daivam evāpare yajñaḿ
brahmāgnāv apare yajñaḿ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 4.25
Some yogis perfectly worship the demigods by offering different sacrifices to them, and some of them offer sacrifices in the fire of the Supreme Brahman.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
As described above, a person engaged in discharging duties in Krishna consciousness is also called a perfect yogi or a first-class mystic. But there are others also, who perform similar sacrifices in the worship of demigods, and still others who sacrifice to the Supreme Brahman, or the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord. So there are different kinds of sacrifices in terms of different categories. Such different categories of sacrifice by different types of performers only superficially demark varieties of sacrifice. Factually sacrifice means to satisfy the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, who is also known as Yajna. All the different varieties of sacrifice can be placed within two primary divisions: namely, sacrifice of worldly possessions and sacrifice in pursuit of transcendental knowledge. Those who are in Krishna consciousness sacrifice all material possessions for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, while others, who want some temporary material happiness, sacrifice their material possessions to satisfy demigods such as Indra, the sun-god, etc. And others, who are impersonalists, sacrifice their identity by merging into the existence of impersonal Brahman. The demigods are powerful living entities appointed by the Supreme Lord for the maintenance and supervision of all material functions like the heating, watering and lighting of the universe. Those who are interested in material benefits worship the demigods by various sacrifices according to the Vedic rituals. They are called bahv-ishvara-vadi, or believers in many gods. But others, who worship the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth and regard the forms of the demigods as temporary, sacrifice their individual selves in the supreme fire and thus end their individual existences by merging into the existence of the Supreme. Such impersonalists sacrifice their time in philosophical speculation to understand the transcendental nature of the Supreme. In other words, the fruitive workers sacrifice their material possessions for material enjoyment, whereas the impersonalist sacrifices his material designations with a view to merging into the existence of the Supreme. For the impersonalist, the fire altar of sacrifice is the Supreme Brahman, and the offering is the self being consumed by the fire of Brahman. The Krishna conscious person, like Arjuna, however, sacrifices everything for the satisfaction of Krishna, and thus all his material possessions as well as his own self—everything—is sacrificed for Krishna. Thus, he is the first-class yogi; but he does not lose his individual existence.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Hear about many other types of yajnas. The Lord explains this in eight verses. Daivam refers to that in which devatas like Indra and Varuna are worshipped. Thus the phrase daivam yajnam means worship having Indra and other devatas as subject. This is derived from the rule sasya devata (Panini 4.2.24). In this worship, it is indicated that there is lack of consciousness of brahman. The karma yogis (yoginah) worship the devatas.
Others, the jnana yogis, offer the jiva (yajnam) (what is called tvam: you) as the oblation into the fire of brahman or paramatma (what is called tat: that), using the mantra pranava as the instrument (yajnena). This jnana yoga will be praised later (verse 33). The words yajna and yajnena used as object and instrument refer to the pure jiva and pranava through the metaphor of the previous verse.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
4.25 Some Karma Yogins resort to the sacrifice relating to gods, i.e., the sacrifice which takes the form of worshipping gods. The meaning is that they have steadfast devotion only in this. ‘Others offer sacrifice into the fire of Brahman solely by means of sacrifice.’ Here the term, ‘sacrifice’ is used in the sense of the oblation, the ladle etc., required for performing a sacrifice and therefore they are said to constitute ‘sacrificing.’ These are of the nature of Brahman. ‘Offer by means of sacrifice’ indicates the ladle and other implements for the accomplishment of sacrifice.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The ability to see the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence everywhere is factually a potent form of yagna or offerings of worship as propitiation to the Supreme Lord Krishns. This type of yagna is superior to all other yagnas. In order to show its superiority; the various sacrifices which are methods to attain this knowledge are given in descending order of importance in the next eight verses. Those yagnas in which demi-gods like Indra and Varuna are worshipped are called Daiva- Yagnas. The word eva meaning only shows that Indra and the demi-gods are not viewed as being Brahman. The karma yogis or those performing actions for specific rewards worship the demigods fastidiously. The jnana yogis or those cultivating Vedic knowledge offer the sacrifice back to the Brahman by means of that very sacrifice and dissolve all actions into the Brahman by the sacrifice of spiritual intelligence.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
In this way Lord Krishna is presenting the results one receives while being continuously immersed in the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence while performing every action as yagna or offering and propitiation to the Supreme Lord. To show the superiority of this yagna over all others Lord Krishna presents various types of yagnas in by different yogis or those striving to have their individual consciousness in communion with the ultimate consciousness, in the next eight verses. Here worship of the demigods such as Indra and Surya for the desire of material results is done by yogis of little knowledge. Others offer oblations of ghee or clarified butter and grains into the fire as offerings to the Brahman but they see only the fire as a form of the Brahman and not the performer, the offerings and utensils connected with the yagna. This shows that these yogis are on a lower platform than those yogis referred to in the previous verse who see everything connected to the act of yagna as part of the Brahman.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
4.25 Apare, other; yoginah, yogis, ritualists; pari-upasate, undertake; yajnam, sacrifice; daivam, to gods; eva, alone. A sacrifice by which the gods are adored is daiva-yajna; they perform only that. This is the meaning. Brahma-agnau, in the fire of Brahman: By the word brahman is meant That which is referred to in such sentences as, ‘Brahman is Truth, knowledge and infinite’ (Tai. 2.1), ‘Knowledge, Bliss, Brahman’ (Br. 3.9.28), ‘the Brahman that is immediate and direct-the self that is within all’ (Br.3.4.1), which is devoid of all worldly characteristiscs like hunger etc. and which is beyond all particular qualifications-as stated in, ‘Not this, not this’ (Br.4.4.22). That which is Brahman is the fire. [Brahman is called fire because, as reflected in wisdom, It burns away everything, i.e. ignorance, or because everything merges into It during dissolution (pralaya).] And it is spoken of as Brahmagni with a view to referring to It as that into which the offering is made. In that fire of Brahman, apare, others, other knowers of Brahman; upa-juhvati, offer; yajnam, the Self, which is referred to by the word yajna (sacrifice), it, having, been presented as a synonym of the Self;-that Self, which is a sacrifice, which is reality is verily the supreme Brahman, which is associated with such limiting adjuncts as the intellect etc., which is associated with all the qualities of the limiting adjuncts superimposed on it, and which is the oblation, (they offer) yajnena, by the Self itself as described above. The offering (of the Self) in that (Brahman) is nothing but the realization of that Self which is assoicated with the limiting adjuncts to be the supreme Brahman which is free from adjuncts. The monks, steadfast in the realization of the identity of Brahman and the Self, make that offering. This is the meaning. Beginning with, ‘The ladle is Brahman’ etc., this sacrifice characterized as full realization is being included among such sacrifices as daiva-yajna etc. with a view to eulogizing it in the verses beginning with, ‘O destroyer of enemies, jnana-yajna is greater than the sacrifices involving (sacrificial) materials’.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
4.25 Daivam etc. the Devas are the sense-organs that are playful. The yajna that stands based on them is nothing but the act of receiving objects of their own. Certain persons are thoroughly devoted only to that yajna, i.e., they gain the gain of their own Self by examining this (yajna) from its root . That is why they are men of Yoga; for, they are absorbed in the Yoga permanently at all stages. Indeed in Yogin the suffix ini, a synonym of matup, here signifies ‘perpetual connection’. Further, they (Yogins) pour, as an offering, the self-same yajna, above defined, into the Brhaman-fire that is insatiable i.e. that cannot be satisfied. Thus [the verse] has been interpreted by some. However, the Sage (the author of the Gita) does not violate the context. Hence, that meaning which exists in his heart we shall show : Certain masters of Yoga perform godly sacrifice i.e., sacrifice, consisting of external objects, and intending only deities like Indra etc., of varied forms. Further, with a single conviction that ‘It is a Yajna and a thing to be performed’, i.e., with no craving for fruit, they offer the same sacrifice, that is being performed, into the Brahman – fire which is insatiable i.e., difficult to satisfy. Thus even those, who perform sacrificial rites with material objects, attain the Supreme Brahman. For, it is going to be declared in the sequel : ‘All these persons too have understood sacrifice’ (IV, 30 below). The Vedic text also [says] : ‘The gods offered sacrifice [just] as sacrifice’. (RV, I, 164, 50; TS, III, v, II, 5; etc.)
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
daivam evapare yajñam
brahmagnav apare yajñam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
daivam — in worshiping the demigods; eva — like this; apare — some others; yajñam — sacriﬁces; yoginaḥ — mystics; paryupāsate — worship perfectly; brahma — of the Absolute Truth; agnau — in the ﬁre; apare — others; yajñam — sacriﬁce; yajñena — by sacriﬁce; eva — thus; upajuhvati — offer.