Should one worship a personal or an impersonal God?
Verses 12: 01 to 12: 04
अर्जुन उवाच एवं सततयुक्ता ये भक्तास्त्वां पर्युपासते ।ये चाप्यक्षरमव्यक्तं तेषां के योगवित्तमाः ॥१२:१॥
ēvaṁ satatayuktā yē bhaktāstvāṁ paryupāsatē |
yē cāpyakṣaramavyaktaṁ tēṣāṁ kē yōgavittamāḥ ||12:1||
एवम् सततयुक्ताः ये भक्ताः त्वाम् पर्युपासते ।
ये च अपि अक्षरम् अव्यक्तम् तेषाम् के योगवित्तमाः ॥
एवम् -thus सततयुक्ताः –ever steadfast ये -those भक्ताः -devotees त्वाम् -you पर्युपासते -worship ये -those च -and अपि -also अक्षरम् -imperishable अव्यक्तम् –he unmanifested तेषाम् –of those के -which योगवित्तमाः –better versed in yoga
Arjuna said –
Those devotees who are steadfast in your worship as a personal God of form and attributes and those who worship you as impersonal, the indestructible, the unmanifested Supreme spirit, among these who is better versed in Yoga?
In simple language, Arjuna’s question was – Krishna, Which is better; worshiping you as a universal person with form and attributes as mentioned by you in chapter 11 (as a personal God, Virat Bhakta), or as a formless spirit? (Akshara Bhakta)
एवम् सततयुक्ताः ये भक्ताः त्वाम् पर्युपासते – O Lord, who is better in between the devotees, who worship you as supreme goal, immanent in your embodied form on the one hand, and the devotees who worship you as the formless and un -manifested spirit on the other.
This is a basic question that comes to the mind of all seekers. Should God be worshipped in various embodied personal forms like Rama, Krishan Ganapati, Shiva, etc., or should he be worshipped in formless, attributeless, divine spirit? The first form of worship is called Saguna upasana and the second as Nirguna upasana. Terms such as vyakta and avyakta are also used.
Gita 7 :16 says that there are four types of devotees.
“आर्तो जिज्ञासुरर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ”
“Four types of devotees worship me, O Arjuna. They are – the distressed, the seeker of self -knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the enlightened wise”. Among these, generally the distressed, seeker of self knowledge, and the seeker of wealth approach manifested God (Saguna Bhaktas) for
fulfillment of their desires. Jnyani or the enlightened one is a Nirguna Bhakta, adores a fomeless God.
Saguna bhaktas believe that service of the leity is the service of the Lord. If you give a glass of water to a thirsty man it reaches God. Once, Swami Eknath was returning after a
pilgrimage of Kashi. He had brought with him a pot of Ganga water for worshipping shiva in Rameshwar. His congregation passed through Rajasthan which was reeling under drought. He saw a donkey panting with thirst. Without wasting a
minute the swamiji poured Ganga water into the mouth of the donkey. Eknath said, this is my worship to Rameshwarji. In the eyes of a Nirguna Bhakta, the world is an illusion (mithya); only the spirit is real. Just as in a tapestry, if you pull out the threads, nothing remains but the yarn.
VERSE – 12: 02
Devotion to God with form and attributes is superiorश्रीभगवानुवाचमय्यावेश्य मनो ये मां नित्ययुक्ता उपासते ।श्रद्धया परयोपेतास्ते मे युक्ततमा मताः ॥१२:२॥
mayyāvēśya manō yē māṁ nityayuktā upāsatē |
śraddhayā parayōpētāstē mē yuktatamā matāḥ ||12:2||
मयि आवेश्य मनः ये माम् नित्ययुक्ताः उपासते ।
श्रद्धया परया उपेताः ते मे युक्ततमाः मताः ॥
मयि –on me आवेश्य -fix मनः -mind ये -who माम् -me नित्ययुक्ताः –ever steadfast उपासते -worship श्रद्धया –with faith परया -supreme उपेताः –endowed with ते -they मे –of me युक्ततमाः –the best versed in yoga मताः my opinion
The Blessed Lord said –
Those who, fixing their mind on me, worship me (in my manifested form) ever connected to me, endowed with
supreme devotion, are in my opinion the perfect knowers of yoga.
The Lord says that a Bhakta or devotee worshiping a formed God is better. All Bhaktas (devotees) have to reach the knowledge of the formless Consciousness before liberation. This the Lord himself explains in 12-04.
Who are the best Yogis? This is Arjuna’s question. Those who love God, they may be a man, woman, any race or kingdom, children or old aged. The word ‘yogi’ gives us a weird picture to us. The thought of people in strange
garments and headmarks, tufted hair, long flowing beard and unkempt hair comes to our mind. But the real meaning of yogi is one who is always connected to God (मय्यासक्त मनः).
मयि आवेश्य मनः ये माम् नित्ययुक्ताः उपासते – Always fixing his mind on me with devotion and faith one who adores me constantly. In this verse the Lord has replied in the first person –Mayi which means”in me.” So we must undertstand that he means worship of formed God. Devotion, faith and worship to God are not a part time job.
नित्ययुक्ताः constantly. He should be always in our mind. Do we remember that we are breathing? Worshipping God is also like that. It is a 24×7 activity. Worshipping is done by body and mind.
श्रद्धया परया उपेताः -endowed with supreme faith. Faith is courage of conviction. Whatever happens to you, the conviction shall not cease. Shraddha should be backed by discrimination, not by superstition.
मे युक्ततमा मताः –In my considered opinion these are the best yogis versed in Yoga, says the Lord. We have a wierd picture of a yogi. The picture of a mendicant with long beard, ash smeared all over the body, in funny dress comes before our mind. The lord says, “Yogi is one whose mind is connected to me”. The word Yoga comes from the root ‘yuj’ which means to join. Yogi’s mind is always joined to God, in communion with God.
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya baptized Harijans with Gayatri Mantra and tought them to recite Gita chpter 12. This chapter was very dear to Mahatma Gandhi.
VERSE – 12: 03/04
How to realize God without form and attrbutes?ये त्वक्षरमनिर्देश्यमव्यक्तं पर्युपासते ।सर्वत्रगमचिन्त्यं च कूटस्थमचलं ध्रुवम् ॥१२:३॥
yē tvakṣaramanirdēśyamavyaktaṁ paryupāsatē |
sarvatragamacintyaṁ ca kūṭasthamacalaṁ dhruvam ||12:3||
ये तु अक्षरम् अनिर्देश्यम् अव्यक्तम् पर्युपासते ।
सर्वत्रगम्, अचिंत्यम् च कूटस्थम् अचलम् ध्रुवम् ॥
ये – who तु -verily अक्षरम् -imperishable अनिर्देश्यम् –the indefinable अव्यक्तम् –the unmanifested पर्युपासते -worship सर्वत्रगम् –the omnipresent अचिन्त्यम् –the unthinkable च -and कूटस्थम् –the unchangable अचलम् –the immovable ध्रुवम् –the eternal
Those who worship the (Unmanifested form) imperishable, the indescribable, the unmanifested, the all -pervading, incomprehensible, the unchangeable, the immovable and the etrnal; Verse 12:04संनियम्येन्द्रियग्रामं सर्वत्र समबुद्धयः ।ते प्राप्नुवन्ति मामेव सर्वभूतहिते रताः ॥१२:४॥
saṁniyamyēndriyagrāmaṁ sarvatra samabuddhayaḥ |
tē prāpnuvanti māmēva sarvabhūtahitē ratāḥ ||12:4||
संनियम्य इन्द्रियग्रामम् सर्वत्र समबुद्धयः ।
ते प्राप्नुवन्ति माम् एव सर्वभूतहिते रताः ॥
संनियम्य –having restrained इन्द्रियग्रामम् –the aggregate of senses सर्वत्र -everywhere समबुद्धयः –even -minded ते -they प्राप्नुवन्ति -obtain माम् -me एव -only सर्वभूतहिते –in the welfare of all beings रताः -rejoicers
Those who have restrained all the senses, possess even -mindedness in every circumstance, and devote themselves for the good of all beings, verily, they too attain me.
In these two stanzas, Krishna speaks to Arjuna about the type of devotee who believe in the concept of God as the Transcendent Supreme being, one who is the creator and ruler of the universe. Nirguna Bhakti (निर्गुण भक्ति) leads to liberation. That supreme reality or spirit is called Akshara (अक्षर) or Akshara Brahma. Akshara means the imperishable. All that has got form and quality is matter and therefore perishable. The substances have a shelf life and keep on changing.
VERSE – 12: 05
अव्यक्ता हि गतिर्दु:खं देहवद्भिरवाप्यते || 5||
क्लेशः अधिकतरः तेषाम् अव्यक्तासक्तचेतसाम्
अव्यक्ता हि गतिः दु:खम् देहवद्भि: अवाप्यते
क्लेशः-tribulations अधिकतरः- full of तेषाम्- of those अव्यक्तासक्त- is engrossed in unmanifest चेतसाम्- whose mind अव्यक्ता- the unmanifest हि-indeed गतिः-path दु:खम्- difficulty देहवद्भि:- for the embodied अवाप्यते- is reached
For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifest, the path of realization is full of tribulations. Worship of the unmanifest is exceedingly difficult for embodied beings.
क्लेशः अधिकतरः तेषाम् अव्यक्तासक्तचेतसाम्
Swami Muktananda wri
Having embraced worshippers of all His various manifestations into the fold, Shree Krishna again reiterates His preference for the worship of the personal form. He surmises the worship of the impersonal Brahman by saying that it is an exceedingly challenging path that is full of tribulations.
Why is the worship of the formless Brahman so difficult? The first and foremost reason for this is that we humans possess a form ourselves and we have been habituated to interacting with forms in endless lifetimes. Thus, while striving to love God as well, if our mind has a wonderful enchanting form to meditate upon, it can easily focus upon it and increase its attachment to the Lord. However, in the case of the formless, the intellect cannot conceive of it, and the mind and senses have no tangible object to relate to. So both the endeavors of meditating on God and increasing the mind’s attachment to Him become difficult.
अव्यक्ता हि गतिः दु:खम् देहवद्भि: अवाप्यते
Worship of Brahman is also difficult in comparison to that of Bhagavān for another reason. The difference in paths can be understood through the markaṭ-kiśhore nyāya (the logic of the baby) monkey, and mārjār-kiśhore nyāya (the logic of the baby kitten). The baby monkey is responsible for holding onto her mother’s stomach; it is not helped by its mother. When the mother monkey jumps from one branch to another, the onus of clinging tightly onto the mother is upon the baby, and if it is unable to do so, it falls. In contrast, a kitten is very small and delicate, but the mother takes the responsibility of transporting it from one place to another, by holding the kitten from behind the neck and lifting it up. In the analogy, the devotees of the formless can be compared to the baby monkey and the devotees of the personal form can be compared to the baby kitten. Those who worship the formless Brahman have the onus of progressing on the path by themselves, because Brahman does not bestow grace upon them. Brahman is not only formless, It is also without attributes. It has been described as nirguṇa (without qualities), nirviśheṣh (without attributes), and nirākār (without form). From this, it follows that Brahman does not manifest the quality of grace. The jñānīs who worship God as nirguṇa, nirviśheṣh, and nirākār, have to rely entirely upon self-effort for progress. On the other hand, the personal form of God is an ocean of compassion and mercy. Hence, devotees of the personal form receive the help of divine support in their sādhanā. On the basis of the protection that God bestows upon His devotees, Shree Krishna stated in verse 9.31: “O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” He confirms the same statement in the next two verses.
VERSE – 12: 06
Devotees of personal God offer all actions to me and work for my pleasureये तु सर्वाणि कर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मत्पराः ।अनन्येनैव योगेन मां ध्यायन्त उपासते ॥१२:६॥
yē tu sarvāṇi karmāṇi mayi saṁnyasya matparāḥ |
ananyēnaiva yōgēna māṁ dhyāyanta upāsatē ||12:6||
ये तु सर्वाणि कर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मत्पराः ।
अनन्येन एव योगेन माम् ध्यायन्तः उपासते ॥१२:६॥
ये -who तु –on the other hand सर्वाणि -all कर्माणि -actions मयि –in me संन्यस्य –having renounced मत्पराः –considering me as the supreme goal अनन्येन योगेन –single -minded devotion एव -alone माम् -me ध्यायन्त -meditating उपासते -worship
On the other hand, those who venerate me offering all actions to me, regarding me as their supreme goal, and meditate on my impersonal form with unswerving devotion.. ……
ये तु –The indeclinable “tu’ is intended to distinquish the worshippers of God with attributes from the worshippers of the Absolute.
सर्वाणि कर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मत्पराः –having surrendered all their actions to me, perform their duties deligently as a work of God. They do not imagine that they are doing the actions. They say, “It’s Gods’ will and pleasure, He is the doer, and I am only his instrument”. They are also not attached to the success or failure of the outcome. They have God as their highest goal, the purpose of their actions, their friend, benefactor, and final resort. This is conveyed by the word matparah –Pro God. Nishkama karma yogi
अनन्येन योगेन एव माम् ध्यायन्त उपासते – अन्याश्र्ययाणाम्
त्यागः अनन्यता . Not expecting support from somebody else is called Ananya Yoga.
Single minded devotion means exclusive love to God with great reverence and respect. There is no selfishness or egoism in it. Such a devotee is firm; and not fickle. If some one asks us, “Hey what do you do for a living”, we say “I have a business, I have a job etc. We never say “God looks after me”. “Man does not live by Bread, Man lives by grace of God”, Said Christ.
What is the reward God gives for such a devotion and selfless activity? The Lord says this in next verse.
VERSE – 12: 07
The Lord with form rescues the devotees who pray to him unflinchingly.
तेषामहं समुद्धर्ता मृत्युसंसारसागरात् ।भवामि नचिरात्पार्थ मय्यावेशितचेतसाम् ॥१२:७॥
tēṣāmahaṁ samuddhartā mr̥tyusaṁsārasāgarāt |
bhavāmi nacirātpārtha mayyāvēśitacētasām ||12:7||
तेषाम् अहम् समुद्धर्ता मृत्युसंसार सागरात् ।
भवामि नचिरात् पार्थ मयि आवेशितचेतसाम् ॥
तेषाम् –for them अहम् -I समुद्धर्ता -saviour मृत्युसंसारसागरात् –out of the ocean of mortal samsara भवामि –I shall become नचिरात् –before long पार्थ –son of Pritha Arjuna मयि –in me आवेशितचेतसाम् –of those minds are set
O Offspring of Pritha (Arjuna) for such devotees who remain absorbed in me (manifested form) with their consciousness focused on me, I become before long their redeemer to bring them out of the sea of mortal births.
तेषाम् अहम् समुद्धर्ता मृत्युसंसार सागरात् । –I shall save such devotees from the terrible ocean of birth and death. Lord is the captain of the ship. He ferries us across the terrible ocean of birth and death. He assures a free passage for those who surrender unto him.
भवामि नचिरात् पार्थ मयि आवेशितचेतसाम् ॥
–For those whose minds are set on me in their action and thought I do not loose any time to come to their rescue. In verses 6 to 7 the Lord speaks about liberation though worship of formed God- Virat Upasana. He says that the devotee will be rescued from birth and death. What the Lord means is that the Bhakta will attain liberation by skipping karmayoga. He bocmes fit for jnyanayoga and attains liberation. This is the sovereign assurance of God. What is the duty of a devotee? Devote all your actions to me. Not only spiritual actions but also worldy actions. The meaning is give up ownership of the actions. Give the owenership to me.
मयि आवेश्य मनः ये माम् नित्ययुक्ताः उपासते ।
श्रद्धया परया उपेताः ते मे युक्ततमाः मताः ॥
ananya yoga means अन्याश्रयाणाम् त्यागः अनन्यता
VERSE – 12: 08
Fix your mind on me and you will permanently stay in me
मय्येव मन आधत्स्व मयि बुद्धिं निवेशय।
निवसिष्यसि मय्येव अत ऊर्ध्वं न संशयः।।12.8।।
mayyēva mana ādhatsva mayi buddhiṁ nivēśaya|
nivasiṣyasi mayyēva ata ūrdhvaṁ na saṁśayaḥ||12.8||
मयि एव मनः आधत्स्व मयि बुद्धिम् निवेशय ।
निवसिष्यसि मयि एव अत ऊर्ध्वम् न संशयः ।।
मयि –in me एव -only मनः – mind आधत्स्व -fix मयि –in me बुद्धिम् -inellect निवेशय -place निवसिष्यसि –you shall live मयि –in me एव -only अतऊर्ध्वम् -hereafter न -not संशयः -doubt
Fix your mind on Me alone and surrender your intellect to Me. There upon, you will always live in Me. Of this, there is no doubt.
Four paths to God: Verses 12: 08 to 12: 11
From 8 to 10th verses of this chapter, Krsihna reveals various methods of attaining liberation. Each path is suitable to a devotee who has reached certain level of spiritual advancement. The following are the recommendations –
- Meditation by fixing the mind and intellect on any form of God, Verse 08 – मय्येव मनःबुद्धिं निवेशय. This method is suitable for a sadhaka who has exceeding love for a God with attributes and admire his virtues, glory and mystery
- Yoga of repeated practice, Verse 09 – अभ्यास योग. This method is for a sadhaka who seeks to concentrate on God wth resolute faith.
- Work for the sake of God, Verse 10 – मत्कर्मपरमः भव. This is for a sadhaka, who has reverence for God with attributes and a natural attraction for penance, rituals, and charity etc. कर्त्वुव त्यग, अकर्तत्व योग
- Renounce the fruits of action, Verse11: सर्वकर्मफलत्यागम्. This is for a sadhaka who does not like to worship God with attributes and forms. He recognizes God as all -pervading and formless. He has a natural bias for wordly persuits and works for public good. कर्मफल त्यग
The Lord advices the alternative solutions only in the event of the devotee’s inability to follow the one previously
suggested. All the methods give the same reward viz., God Realization. The Lord is not suggesting that one is easier or better than the other. The alternatives are suggested only to suit the varying qualifications and temperament of the practioners.
मयि एव मनः आधत्स्व मयि बुद्धिम् निवेशय ।
–Arjuna, give me your mind and senses for safe keeping. Thereafter you will rest in me permanenty. There is no doubt in that.
As long as we have a sense of ownership and enjoyment of senses we cannot get God -consciouness. It is difficult to
control the mind. It always goes in the direction where it finds fun. We spend a lot of time in dressing up, caring for our body in the form of detox and butox, lotion and emotion but hardly we find time to meditate. The mind refuses to concentrate. Every one says, “I have no time, I have so much of work and commitments”. The fact is that we are not tied up with work and commitment but we are unable to drop their hold on us. There is a storey.
A monkey catcher put some peanuts into a few pots with big belly and small mouth. The wild monkeys were watching this. As soon as the man hid himself behind a bush, they came down and put their hands into the pot and grabbed the nuts. They couldn’t pull out the hands since they tightly held the nuts. In the mean time the man appeared and cought the monkeys. Similarly the world is not holding us by any work or commitment, but we are unable to drop and let it go.
The Lord does not demand money or free service. He says give me your mind and you will come unto me. We all know how difficult it is to fix the mind on anything. We want to concentrate of God. But the mind goes everywhere but God. It is so fickle.
In the Old testament, there is a stroey of adam and eve. The god forbid them from eating apple. But eve was tempted to eat it. That is the nature of mind. It will try to do what it is not supposed to do.
A Vaidya gave some pills to a patient and said take two pills day for one week. Your ailment will go away. But he cautioned, “do not think of a monkey while taking the pill”. The patient dis not understand what is the connection. Whenever he tried to take a pill he immediately remebered the monkey.
Once, Shankaracharya went to have a darshan of Vishwanth in Kashi. He stood before the image with folded hands, and said, “Lord, I want to help you. you are a mendicant and live by the alms given by your devotees. People don’t just give alms. I have with me a monkey. I will give it to you. You can take it with you when you go begging alms”. What is this monkey” it is human mind. Mind is more fikle than a monkey.
Krishna says to his devotees, “Give me your mind”
The gist of this verse is, if you contemplate on me by immersing your mind (manas) and your discriminative faculty (Buddhi) in me moving it away from the sensory and material objects, you will attain the state of blessedness by such
VERSE – 12: 09
The power of practice to reach Godअथ चित्तं समाधातुं न शक्नोषि मयि स्थिरम् ।अभ्यासयोगेन ततो मामिच्छाप्तुं धनंजय ॥१२:९॥
atha cittaṁ samādhātuṁ na śaknōṣi mayi sthiram |
abhyāsayōgēna tatō māmicchāptuṁ dhanaṁjaya ||12:9||
अथ चित्तम् समाधा्तुम् न शक्नोषि मयि स्थिरम् ।
अभ्यासयोगेन ततः माम् इच्छा आप्तुम् धनंजय ॥
अथ -if चित्तम् -mind समाधातुम् –to fix न not शक्नोषि -capable मयि –in me स्थिरम् -steadily अभ्यासयोगेन –by the yoga of constant practice ततः -then माम् –me इच्छा –wish आप्तुम् –to reach धनंजय –Dhanajaya (Arjuna)
O Dhananjaya (Arjuna), if you are unable to steadily fix your mind on me, then seek to attain me through the yoga of
अथ चित्तम् समाधा्तुम् न शक्नोषि मयि स्थिरम् –Arjuna, if a
devotee cannot disconntect the mind and discrimination from the senses and easily remain in an unbroken state of Blessedness, he should faithfully practice Abhyasa Yoga. This mode of salvation is recommended for restless devotees and those who are emotional and have more faith but less
reasoning and intellect.
अभ्यासयोगेन – Abhyasa Yoga involves many practices such as contemplating on God using images of personal Gods, or symbols , repeated singing of the virtues and glory of the lord, joining the congregation who engage in listening the the stories and life of Lords’s Avatars (Harikatha, katha -kathan, chintan), dance -drama depicting the Lord’s life, carols , sports, and glory, aradhana of saints and Gurus, japa, Pranayama, mass or solitary reading of scriptures and Gita, etc. It also includes abstention, confession, negating the comforts etc.
Practice makes a man perfect.
Ramakrishna gives the example of a just born calf. It tries to stand on its legs, but falls down. It tries again and becomes successful. This is the result of practice.
Once Swami Ramakrishna went to see a circus. A lady was riding a bicycle on a rope. The swamy said to his shishya. She won’t fall down because she has practiced since her child hood. this is abhyasa yoga.
अभ्यासयोगेन ततः माम् इच्छा आप्तुम् धनंजय ॥
In the previous verse the Lord said fix your mind on me and do all your works. If this is also not possible , he recommends
अभ्यास योग, the yoga of constant practice.
VERSE – 12: 10
Working for the pleasure of God मदर्थम् leads to blessednessअभ्यासेऽप्यसमर्थोऽसि मत्कर्मपरमो भव ।मदर्थमपि कर्माणि कुर्वन्सिद्धिमवाप्स्यसि ॥१२:१०॥
abhyāsē’pyasamarthō’si matkarmaparamō bhava |
madarthamapi karmāṇi kurvansiddhimavāpsyasi ||12:10||
अभ्यासे अपि असमर्थः असि मत्कर्मपरमः भव ।
मदर्थम् अपि कर्माणि कुर्वन् सिद्धिम् अवाप्स्यसि ॥
अभ्यासे -In practice आपि -also असमर्थः –not capable असि – if you are मत्कर्मपरमः –intent on doing actions for my sake भव -become मदर्थम् –for my sake अपि -also कर्माणि -actions कुर्वन् –by doing सिद्धिम् -perfection अवाप्स्यसि –you shall attain
If you are unable to do the spiritual yoga of repeated
practice, then dedicate all your activities to me and work without any selfish motive just to serve and please me. You shall attain perfection (Relization)
Krishna prescribes different methods of approach for the self unfoldment. If a devotee falters in the yoga of repeated
practice, owing to his restlessness and material activity, he has an option available to him. In addition to meditation, he has to offset his endeavour to self- realization by becoming मत्कर्मपरमः that means being a dedicated worker of God and for the sake of God (मदर्थम्). He works for the welfare of the society in the name of God. All his work done by body, mind and senses are done in the service of God. He has no trace of self -interest; he neither arrogates to himself any credit for his actions, nor conceives any attachment to its fruit.
This is the path of action coupled with devotion.
This is the path of transcendental knowledge or renunciation. The devotee feels he is only an instrument of God. The Lord himself guides every action. I can quote the case of my uncle who was a devotee of Ram. When a difficulty arises, or good thing happens he used to say, “Ram is there, it is all his will”. .
The instruction mentioned in verse 10 constitutes karmayoga. This is also called sarva-phala-tyagam.
VERSE – 12: 11
Abandonment of fruit of action results in self-realizationअथैतदप्यशक्तोऽसि कर्तुं मद्योगमाश्रितः ।सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं ततः कुरु यतात्मवान् ॥१२:११॥
athaitadapyaśaktō’si kartuṁ madyōgamāśritaḥ |
sarvakarmaphalatyāgaṁ tataḥ kuru yatātmavān ||12:11||
अथ ऎतत् अपि अशक्तः असि कर्तुम् मद्योगम् आश्रितः ।
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागम् ततः कुरु यतात्मवान् ॥
अथः -if एतत् -this अपि -also अशक्तः -unable असि –you are कर्तुम् –to do मद्योगम् –yoga of my realizatgion आश्रितः –take refuge सर्वकर्मफलत्यागम् –renunciation of the fruits of all actions ततः -then कुरु -do यतात्मवान् –self -conrolled
If you are unable to dedicate work to me, then subdueing your mind intellect and senses, give up attachments to fruits of actions.
अथ ऎतत् अपि अशक्तः असि कर्तुम् मद्योगम् आश्रितः ।
The Lord in the first instance called upon Arjuna to fix his mind and intellect on him (मयि बुद्धिं निवेशय). Next he recommended the yoga of repeated practice (अभ्यासयोगेन).
Thereafter he gave another choice to Arjuna to work for his sake (मत्कर्मपरमो भव). And finally he offers an alternative to him to renounce the fruit of all actions (सर्वकर्मफलत्यागम्).
Arjuna, if you are not able to give up the proprietorship for your action (अकर्तत्व योग), at least give up desire for the fruit of action. It is OK even if you work with with ownership of action as long as you give up the selfish desire for its fruit. Do your best work, and just say “Krishna Arpanam astu” – O God I have done my duty, the result is all yours. His mind and heart becomes purified. A mind freed from likes and dislikes that are born as a results of selfish activities is able to
manifest God qualities.
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागम् ततः कुरु यतात्मवान् ॥
“Give up the fruit of action” (सर्वकर्मफलत्यागम्), this has been repeatedly said in Gita. The lord says क्रपणाः फलहेतवः –those who are after the ego -centric desires are indeed misers.
A devotee by name Pundarik was keenly engaged in the
service of his ailing parents. Once, Lord Vitthal came to his door step. Pundarik bowed to God, and said, “God, please wait a while, I am serving my ailing parents, you may sit on this brick till I finish”. At that time another devotee by name Tukaram arrived there. He was surprised that Pundarik had made God to wait. “Sir, are my parents not God? They are
indeed living God for me.” Pundarik was engrossed in his duty but did not care for selfish desires.
This is the path of Karmayoga.
If you are not able to put your time in spiritual practice, offer all the results of your action unto me. This is the secret of karma. Offering all the rewards and fruits of action to god as service to him enables us to get immunity from binding action of karma. This is called फल त्याग. It means giving up of ownership of action. “I did this job, I am the innovator, I am the chief of the factory”. The right attitude is “God thank you to guide me doing my job. It is your wish, I did my job in your serive but not for me.´Krishna has repeated given this advice. Here are some references:
त्यक्त्वा कर्मफलासङ्गं नित्यतृप्तो निराश्रय: |
कर्मण्यभिप्रवृत्तोऽपि नैव किञ्चित्करोति स: || 4: 20||
Such people, having given up attachment to the fruits of their actions, are always satisfied and not dependent on external things. Despite engaging in activities, they do not do anything at all.
युक्तः कर्मफलं त्यक्त्वा शान्तिमाप्नोति नैष्ठिकीम्।
अयुक्तः कामकारेण फले सक्तो निबध्यते।।5.12।।
By abandoning attachment to the fruits of works, the soul in union with Brahman attains to peace of rapt foundation in Brahman, but the soul not in union is attached to the fruit and bound by the action of desire.
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि।।2.47।।
You have the right to perform your actions, but you are not entitled to the fruits of the actions. Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani – Do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions, and therefore you won’t be attached to not doing your duty.
अनाश्रितः कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति यः।
स संन्यासी च योगी च न निरग्निर्न चाक्रियः।।6.1।।
One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic: not he who lights no fire and performs no work.
What is the meaning of give up the result and reward for your action? This has been misinterpreted. It does not mean, cook food but do not eat, work in the factory but do not expect salary, play in the Olympics but do not expect to win, engage in the war, but let not victory be your goal?
Swami Raghaveshananda says: Karma phala tyaga has four elements
1.कर्तव्य विवेक 2. फलाफल समत्व 3. भगवत् अर्पण बुद्धि 4.प्रसाद स्वीकार
- कर्तव्य विवेक Is this job is useful to the society at large.
- फलाफल समत्व Once the action is planned after a lot of thought, it must be completed but never left half done. It is like building a bridge half done.
Victory or failure whatever is according to dharma has to be done
- भगवत् अर्पण बुद्धि- Such actions must be dedicated to God.
- प्रसाद स्वीकार -Accept the result. Put your best and be prepared for the worst. Do not seek, do not reject whatever comes by the grace of God.
VERSE – 12: 12
Sarva karma phala tyaga is the best method of realization
श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते ।ध्यानात्कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम् ॥१२:१२॥
śrēyō hi jñānamabhyāsājjñānāddhyānaṁ viśiṣyatē |
श्रेयः हि ज्ञानम् अभ्यासात् ज्ञानात् द्ध्यानम् विशिष्यते ।
ध्यानात् कर्मफलत्यागः त्यागात् शांतिः अनन्तरम् ॥
श्रेयः –is better हि -indeed ज्ञानम् -knowledge अभ्यासात् –than spiritual practice (without discernament) ज्ञानात् –to knowledge ध्यानम् -meditation on God विशिष्यते –is superior ध्यानात् –even than meditation कर्मफलत्यागः –renunciation of the fruit of action is better त्यागत् –from renunciation शान्तिः -peace अनन्तरम् -immediately
The Knowledge of scriptures is better than ritualistic
practice. Meditation is superior to spiritual knowledge.
Relinquisnment of fruits of action is better than meditation since peace follows immediately.
Krishna summerizes his teachings in this verse. He mentions four spiritual steps of अभ्यास practice, ज्ञान knowledge, ध्यान meditation, and कर्मफल त्याग relinquisment of fruits of action, which are progressively superior. If any of the steps is
missing, one cannot reach the goal.
श्रेयः हि ज्ञानम् अभ्यासात् – Better indeed is knowledge than
mechanical practice. Abyasa means efforts involving cessassion of wordly activities. These include pranayama, asanas, saying mantras, etc which are routinely carried out without renunciation of desires and attachment. A priest says so many mantras without knowing its meaning. The correct method is to understand its meaning and implement it.
Ramakrishna tells a tale of Mallanna to emphasise this point. A queen had a commited washerwoman who used to collect the laundry cloathes daily, wash it and press it cleanly folded and return them the next day. One day the washerwoman was sullen with grief. She said to the queen, “My Mallanna passed away” and still sobbling loudly. The queen also became sad and was sobbing all the day. Like a contagious disease every one in the palace was melancholic and depressed. The king decided to investigate. He came to know that a newly born calf of the donkey died on the third day. The calf was named Mallanna. This is what happens if you practice anything without knowing its significance. Any practice should lead us to knowledge. That is why Krishna says knowledge is superior to abhyasa or practice.
ज्ञानात् ध्यानम् विशिष्यते –Meditation is superior to knowledge.
Knowledge means spiritual or scriptural knowledge. It is
shastra jnyan but not tattva jnayan. It is not jnyana yoga
because meditation is a part of jnyana yoga. If the meaning of jnyana here is taken as true knowledge of the spirit, which is the fruit of all forms of disciplines.
श्रेयः ध्यानात् कर्मफलत्यागः -abandonment of fruit of action is superior to meditation. “
कर्मफलत्यागः is the same as सर्वकर्मफलत्यागः mentioned in 12: 11. Meditation coupled with eradication of desire and
attachment leads quickly to God realization. Whatever we gain in our life belongs to the Lord. All the things that grow in a field belongs to the owner of the field.
As long as we are attached to fruit of our action like profit, fame, position, office etc we bind ourselves to the world.
In Akbars court there was a famous singer by name Tansen. Very frequently he used to disappear for a few days. Akbar decided to find out where he is going. Oneday he saw Tansen sitting on a stone in a forest and singing alone. He rendered the songs one after another so melodiously that the king was happy. “Why don’t you sing so well in the court”, the king asked him. In your court, I sing before the king for the money given to me. Her I sing before the king of this world.
Whatever we gain in this world is the gift of God. It should be returned to him. Some give it back to God. Some others
return it to the children of God.
VERSE – 12: 13
The attributes of a devotee 12: 13 to 12: 19
In the seven verses from 12: 13 to 12:19 in six different
sections, thirty six intrinsic virtues of a perfect man are listed. This chapter closes with the enumeration of the list. At the end of this chapter the Lord promises that such practitioners can attain him. The lord mentions about Sthitaprajna (स्थितप्रज्ञ) in chapter 2; Yogi (योगी) in chapter 6, jnani (ज्ञानी) in chapter 13, Gunateeta (गुणातीत) in chapter 14, and Bhakta (भक्त) in chapter 12. All these refer to the same blessed soul in different stages. In chapter 7 :17, the Lord said, “such a wise yogi is very dear to me” (प्रियो हि ज्ञानीनोऽत्यर्थमहं स च मम प्रियः ॥७:१७॥)) Here are the noble qualities of the wise yogi.
अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव च ।निर्ममो निरहंकारः समदुःखसुखः क्षमी ॥१२:१३॥
advēṣṭā sarvabhūtānāṁ maitraḥ karuṇa ēva ca |
nirmamō nirahaṁkāraḥ samaduḥkhasukhaḥ kṣamī ||12:13||
अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानाम् मैत्रः करुण एव च ।
निर्ममः निरहंकारः समदुःखसुखः क्षमी ॥
अद्वेष्टा –not hating सर्वभूतानाम् –all creatures मैत्रः -friendly करुण -compassionate एव -also च -and निर्ममः –free from mineness निरहंकारः – free from egotism समदुःखसुखः –balanced in pleasure and pain क्षमी -forgiving
He, who is free from hatred to all creatures; is friendly and compassionate to all; who is free from the notions of “I” and “My”; even -minded in pleasure and pain; who is forgiving by nature;
VERSE – 12: 14
संतुष्टः सततं योगी यतात्मा दृढनिश्चयः ।मय्यर्पितमनोबुद्धिर्यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः ॥१२:१४॥
saṁtuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yōgī yatātmā dr̥ḍhaniścayaḥ |
mayyarpitamanōbuddhiryō madbhaktaḥ sa mē priyaḥ ||12:14||
संतुष्टः सततम् योगी यतात्मा दृढनिश्चयः ।
मयि अर्पित मनोबुद्धिः यः मद्भक्तः सः मे प्रियः ॥
संतुष्टः -contended सततम् –always योगी –the sage यतात्मा –having subdued his mind, senses and body दृढनिश्चयः –of firm conviction मयि –in me अर्पितमनोबुद्धिः –mind and inellect surrendered to me यः -whoever मद्भक्तः –my devotee सः -he मे प्रियः –dear to me
Who is ever content, who has subdued his mind and senses, whose resolve is firm; with mind and intellect engaged and dwelling in me, and who is devoted to me; such a devotee, is very dear to me.
In the 7 verses between 14 to 16, the end of this chapter, the Lord explains what type of devotees are dearest to him.
अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानाम् – one who is free from malice to all. Fire and water have antagonistic properties. They cannot live together. So also hatred and devotion cannot be in the same person. A wise man cannot be hostile to any living beings
because he feels his own self in all beings. Prophet Mohammad advocated brotherhood by not hating the fellow Muslims. Jesus advised,”all mankind are the children of God; so do not hate them”. Krishna went one step up and said, “Do not hate any of my creatures and creations”. The message of Gita is, there is nothing in this world other than vasudeva (वासुदेव सर्वमिति).
Pralhad was instrumental for the salvation of his father who tortured him in many ways. How could he detest his dad?
मैत्रः करुण एव च – friendly and compassionate. The Lord after saying do not hate any one, hastens to add the next prerequisite. Be friendly and compassionate. It is not suffiencent just not to hate. The walls and pillars too do not hate any one. Are they enlightened? Along with freedom from hatredness the next essential qualities of a man of perfection are friendship and compassion. निर्ममः –free from ‘mine-ness’, my-ness’. This is the 4th essential qualification. Mama means mine. My house, property, my children etc are very dear to me because they are all “mama”or belong to me. If you have to have belogingness let it be expanded to the whole universe. A mother also does not hate her children. She shows friendship in them. If she were to beat her children she would do so with the hollow of her palm; while beating other children she would use the hand. It is because she has “myness’ or attachment or “mama”with her children. This is called Mamakara. As long as we are attached to the body we have Mamakara. Once we are uplifted to the level of universal spirit, every thing appears as belonging to us; as Jesus said, hatred to none and love to all.निरहंकारः – free from egotism.
Ahankara: Egoism or self-conceit; the false “I;” “I” am-ness. It is the self-arrogating principle “I” that is projected by the mind rather than the real Self. “Ego” (ahankara) is in manifestation whenever “I” is said or claimed by anything other than the spirit-self.
समदुःखसुखः -balanced in pleasure and pain. This is the sixth qualifiation of a yogi. An ignorant has an attachment for pleasure and aversion for pain. An enlightened devotee takes joy or grief in a balanced way. He is neither elated by happiness nor dejected by agony. He will no doubt experience physiological sensory pain, in the same way as you and I, but he has the exemplary attitude to suffer the pain in two ways. One, he is so content with the happiness God has so far given to him that he decides to bear it out. Second, he possesses even -mindedness (equipoise) and is unruffled by material sufferings and pleasures.
Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player was dying of AIDS which he got due to infected blood he received during a heart surgery in 1983. From world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: “Why does God have to select you for such a bad disease”? To this Arthur Ashe
replied, “ The world over , 50 Million children start playing tennis, 5 Million learn to play tennis, half a Million learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the grand slam, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the
finals, When I was holding a cup I never asked GOD “Why me?”. And today in pain I should not be asking God, “Why me?”
“Many can understand the advice of Gita about the indifference to pain, but what about the indifference to pleasures? Does the yogi remain like a sphinx or a stone statue unresponsive to life’s pleasures? No, Gita does not give such a meangless counsel. Just as a millionaire is not excited to
receive a gift of one dollar, so the possessor of immesurable, all -satisfying divine wealth does not feel elated by the paltry offerings of the senses. Any one who runs after a sense joy proves that he has not tasted the divine bliss”.
क्षमी -of forgiving nature. This is the seventh noble featue of a yogi. Foregiveness should come from a source of strength. If a weak man says to a king, “Go away, I have forgiven you”, he is only hiding his weakness.
सततम् संतुष्टः Ever Contented. For a wordly man contentment is relative and momentary. We are also contented after feast, and when things are favourable to us. If the morning coffee is cut of, if there is a roadblock, if the counter closes when our turn comes we feel miserable. In the case of a yogi, contentment is not dependent on any object or event. He is ever contented. There is no pause in his continuous contentment because he is blessed with God -Consciouness. Once, Vinoba Bhave was walking in a field with his followers. It was spring when some trees had green leaves whereas some had their leaves dried up and withered. Vinoba was asked “Why is it so”. To this, Vinoba replied, “Those trees whose roots have reached the source of water are up and alive.” Similarly, the yogi whose mind has gone deep into the substratum of spirit, he remains ever contented.
सततं योगी –ever remains in a state connected to God. Yoga means to join. We are yogi in the morning, Bhogi in the noon and Rogi in night. The devotee is also in the midst of the wordly objects, he works with them, and subject to all vicissitudes of life as any of us. While he remains always in state of Blessedness? He lives in this world; but the world does not live in him.
सततम् यतात्मा -An enlightened devotee is never swayed by the mind and senses to the enchantments of the world. He is the master of his senses and therefore he never commits any evil. Yatatma means one who is mind and senses are under restraint.
सततम् दृढनिश्चयः -is a yogi of firm resolve. He has the courage of conviction that God is everywhere; it is the gunas of the prakrati that is responsible for actions.
सततम् मयि अर्पितमनोबुद्धिः – He is ever livs in communion with God. He lives in Godliness and immesed in God.
The lord says that devotees with these ennobling qualities are dear to him.
VERSE – 12: 15
The Lord declares that one who has balanced mind in severalemotional states in dear to meयस्मान्नोद्विजते लोको लोकान्नोद्विजते च यः ।हर्षामर्षभयोद्वेगैर्मुक्तो यः स च मे प्रियः ॥१२:१५॥
yasmānnōdvijatē lōkō lōkānnōdvijatē ca yaḥ |
harṣāmarṣabhayōdvēgairmuktō yaḥ sa ca mē priyaḥ ||12:15||
यस्मात् न उद्विजते लोकः लोकात् न उद्विजते च यः ।
हर्षामर्षभयोद्वेगैः मुक्तः यः स च मे प्रियः ॥
यस्मात् –from whom न –not उद्विजते –is agitated लोकः –the world लोकात् –from the world न -not उद्विजते -agitated च -and यः -whoever हर्षामर्षभयोद्वेगैः –by joy, hatred, fear and
anxiety मुक्तः freed यः -whoever सः -he च -and मे प्रियः –dear to me
He, by whom the world is not provoked, and who cannot be provoked by the world, and one who is free from joy, jealousy, fear, and anxiety; is dear to me.
यस्मात् न उद्विजते लोकः लोकात् न उद्विजते च यः –A person who does not disturb the world and in turn who cannot be
disturbed by the world. He is basically peaceful, and aways tries to help others in whatever way possible. He remains
unruffled by the turn of events and results. He does not get vexed and annoyed. He lives in the image of the Lord who is ever kind and compassionate and can never be a source of annoyance to others. It is quite possible that on some occasions the reaslized soul too can be persecuted by evil people by their action or words. Since he is completely free from likes and dislikes, he does not feel agitated in such circumstances. When Jesus was sentenced to die on the cross, he did not call his followers to agitate; he merely prayed, “O God please forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”. Such men are pleasing to God.
हर्षामर्षभयोद्वेगैः मुक्तः – Free from exultation, jealously, fear, anxiety and tension (हर्ष, अमर्ष, भय, उद्वॆग). Contact with an agreeable object sends a thrill into the body and excites pleasurable sensations of exultation in the mind, this is called Harsha. If some one says Oh! She is a beautiful, accomplished woman, that lady feels elated.
अमर्ष is envy, jealousy. One gets envious of the success of others. Two neighbours were always at loggerheads. They hated each other. Once one of them went to a forest and started doing penance. The other also did not lag behind. He also set out to do penance. The lord was pleased. He came to the first one and asked for a boon. The man was so jealous and prayed, “O Lord, give me double of what the guy over there may demands”. The the lord went to the other person and told what his neighbour wanted. “Lord makes me blind in one eye”, he requested. Being jealous, the second man did not mind being blind in one eye, because his neighbour became blind in both the eyes.
भय –fear. A devotee is never afraid. Ignorance or ajnyana is the cause of fear; Ignorance that I am the body, ignorance that the world is real, and ignorance that God is up in the Heaven. As the knowledge of reality dawns, the darkness of ignorance fades away. A man was marooned in a flooded
village. He climed up a tree and as the water level came up, he still went further. By that time a bird was also perched on another branch. While the man was afraid and tense that he may be washed away with the rising water, the bird was cool and chirping. The difference is that the bird had the strength of its wings; it could fly away at any moment it desired. The man was dependent on the branch of the tree. Similary as long as we are dependent on the strength of protection of God we will never be afraid.
This is an incident that happened in a hospital in Rhodes
Island. A doctor was examining a terminally ill patient. The latter was afraid of death. He asked, “Doctor what is there on the other side of death”? The doctor replied, “Honestly I do not know ! “Doctor, being a faithful Catholic how can you not know”, added the patient. At that time, the doctor’s dog was scratching at the door, pushed it and entered into the room. The doctor enquired the patient if he watched what the dog did. “He did not know what is there inside this room; he only knew that I am here, and therefore he entered the room without fear. Similarly I know there is a God there; I do enter when the call comes without fear.”
“ब्राम्हणाःसन्तु निर्भयाः” –“Let the wise people be intrepid” declares the Vedic mantras. Now what has happened is the goons and anti -social elements are without fear and the law abiding people are aftraid. That is why there is break down in law and order.
The gist of the verse is that a Godly man never indulges in sense excitements, frivolous pleasures, self -centred jealousy, mundane fears or material worries. Such a man is very dear to God. By developing these qualities, we can become a
devotee so dear to God.
VERSE – 12: 16
A devotee who does not depend on the world emotionally strong and pure is dear to meअनपेक्षः शुचिर्दक्ष उदासीनो गतव्यथः ।सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः ॥१२:१६॥
anapēkṣaḥ śucirdakṣa udāsīnō gatavyathaḥ |
sarvārambhaparityāgī yō madbhaktaḥ sa mē priyaḥ ||12:16||
अनपेक्षः शुचिः दक्षः उदासीनः गतव्यथः ।
सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी यः मद्भक्तः सः मे प्रियः ॥
अनपेक्षः –one who is free from wants शुचिः -pure दक्षः -efficient उदासीनः -unconcerned गतव्यथः -untroubled सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी –renouncing all ego -centric undertakings (or commencements) यः -whoever मद्भक्तः –my devotee सः -he मे प्रियः –dear to me
He, who expects nothing from the world, is pure in body and mind, is efficient and impartial, and unafflicted by circumstances, and has forsaken all ego initiated desireful undertakings; such a devotee of mine is dear to me.
अनपेक्षः –Apeksha (अपेक्षा) means expectations. Anapeksha means who has no expectations from this world. His
opulence is due to the bliss of God. He does not need anything. He eats, sleeps, and takes care of his body to the barest minimum to keep him going. Apeksha is due to ignorance, upeksha उपेक्षा (unconcerned to wordly objects) is due to knowledge. The first pushes you to the material world and the second pulls you out. A man of perfection does not
expect anything because he would become a slave to it. He is involved in all activities for the benefit of people but expects no reward.
शुचिः –Purity of the body and mind. The internal purity represents freedom from desire, attachment, hatred, partiality etc.
दक्षः –efficient. Indolent people cannot be efficient and prompt. An efficient person is capable of deciding what is to be and what aught not to be done immediately.
Just as child is bewildered by not finding her mother is not attracted by another tempting offers, but says, “I want my mother”, such an attitude is found with an ardent devotee.
VERSE – 12: 17
The qualities of a self-less devotee who is free from disturbances of happiness and griefयो न हृष्यति न द्वेष्टि न शोचति न काङ्क्षति ।शुभाशुभपरित्यागी भक्तिमान्यः स मे प्रियः ॥१२:१७॥
yō na hr̥ṣyati na dvēṣṭi na śōcati na kāṅkṣati |
śubhāśubhaparityāgī bhaktimānyaḥ sa mē priyaḥ ||12:17||
यः न हृष्यति न द्वेष्टि न शोचति न काङ्क्षति ।
शुभाशुभपरित्यागी भक्तिमान् यः सः मे प्रियः ॥
यः -who न -not हृष्यति – rejoices न -not द्वेष्टि -hates न -not शोचति -grieves न -not काङ्क्षति -desires शुभाशुभपरित्यागी –renouncing good and evil भक्तिमान् –full of devotion यः -whoever सः -he मे प्रियः –dear to me
He, who neither rejoices nor hates, nor grieves nor desires, has renounced both good and evil actions, and is intently devout, is dear to me.
यो न हृष्यति न द्वेष्टि न शोचति न काङ्क्षति -A perfect man does not rejoice when a good thing happens, or hate at such a thing not happening; he has no regret if an agreeable thing comes or not because he does not desire anything.
DVG was a great litterateur. The chief minister of Mysore wanted to name an important road in his name. Then DVG said, “ So far I lived quitley in my home. Now you want me live in the street”
Once and Englishman wrote an article on Gandhiji and asked him, if there is any substance in it. Gandhiji removed the pin and kept in the pinholder, and returned the article. He said, the substance has been taken care off.
शुभाशुभपरित्यागी –Renouncing good and evil actions. He
renounces the actions since all actions performed through body, sense and mind to god. He does not entertain any
attachment for such actions, or desre for their fruit.
The verse 4:20 mentions as to why a devotee is not responsible for his actions –
त्यक्त्वा कर्मफलासंगम् नित्यत्रप्तो निराश्रयः।
कर्मण्याभिप्रव्रत्तोपि नैव किन्चिन्त्करोति सः ॥४:२०॥
He is ever contented and free in the self, dependent on
nothing, though engaged in action does not really act even if he appears to be intensly busy.
A yogi having attained perfection and living in the self has no attachment, and desire. He lives in a sense of complete
inexhaustible fulfilment and so all the trifle material desires do not attract him.
न काङ्क्षति does not desire anything. It is purnatva or
completeness. He knows that God will grant all his needs and essentials. Narasimha swamy was pleased with Prahlad. He said, “ Iam pleased with you. Ask for any boon”. Prahlad said, “My lord ! if you insist on boon, please make my heart free from all cravings”
VERSE – 12: 18
Devine qualities of a yogi who is beloved to Godसमः शत्रौ च मित्रे च तथा मानापमानयोः ।शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषु समः सङ्गविवर्जितः ॥१२:१८॥
samaḥ śatrau ca mitrē ca tathā mānāpamānayōḥ |
śītōṣṇasukhaduḥkhēṣu samaḥ saṅgavivarjitaḥ ||12:18||
समः शत्रौ च मित्रे च तथा मानापमानयोः ।
शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषु समः सङ्गविवर्जितः ॥
समः -remains the same शत्रौ –to a foe च -and मित्रे – to a friend च -and तथा -also मानापमानयोः –to honour and ignominy शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषु –to cold and heat समः -balanced सङ्गविवर्जितः –is free from attachment
He, who is alike to a friend or a foe, to honour or ignominy; and during the experiences of warmth and chill, and pleasure and suffering; and is free from attachment;
VERSE – 12: 19
Devine qualities of a yogi who is beloved to Godतुल्यनिन्दास्तुतिर्मौनी सन्तुष्टो येन केनचित् ।अनिकेतः स्थिरमतिर्भक्तिमान्मे प्रियो नरः ॥१२:१९॥
tulyanindāstutirmaunī santuṣṭō yēna kēnacit |
anikētaḥ sthiramatirbhaktimānmē priyō naraḥ ||12:19||
तुल्यनिन्दास्तुतिः मैनी सन्तुष्टः येन केनचित् ।
अनिकेतः स्थिरमतिः भक्तिमान् मे प्रियः नरः ॥
तुल्यनिन्दास्तुतिः –to whom censure and praise are the same मैनी –silent सन्तुष्टः – contented येन केनचित् –with anything अनिकेतः –devoid of ownership and attachment with one’s dwelling place स्थिरमतिः –steady minded भक्तिमान् –full of devotion मे –to me प्रियः -dear नरः – that man
He, who takes blame and praise in the same light, who is quite and easily contented, not attached to domesticity, and of firm disposition and devotional is dear to me.
समः शत्रौ च मित्रे च –equal to a foe and a friend. समः means equipoised. A true devotee does not differentiate amongst men. Just as a tree makes no difference between a man who chops off its branches and a man who waters its roots; in the eyes of a devotee nothing exists apart from God.
तथा मानापमानयोः –to whom honour and dishonour are same
शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषु–who is same in heat and cold.
समः सङ्गविवर्जितः Free from all unfavorable association;
तुल्यनिन्दास्तुतिः –to whom censure and praise are equal.
The above three sets of opposites arouse morbid feelings in an ordinary man. To a man of perfection, who ever stays in God -blessedness, has reached the highest state of ananda (Happiness), these mortal tags have no meaning. They are like a bad dream which a man best ignores. He remains equipoised and calm in all circumstances (समः). As he sees God everywhere the distinctions totally disappear from his mind.
सङ्गविवर्जितः – is free from attachment. Desire and attachment are the root cause of our response to the above three sets of opposites viz., honour and dishonour, experiences of warmth and chill, Snub and adulations. Even if a man externally disowns all attachments and desires in this world, but at the same time in his sub -conscious mind has a craving for them; it will do more harm than good to him. King Janaka had given up all desisres but at the same time he ruled his empire without any selfish motive. The lord himself gives this example as a model to work in this material world at one’s best capacity without expecting any reward for his actions. The same idea has been brought out in 02 -57 quoted below.
यः सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहस्तत्तत्प्राप्य शुभाशुभम् |
नाभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता || २.५७||
“He who is everywhere Non -attached and meeting with good or evil neither neither rejoices nor disturbed is a man established in wisdom.”
मैनी – ordinarily means one who observes a vow of silence. A true seeker of wisdom becomes reticent. Physically he
abstains from speech, and mentally he is so deeply absorbed in God that he things nothing else but God. I have personal experience of such a realized soul who after living a life of model perfect man as described in these verses for several years propagating Vedanta, at the fag end of his life took to total silence and lived like a recluse for a couple of years in a cave and attained Samadhi in 1973. His name is Shridhar Swami-ji who lived in Varadahalli in Karnataka. He was a jivanmukta
सन्तुष्टो येन केनचित् – contented with anything; “Contentment with anything that reaches him accidentally, unasked, unexpected is the motto of all serious seekers of inward growth.” -Swami Chinmayananda. If we start demanding and desiring, the mind has the habit of asking for more and there will be no time for seeking.
“In the chapter on peace in Mahabharata, it is stated that the deities call him a Brahmin, who is content with any scrap of clothing, with any food and any shelter. Christ too counselled man -”Take no thought of your life, what ye shall eat; ye shall wear, for your Father knoweth what ye need, for these things shall be added unto you”. -Yogananda
अनिकेतः –Homeless. He has no attachment of ownership of house, for everything belongs to God. Mahatma Gandhi said – “You are a trustee to your wealth and possessions”. A great yogi, immersed in God has a natural aloofness towards such mundane concerns such as food, home, praise, self esteem which are important for a wordly man attached to physical comforts.
स्थिरमतिः –steady minded.
भक्तिमान् मे प्रियः नरः – A man full of devotion very dear to me.
In the verses 13 to 19 above, the lord repeats that such a
noble devotee is my beloved.
Out of the 36 intrinsic qualities set out in six sections, all the virtues are not mandatory in every devotee. However, even –mindedness, tranquillity, and absence of morbid feelings of attraction and aversion are sine qua non. These traits are the same as those who have transcended the three modes of Prakruti (Gunas). These are the marks of those who have reached spiritual perfection and realized the self.
VERSE – 12: 20
Those who follow this noble principle are dearest to me
Strive to develop divine qualities 12: 20
ये तु धर्म्यामृतमिदं यथोक्तं पर्युपासते ।श्रद्दधाना मत्परमा भक्तास्तेऽतीव मे प्रियाः ॥१२:२०॥
yē tu dharmyāmr̥tamidaṁ yathōktaṁ paryupāsatē |
śraddadhānā matparamā bhaktāstē’tīva mē priyāḥ ||12:20||
ये तु धर्म्यामृतम् इदम् यथा उक्तम् पर्युपासते ।
श्रद्दधानाः मत्परमाः भक्ताः ते अतीव मे प्रियाः ॥
ये -who तु -indeed धर्म्यामृतम् –undying dharma इदम् -this यथोक्तम् –as declared above पर्युपासते -follow श्रद्दधानाः -endowed with faith मत्परमाः –regarding me as their supreme भक्ताः -devotees ते -they अतीव -exceedingly मे –to me प्रियाः -dear
They indeed, who follow this immortal dharma (Law of Life) as hereinabove declared, endowed with faith regard me as their supreme goal, such devotees are extremely dear to me.
Verses 13 to 20 above are the innate characteristics of a realized soul. However in the present verse, the Lord extols those devotees who are faithful practitionsers of spirituality and on their way to realization.
ये तु धर्म्यामृतम् इदम् यथा उक्तम् पर्युपासते ।
–Those who follow this immortal Dharma as prescribed above. Krishna calls this adhyaya as dharmamruta or nectarlike dharma. Dharma is life science or right conduct. . Those faithful devotees who have not realized God, should pin their faith on me, should remain constantly engaged in remembering me. Faith is not superstition. It shows love, devotion, and gusto. God is their goal in life. They are always plunged in the thought of God. Such a devotee is blessed. He is most loved by god.
श्रद्दधानाः मत्परमाः भक्ताः ते अतीव मे प्रियाः
श्रद्दधानाः मत्परमाः-endowed with faith, in his utterances,
avatars, and imminent nature, his immense love,
foregiveness, compassion, and believe his stories as if experienced by their own senses
ते भक्ताः मे अतीव प्रियाः –Such devotees are exceedingly beloved to me.
The general public can be immensely benefitted by practising this undying Dharma in their profession and human relationships. Teachers and parents can become model for their wards; politicican can gain popularity; the students, sports persons, officers, workers farmers, merchants and indeed every individual all over the world can be benefitted in this secular and spiritual endeavour. A sadhak can reach his goal with great speed.
ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे भक्तियोगो नाम द्वादशोऽध्यायः ॥ १२ ॥
Thus, in the Upanishad of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, in the science of the Eternal, in the scripture of Yoga, in the
dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna, the twelfth
discourse entitled; “Bhakti Yoga” (The Yoga of Devotion).
Summary of 12th chapter
- Swami Paramarthananda audio and
Bhagawad Gita has 18 chapters divided into 3 sections.
The first section is called Prathama shatka, which covers chapters from 1 to 6. The second section called madhyama shatka covers chapters 7 to 12 and the final section called charama shatka covers chapters 13 to 18. Shatka means a group of six chapters. In these three sections, the Lord discusses the mahavakya tvam tat asi (त्वम् तत् असि).
In the first shatka, the Lord discusses the subject of ‘tvam’ or you. It is the concept of Jiva swarupa, who is entrapped in the material body, identifies it as his own and enjoys and suffers the pain and pleasures of the body. It discusses with the path of action or karmayoga.
The second section from chapters 7 to 12 is the madhyama shatka. It discusses the concept of ‘ तत् असि You are that eternal truth’. The truth is you are Ishwara svarupa the nature of God. It discusses the path of devotion or bhakti yoga.
the third shatka is from 13 to 18. It deals with you are or asi. It discussed about the unity of jiva and Ishwara, the identity of the soul and supersoul.
In the first verse, Arjuna questions Krishna as to which of the two types of devotees is better – those who worship The Lord in a manifest form or those who worship the unmanifest Reality. Krishna replies that those who worship Him with faith and devotion keeping their mind centred only him that is in his manifest form (saguna dhyana) are better. However, even those that control their senses and contemplate on the unmanifest Reality (Nirgiuna Ishwara) will also ultimately reach Him. But this path is more difficult. Those who offer all their actions unto Him and meditate on Him with a concentrated mind will cross over the samsara beset with sorrows.
- Sakama dhyana
Krishna advice is start with saguna dhyana and gradually switch over to nirguna dhyana. Saguna dhyana is the first step. It is the worship of God to fulfil my desire. I use God as a tool to acheive my goal. The Lord says if you give me your mind and intellect I shall be responsible for your yoga kshema (योग क्षेम).
- Nishkama dhyana
In this stage I involve myself in activities which are capable of miking my mind free from ego and desire. I take part in nirguna upasana or worship of formless God. In meditation I do not have before me any form of God but the formless truth. चिदानंदरूपम् शिवोहम् शिवोहम्. I am chit or existence and I am all auspicious.
Five stages of Dhyana
Krishna advises Arjuna to establish his mind and intellect in Him. Then he will live in Him. If he cannot do this he should try to reach Him through repeated practice failing which he can try doing work for the sake of The Lord. If doing this also is not possible he can practise self control and lastly he can try to offer the fruits of all his actions to the Lord.
The Lord says that spiritual knowledge is better than spiritual practices. Meditation is better than theoretical knowledge. Renunciation of the fruits of action is better than meditation. Krishna says that by renunciation of desires, one can attain Supreme Peace – Universal Consciousness.
The fifth lelvel of bhakti yoga: This is nothing but jnyana yoga swarupa anusandhanam. (self enquiry). This involves shravanam,mananam, and nidhidhyasanam. Shravanam is learning from the teacher and shastras. By shravanam you get knowledge of God. We may get a lot of doubts. the douts are mainly about the nature of God. Is nirguna Ishwara same as me, devoid of ahankara. The knowledge should be
acceptable to the intellect. Removal of the doubts by constant thinking and application of mind is called mananam. The next stage is nidhidhyasanam. This is self-appraisal. It is the assimilation of teaching. This includes repeated reminder to the mind of the higher nature of myself. We are aware of our lower nature of the self. I am so and so, I am born to so and so, on such and such a date, my qualification, bank balance etc. In nidhidhyasanam you come to know the higher level of God. I am God.
The intellectual knowledge will bring an emotional transformation. Most of our problem such as raga, dwesha, moha, mada and matsara are problems of the emotion. till that happens, I continue with my nidhidhyasana.
One who has gone through all the five levels of bhakti yoga, he becomes a jnyani or sthitaprajnya.
From verses 13 to 19 Krsihna discusses yogaphalam or fruit of dhyana yoga. The direct benefit is atmajnyana or realization of self. The benefit of knowledge is removal of ignorance.
Charecteristics of a true yogi Verse 13 to 20
Shri Krishna then describes the characteristics of a true devotee. Such a devotee does not hate anyone. He is friendly to all and compassionate and free from egoism and possessiveness. He is equanimous in pain and pleasure, ever forgiving and contended. Having mastered his passions, he has dedicated his mind unto The Lord. He is never the cause of unrest for the world nor can the world upset him. He is free from joy and anger, fear and anxiety. He is beyond pleasure and hatred, sorrow and desires and has abandoned all actions, good and bad. He has devotion and looks equally upon friend and foe and balanced in honour and dishonour. Ever contented, having no particular place as his home, he has steadiness of mind. Such a devotee is ever dear to The Lord.
Those who follow this immortal Dharma with faith considering Him as the Supreme goal of life are exceedingly dear to Him.
Live as the Gita Teaches You to Live
In this Chapter Krishna teaches the humanity at large to follow the immortal Dharma which leads one nearer to God. To follow Dharma is to live in harmony with every thing else in the world. In order to achieve this end, a scheme of practices are prescribed in this Chapter – Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Karma Phala Tyaga. Thus the 35 qualities mentioned in the Verses 13-19 are the goal of the aspirant, his Dharma and the methodology suggested to attain that goal has been given in the Verses 8-11. By following these techniques one becomes an ideal devotee who is exceedingly dear to The Lord.