api chedasi paapebhyaha sarvebhyaha paapakrittamaha |
sarvam jnyaanaplavenaiva vrajinam santarishyasi || 36 ||
Even if you are the most sinful among all sinners, you will certainly cross over all sins with the boat of knowledge.
api : even
chet : if
asi : you are
paape-bhyaha : sinners
sarve-bhyaha : among all
paapa-krittamaha: most sinful
sarvam : all
jnyaana-plavena : boat of knowledge
eva : definitely
vrajinam : sins
santarishyasi : cross over
Shri Krishna continues speaking about the greatness of knowledge in this shloka. He says that this knowledge has the power of destroying all of our sins completely, regardless of how many sins we committed in the past.
Let’s re-examine what is meant by sin here using an example. Two most common sins are stealing and harming someone. In both these cases, the physical act itself is not the sin. It is the ego, the assertion of individuality and superiority behind each act, that is the real sin. This sense of separation created by the ego causes us to commit these acts, and experience joy and sorrow as a result. Over the course of our living, we have accumulated a large number of karmas.
Shri Krishna says here that the knowledge gained through sacrifice will destroy all sins. How will this happen? This will happen because the sinner himself will be annihilated through this knowledge. The sinner is nothing but the ego, the notion of individuality created by the false sense of identification with the finite body, mind and intellect.
This annihilation of the ego is comparable to deletion of an email account. An email account is nothing but a persona created in the virtual world. It can receive regular emails as well as spam emails. But when the email account itself is deleted, it will no longer be the recipient of any kind of email, regular or junk.
So therefore, Shri Krishna paints a beautiful picture to deliver this message. He says that we can cross over the river of all our sins with the boat of knowledge.