ज्ञानाग्निः सर्वकर्माणि भस्मसात्कुरुते तथा ॥ ३७ ॥
bhasma-sāt kurute ’rjuna
bhasma-sāt kurute tathā
As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.
Perfect knowledge of self and Superself and of their relationship is compared herein to fire. This fire not only burns up all reactions to impious activities, but also all reactions to pious activities, turning them to ashes. There are many stages of reaction: reaction in the making, reaction fructifying, reaction already achieved, and reaction a priori. But knowledge of the constitutional position of the living entity burns everything to ashes. When one is in complete knowledge, all reactions, both a priori and a posteriori, are consumed. In the Vedas (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.22) it is stated, ubhe uhaivaiṣa ete taraty amṛtaḥ sādhv-asādhūnī: “One overcomes both the pious and impious reactions of work.”