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Chapter 4: Transcendental Knowledge

Bg 4.28
TEXT 28
dravya-yajnas tapo-yajna
yoga-yajnas tathapare
svadhyaya-jnana-yajnas ca
yatayah samsita-vratah
SYNONYMS
dravya-yajnah—sacrificing one's possessions; tapo-yajnah—sacrifice in austerities; yoga-yajnah—sacrifice in eightfold mysticism; tatha—thus; apare—others; svadhyaya—sacrifice in the study of the Vedas; jnana-yajnah—sacrifice in advancement of transcendental knowledge; ca—also; yatayah—enlightened; samsita—taken to strict; vratah-vows.
TRANSLATION
There are others who, enlightened by sacrificing their material possessions in severe austerities, take strict vows and practice the yoga of eightfold mysticism, and others study the Vedas for the advancement of transcendental knowledge.
PURPORT
These sacrifices may be fitted into various divisions. There are persons who are sacrificing their possessions in the form of various kinds of charities. In India, the rich mercantile community or princely orders open various kinds of charitable institutions like dharmasala, anna-ksetra, atithi-sala, anathalaya, vidyapitha, etc. In other countries, too, there are many hospitals, old age homes and similar charitable foundations meant for distributing food, education and medical treatment free to the poor. All these charitable activities are called dravyamaya-yajna. There are others who, for higher elevation in life or for promotion to higher planets within the universe, voluntarily accept many kinds of austerities such as candrayana and caturmasya. These processes entail severe vows for conducting life under certain rigid rules. For example, under the caturmasya vow the candidate does not shave for four months during the year (July to October), he does not eat certain foods, does not eat twice in a day and does not leave home. Such sacrifice of the comforts of life is called tapomaya-yajna. There are still others who engage themselves in different kinds of mystic yogas like the Patanjali system (for merging into the existence of the Absolute), or hatha-yoga or astanga-yoga (for particular perfections). And some travel to all the sanctified places of pilgrimage. All these practices are called yoga-yajna, sacrifice for a certain type of perfection in the material world. There are others who engage themselves in the studies of different Vedic literatures, specifically the Upanisads and Vedanta-sutras, or the sankhya philosophy. All of these are called svadhyaya-yajna, or engagement in the sacrifice of studies. All these yogis are faithfully engaged in different types of sacrifice and are seeking a higher status of life. Krsna consciousness, is, however, different from these because it is the direct service of the Supreme Lord. Krsna consciousness cannot be attained by any one of the above-mentioned types of sacrifices but can be attained only by the mercy of the Lord and His bona fide devotee. Therefore, Krsna consciousness is transcendental.

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