off the seat of his chariot.

This is the practice of ‘karma yoga.’ Renounce selfish desires and the actions they seed by serving the desires of others. With even the simplest of selfless acts, bondage to find happiness and contentment in objects of the senses through selfish act breaks. Attention settles down and turns within. From within we experience the unbounded contentment of Self (2.45). 

 

Stand in the ‘knowledge’ of this contentment born of understanding and experience gained in practicing ‘karma yoga.’ Extinguish dark doubts and emotional attachments born of ignorance. In the light of knowledge inner strengths come to fore.

copyright Keith R Parker 2021

Having heard the philosophy of life in terms of Samkhya, hear it now in terms of Yoga. Your intellect established through its practice, you will cast away the binding influence of action [cast away the bondage of karma].

This pivotal verse is critical to understanding the practice of karma yoga advanced in the remainder of this chapter. Here, Krishna shifts gears from theoretical to practical, from the philosophy of Samkhya to the practice of karma yoga. ‘Having heard the philosophy of life in terms of Samkhya.’