Devotion, Faith, Sense Control & Peace in Gita Chapter 4 Verse 39

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In one of my favourite verse of Gita three ingredients have been outlines to achieve the fourth which is the Goal of Spiritual practice. Let us look at the verse given in Gita Chapter 4 Verse 39 given below:-

śraddhāvāl labhate jñānaḿ, tat-paraḥ saḿyatendriyaḥ
jñānaḿ labdhvā parāḿ śāntim, acireṇādhigacchati

śraddhā-vān — a faithful man; labhate — achieves; jñānam — knowledge; tat-paraḥ — very much attached to it; saḿyata — controlled; indriyaḥ — senses; jñānam — knowledge; labdhvā — having achieved; parām — transcendental; śāntim — peace; acireṇa — very soon; adhigacchati — attains.

The man who is full of faith, who is fully devoted to It, and who has subdued the senses, obtains (this) 'Knowledge' ; and having obtained 'Knowledge, ' ere long he goes to the Supreme Peace.

As can be seen the three factors are:-

1. FULL FAITH (Shraddha-van) A man must have full faith but the word faith has a connotation which Shraddha does not have in that it is not blind. It is arriving at a conviction based on previously assimilated knowledge. This has been clarified by the Lord in the second chapter (2.52)

"When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard."

In fact Shraddha is so central that in Chapter 17 verse 3 it is said

"O son of Bharata, according to one's existence under the various modes of nature, one evolves a particular kind of faith. The living being is said to be of a particular faith according to the modes he has acquired."

2. FULLY DEVOTED TO IT (Tat-paraḥ) A person must be fully devoted. Half-hearted attempts will not help. Devotion is a central theme and has been used throughout. This is true for all endeavours. A mere intellectual study of the scriptures will not help us in purifying and shaping our "within' to the glorious Beauty of the Divine. It is an unavoidable necessity that the seeker must give his undivided attention to it, and must, on all occasions, maintain in his mind a continuous consciousness of the Divine.

3. WHO HAS SUBDUED THE SENSES. This too is imperative as the sensations are related to the attention of the seeker being trapped in trivials and also lot of energy gets wasted due to contradictions and conflicts that arise out of pursuit of pleasure.

4. SUPREME PEACE (Param Shantim) The Goal-of-life is labelled here as the "Great Peace" that knows no diminution. That a seeker who lives the above-mentioned triple-programme of Divine life, reaches the State-of-'Knowledge' and having achieved it he quickly attains the Supreme Spiritual Peace.