ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्महविर्ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम्।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना।।4.24।।
4.24 Brahman is the oblation; Brahman is the melted butter (ghee); by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman; Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in action.
4.24 Brahma-arpanam, the ladle is Brahman: The knower of Brahman perceives the instrument with which he offers oblation in the fire as Brahman Itself. He perceives it as not existing separately from the Self, as one sees the non-existence of silver in nacre. In this sense it is that Brahman Itself is the ladle-just as what appears as silver is only narcre. (The two words brahma and arpanam are not parts of a compound word, samasa.) The meaning is that, to a knower of Brahman, what is perceived in the world as ladle is Brahman Itself. Similarly, brahma-havih, the oblations is Brahman: To him, what is seen as oblations is nothing but Brahman. In the same way, brahma-agnau, (-this is a compound word-) in the fire of Brahman: The fire into which oblation is hutam, poured; brahmana, by Brahman, by the agent, is Brahman Itself. The meaning is that Brahman Itself is the agent (of the offering). That he makes the offering-the act of offering-, that is also Brahman. And the result that is gantavyam, to be reached by him; that also is brahma eva, surely Brahman. Brahma-karma-samadhina, by him who has concentration on Brahman as the objective: Brahman Itself is the objective (karma); he who has concentration (samadhi) on That is brahma-karma-samdhih. The goal to be reached by him is Brahman alone. Thus, even the action undertaken by one who desires to prevent mankind from going astray is in reality inaction, for it has been sublated by the realization of Brahman. This being so, in the case of the monk from whom aciton has dropped off, who has renounced all activity, viewing his Knowledge as a (kind of) sacrifice, too, becomes all the more justifiable from the point of view of praising full realization. That is, whatever is well known as ladle etc. in the context of a sacrifice, all that, in the context of the Self, is Brahman Itself to one who has realized the supreme Truth. If not so, then, since all in Brahman, it would have been uselesss to specifically mention ladle etc. as Brahman. Therefore, all actions cease to exist for the man of realization who knows that Brahman Itself is all this. And this follows also from the absence (in him) of the idea of accessories. [See note on p.211.-Tr.] For the act called sacarifice is not seen to exist without being in association with the idea of accessories. All such acts as Agnihotra etc. are associated with the ideas of such accessories as making an offering etc. to the particular gods who are revealed in the scriptures, and with the idea of agentship as also desire for results. But they are not found bereft of the ideas of such distinctions as exist among action, accessories and results, or unassociated with the ideas of agentship hankering for results. This (apparent) (activity of the man of Knowledge), however, stands dissociated from the ideas of differences among the accessories like ladle etc., actions and results, which get destroyed by the Knowledge of Brahman. Hence, it is inaction to be sure. And thus has it been shown in, He who finds inaction in action (18), he really does not do anything even though engaged in action (20), the organs act on the objects of the organs (3.28), Remaining absorbed in the Self, the knower of Reality should think, I certainly do not do anything (5.8), etc. While pointing out thus, the Lord demolishes in various places the ideas of differences among actions, accessories and results. And it is also seen in the case of rites such as Agnihotra undertaken for results (kamya), that the Agnihotra etc. cease to be (kamya) rites undertaken for selfish motives when the desire for their results is destroyed. Similarly, it is seen that actions done intentionally and unintentionally yeild different results. So, here as well, in the case of one who has his ideas of distinctions among accessories like ladle etc., actions and results eliminated by the knowledge of Brahman, even activites which are merely external movements amount to inaction. Hence it was said, gets totally destroyed. Here some say: That which is Brahman is the ladle etc. It is surely Brahman Itself which exists in the five forms [Asscessories that can be indicated by the five grammatical case-ending, viz Nominative, Objective, Instrumental, Dative and Locative. (As for instance, the sacrificer, oblation, ladle, sacrificial fire, and Brahman.-Tr.) of accessories such as the ladle etc. and it is Itself which undertakes actions. There the ideas of ladle etc. are not eradicated, but the idea of Brahman is attributed to the ladle etc. as one does the ideas of Visnu etc. to images etc., or as one does the idea of Brahman ot name etc. Reply: True, this could have been so as well if the context were not meant for the praise of jnanayajna (Knowledge considered as a sacrifice). Here, however, after presenting full realization as expressed by the word jnana-yajna, and the varieties of rites as referred to by the word yajna (sacrifice), Knowledge has been praised by the Lord in, Jnana-yajna (Knowledge considered as a sacrifice) is greater than sacrifices reiring materials (33). And in the present context, this statement, the ladle is Brahman etc., is capable of presenting Knowledge as a sacrifice; otherwise, since Brahman is everything, it will be purposeless to speak specially only of ladle etc. as Brahman. But those who maintain that one has to superimpose the idea of Brahman on the ladle etc., like superimposing the idea of Visnu and others on images etc. and of Brahman on name etc., for them the knowledge of Brahma stated (in the verse) cannot be the intended subject-matter dealt with here, because according to them ladle etc. are the (primary) objects of knowledge (in the context of the present verse). Besides, knowledge in the form of superimposition of an idea cannot lead to Liberation as its result; and what is said here is, Brahman alone in to be realized by him. Also, it is inconsistent to maintain that the result of Liberation can be achieved without full realization. And it goes against the context-the context being of full realization. This is supported by the fact that (the subject of ) full realization is introduced in the verse, He who finds inaction in action, and at the end (of this chapter) the conclusion pertains to that very subject-matter. The chapter comes to a close by eulozing full realization itself in, Jnana-yajna (Knowledge considered as a sacrifice) is greater than sacrifices reiring materials, Achieving Knowledge, one৷৷.attains supreme Peace, (39) etc. That being so, it is unjustifiable to suddenly say out of context that one has to superimpose the idea of Brahman on the ladle etc. like the superimposition of the idea of Visnu on images. Therefore this verse bears the meaing just as it has been already explained. As to that, after having presented Knowledge as a sacrifice, other sacrifices also are being mentioned now in, the verses beginning with, (Other yogis undertake) sacrifice to gods alone, etc., for eulogizing that Knowledge:
Brahmaarpanam brahmahavirbrahmaagnau brahmanaa hutam; Brahmaiva tena gantavyam brahmakarmasamaadhinaa.
brahma—Brahman; arpaṇam—the ladle and other offerings; brahma—Brahman; haviḥ—the oblation; brahma—Brahman; agnau—in the sacrificial fire; brahmaṇā—by that person; hutam—offered; brahma—Brahman; eva—certainly; tena—by that; gantavyam—to be attained; brahma—Brahman; karma—offering; samādhinā—those completely absorbed in God-consciousness