Just as a very good sweet will have something hidden inside of it, or a company will have the inner group of key people, the Gita has a core made up of four verses. These are called the Catur Sloki (catur = four, and sloki = verses), and they summarize the entire Gita.
The eighteen chapters of the Gita are themselves divided into 3 parts. The middle six chapters focus on bhakti and are “protected” on either side by teachings on karma-yoga (the first six chapters) and jnana yoga (the focus of the last six chapters). It’s considered that the Bhakti chapters are the heart of the Gita and the catur-sloki are located in that heart.
In the catur-sloki you find the essence of the teachings of the 700 verses of the Gita. They establish the scope of the Lord’s opulence (verse 8), the result of truly knowing those opulences (verse 8), how pure devotees worship Him (verse 9), and how He reciprocates with their devotion (verses 10 and 11).
Here they are:
- 10.8 I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their heart.
- 10.9 The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.
- 10.10 To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
- 10.11 To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
We see in these verses the loving exchanges between the Lord and us, which is the highest point of self-realization. We are trying to love Him and He is loving us by lighting up our heart in reciprocation. It’s love at the beginning, middle and end – just deeper and deeper feelings and expressions of that love.
These four verses are easy to learn and are a daily spiritual tonic to recite. One person I know has a clever way to learn verses. He sticks the verse on a door he uses a lot, and every time he goes out he recites the verse. He said he learns verses in no time by that method.
You can learn both the Sanskrit and English, or either one. Find the verses here at vedabase.com. These are great verses to have in your head. They can lead you to the heart of it all.