Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, sloka 31

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 31


Those who eat the remnants of sacrifices which is nectar go to the eternal Brahman. To the non-sacrificer, even this world is not, how can he get a higher world? O best of the Kurus.


This Sloka is almost similar to Sloka 13, chapter 3.

Yajna shishta: remnants of the sacrifice.
“Prasada” is a word commonly used in the Hindu philosophy. It means the returns one gets after offering his services to the higher power. Yajna shishta has to be considered as the returns for the sacrifice and this has to be accepted as the blessings from the higher power.

So far we had description of different types of sacrifices. All the sacrifices have one thing in common and that is self-denial.

We associate fruits as something we eat and enjoy. Karma Phala is fruit of action performed. In spiritual sense, eating does not apply only to the food consumed but to the results/fruits of any action conducted.

The Gita is all about the actions, fruits of actions, knowledge about the correct actions. Through the description of the various types of yajnas we are directed towards correct actions. Not only we have to conduct correct actions but we must also know how to make use of the results achieved.

In brief here is a description of how to make use of the results of actions: (taking example of the monthly wages received for the work conducted.)

a)  Considering that the body is a temple with the divinity inside it, we all have a sacred duty to look after our body. We have to use a portion of the gains by actions for the welfare of the body. Needs for clothing, shelter, food etc have to be met depending upon one’s social status in the society. Taking care of the bodily needs is not wrong as long as it fits in with the principle of dharma.

b)  One cannot guarantee that he can continue to work all the time. Ill health, injury, retirement etc reduces the income or completely stops the income. At such times, one should try not to be a burden on others and on the society. Therefore, as a preventive measure, wherever possible one should keep a portion of wealth earned for needs in such desperate situations.

c)  Each one of us will have some dependants like husband/wife/children/elderly parents/relatives etc. We cannot say when death approaches us. We should make sure that our death does not make our dependants lose their shelter. We should make provision wherever possible that the dependants are reasonably secure after our death. Part of the wealth is for this type of insurance.

d)  We have a social obligation to the needy in the society and also need to contribute towards the societies expenses for the various sections of the society. Portion of the wealth is for this purpose. It is in the form of local taxes and charitable deeds.

e)  Finally we have duty to contribute towards religious activities like upkeep of religious institutions and supporting those who keep our culture alive. This includes contribution towards maintenance of the temples also. After all we are the children of God and we need to see that the name of God is kept alive for the generations to come.

This is the sacrifice or self-denial the Gita talks about.

If we do not follow this basic rule we are considered to be selfish. Krishna tells us that a selfish person does not really get joy out of this world and whatever joy he gets is limited to a short period of time.

Total destruction of “I” (self) confers the highest reward and that being “merger with the Supreme”. This merger is “Liberation”. Liberated individual has the abode of the Supreme as his abode and that is “The Nectar” referred to in this Sloka.

If we consider that every individual is a composition of “divinity and man”, the task of having been born as human is to expose the divinity to the world outside and annihilate the man element.

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