SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA: CHAPTER TWELVE
The Path of Devotion
arjunah uvacha–Arjuna said: ye bhaktah–Those devotees who; evam–thus; satatayuktah–constantly with exclusive devotion; paryupasate–worship; tvam–You, Syamasundara; cha api–or; ye–those who; (paryupasate)–worship; avyaktam–the unmanifest, impersonal; aksaram–imperishable, Brahman; tesam–of these two types of yogis (jnana-yogi and bhakti-yogi); ke–who; yoga-vittamah–is the best knower of yoga?
1 Arjuna inquired: Of those devotees who are constantly engaged in worshipping You (as Syamasundara, Your original humanlike form) with exclusive devotion, and those who worship the impersonal Brahman, who is the best knower of yoga?
sri-bhagavan uvacha–The Supreme Lord said: ye–Those who; sraddhaya upetah–with faith; paraya–transcendental to the mundane; avesya–have absorbed; manah–the mind; mayi–in thought of Me, Syamasundara; nitya-yuktah–always engaged in exclusive devotion; (iti)–thus; upasate–worship; mam–Me; te–they; yuktatamah–are the best knowers of yoga. (iti)–This is; me–My; matah–opinion.
2 The Supreme Lord said: In My opinion, those who with faith in the divine are absorbed in thought of Me, Syamasundara, and worship Me constantly with exclusive devotion, are the superior knowers of yoga.
ye tv aksaram anirdesyam, avyaktam paryupasate
ye tu–But those who; sanniyamya–fully control; indriya-gramam–all the senses; sama-buddhayah–with equanimity; sarvatra–for everything; ratah–(who are) dedicated; sarva-bhuta-hite–to the welfare of all beings; (iti)–and thus; paryupasate–worship; (me)–My; anirdesyam–indefinable; avyaktam–unmanifest, impersonal; sarvatra-gam–all-pervading; achintyam–inconceivable; kuta-stham–unchanging; achalam–immovable; dhruvam–eternal; aksaram cha–attributeless aspect of Brahman; te eva–they, too; prapnuvanti–attain; mam–Me (as My Brahman effulgence).
3-4 However, those who fully control their senses, who are equal-minded towards everything, who are dedicated to the welfare of all beings and thus worship My indefinable, impersonal, all-pervading, inconceivable, unchanging, immovable, eternal, attributeless aspect of Brahman—they, too, attain Me (as Brahman).
The Lord's statement, "The worshippers of Brahman also reach Me," should not be misconstrued to mean that the impersonalists are on an equal footing with the devotees. The clue as to how the impersonalists can also reach Krishna has been given in the writings of Srila Bhakti Vinoda Thakur.
A person may progress on the path of selfless action up to the stage of meditation, as described in the first six chapters of the Gita. Then he may undergo great difficulty in searching for the Lord on the path of impersonalism. But when he progresses to the stage of dedicating himself to perform welfare work for others (sarva-bhuta-hite ratah), he may get the chance to render service to a pure devotee.
For example, if one engages in the general public welfare work of opening or running a hospital, if some service is even unknowingly rendered to a devotee of the Lord, a Vaisnava, one's devotional merit begins (ajnata-sukrti). By association with a devotee (sadhu-sanga), one develops faith in the divine personal form of the Lord, and automatically abandons the attempt of attaining to the impersonal Brahman.
With such faith, one takes shelter of a bona fide Guru, engages in the devotional practices based on hearing and chanting the holy name and glories of the Lord, and progresses on the path back to home, back to Godhead. Thus Lord Krishna indicates: "I am the ultimate goal, and Brahman is only a relative position. It is not the final absolute, because the absolute position is Mine. Only if the impersonalists serve others they may thereby come to Me—because the only way to come to Me is through a Vaisnava."
rahuganaitat tapasa na yati
(The sage Jada Bharata said to King Rahugana:)
naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim
(Prahlada Maharaj said:)
To consider that the Lord has taken the personal and impersonal aspects to be equal is a very commonly committed mistake. In reply to Arjuna's doubt in this respect, the Lord has clearly stated that the personalists are superior to the impersonalists—yet, the impersonalists are also given a chance to reach Him, because without Him, no ultimate goal exists. Without coming to the path of devotion, the worshippers of impersonal Brahman will reach Brahman, the dazzling effulgence of the divine form of Lord Sri Krishna.
kleso 'dhikataras tesam, avyaktasakta-chetasam
tesam–For those; avyakta-asakta-chetasam–of minds attached to the unmanifest; (bhavati)–there is; adhikatarah–greater; klesah–struggle; hi–as; avyakta gatih–the way of attaining the unmanifest, the impersonal Brahman; avapyate–is attained; duhkham–with difficulty; dehavadbhih–by the embodied soul.
5 Persons whose minds are attached to the impersonal Brahman must undergo a greater struggle, as the path of attaining the impersonal Brahman is difficult for the embodied soul.
ye tu sarvani karmani, mayi sannyasya mat-parah
ye tu–But those who; sannyasya–offering; sarvani–all; karmani–actions; mayi–to Me; mat-parah–taking refuge in Me; mam dhyayantah–meditating on Me; ananyena yogena eva–with exclusive devotion; upasate–thus worship (Me); (he) partha–O Arjuna; aham–I; na chirat–without delay; bhavami–become; samuddharta–the deliverer; mrtyu-samsara-sagarat–from the deathly ocean of material suffering; tesam–of those persons; avesita-chetasam–whose hearts are absorbed in thought; mayi–of Me.
6-7 But those who offer all their actions to Me, take refuge in Me, their hearts absorbed in thought of Me in pure devotion and who thus worship and adore Me—O Partha, I swiftly deliver such dedicated souls from the deathly ocean of material suffering.
mayy eva mana adhatsva, mayi buddhim nivesaya
adhatsva–Steady; manah–your mind; mayi eva–in Me alone. nivesaya–Repose; buddhim–your intelligence; mayi (eva)–in Me alone. nivasisyasi–You will abide; mayi eva–in Me; atah urdhvam–hereafter; na samsayah–there is no doubt.
8 So fix your mind in Me always and repose your intelligence in Me, Syamasundara, and you will ultimately abide in Me. Of this there is no doubt.
atha chittam samadhatum, na saknosi mayi sthiram
(he) dhananjaya–O Arjuna; atha–if; na saknosi–you are unable; samadhatum–to establish; chittam–your mind; sthiram–resolutely; mayi–in Me; tatah–then; ichchha–seek; aptum–to attain; mam–Me; abhyasa-yogena–by the yoga of constant practice.
9 O Dhananjaya, and if you are unable to firmly fix your mind in Me, try to attain Me by the repeated practice of remembering Me.
abhyase 'py asamartho 'si, mat-karma-paramo bhava
(yadi)–If; (tvam) asi–you are; asamarthah–unable; abhyase api–to practise remembering Me, too; (tarhi)–then; mat-karma-paramah bhava–concentrate on offering your actions to Me. kurvan api–Also by performing; karmani–actions; mat-artham–for Me; avapsyasi–you will attain; siddhim–perfection.
10 If you cannot do that either, concentrate on offering your actions to Me. You will attain perfection through actions performed for Me.
athaitad apy asakto 'si, kartum mad-yogam asritah
atha–And if; etat api–this, too; asi–is; asaktah–not possible; kartum–to do; tatah–then; mat-yogam asritah (san)–taking shelter in My yoga; yata-atmavan (bhutva)–controlling your mind; sarva-karma-phala-tyagam kuru–give up, for Me, the fruits of all your actions.
11 And if you cannot do that, then resolve to give up, for Me, the fruits of your actions.
sreyo hi jnanam abhyasaj, jnanad dhyanam visisyate
hi–For; jnanam–Knowledge of Me; sreyah–is better; abhyasat–than practice; dhyanam–meditation on Me; jnanat visisyate–is better than knowledge. karmaphala-tyagah–Giving up, for Me, the fruits of action; dhyanat–comes from meditation. tyagat–From giving up, for Me, the fruits of action; santih–peace ensues; anantaram–thereafter.
12 For knowledge of Me is superior to mere practice, and meditation on Me is superior to knowledge alone; from meditation comes the selflessness of giving up, for Me, the fruits of action, following which peace ensues.
advesta sarva-bhutanam, maitrah karuna eva cha
yah–One who is; advesta–without hatred; maitrah–friendly; karunah eva cha–and compassionate; sarva-bhutanam–towards all beings; nirmamah–free from possessiveness; nirahankarah–free from ego; sama-duhkha-sukhah–equipoised in unhappy and happy circumstances; ksami–forgiving, tolerant; satatam santustah–ever content; yogi–a yogi; yata-atma–self-controlled; drdha-nischayah–of firm resolve; arpita-mano-buddhih–who has given his mind and intelligence; mayi–to Me; sah–such a person is; mat-bhaktah–My devotee; me priyah–dear to Me.
13-14 One who is without hatred, who is friendly and compassionate towards all, free from possessiveness and ego, equipoised in unhappy and happy circumstances, forgiving, always content, a self-controlled yogi of firm resolve who has given his mind and intelligence to Me—such a person is My devotee, and he is dear to Me.
yasman nodvijate loko, lokan nodvijate cha yah
yasmat–He by whom; lokah–anyone; na udvijate–is not disturbed; yah cha–and he who; na udvijate–is not disturbed; lokat–by anyone; yah cha–and who; muktah–is free; harsa-amarsa-bhaya-udvegaih–from elation, anger, fear and grief; sah–he is; priyah–dear; me–to Me.
15 One who causes no disturbance to anyone and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is free from elation, anger, fear and grief—he is dear to Me.
anapeksah suchir daksa, udasino gata-vyathah
yah–One who is; anapeksah–without expectation; suchih–clean hearted; daksah–able; udasinah–impartial; gata-vyathah–fearless; sarva-arambha-parityagi–and a renouncer of all selfish undertakings; sah–he is; mat-bhaktah–My devotee; me priyah–dear to Me.
16 One who is without expectation, clean hearted, able, impartial, fearless and a renouncer of all selfish undertakings—he is My devotee, he is dear to Me.
yo na hrsyati na dvesti, na sochati na kanksati
yah–One who is; na hrsyati–neither elated; na dvesti–nor resentful; na sochati–neither laments any loss; na kanksati–nor hankers for the unattained; subha-asubhaparityagi–a renouncer of both auspicious and inauspicious acts; yah bhaktiman–and who is endowed with devotion; sah me priyah–he is dear to Me.
17 One who is neither elated nor resentful, who neither laments nor hankers as he has renounced both auspicious and inauspicious endeavours, and who is endowed with devotion—he is dear to Me.
samah satrau cha mitre cha, tatha manapamanayoh
(yah) narah–A person who; samah–sees with equality; satrau cha–an enemy; mitre cha–and a friend; tatha–and similarly; samah–is equipoised; mana-apamanayoh–in honour and dishonour; sita-usna-sukha-duhkhesu–and in the presence of cold, heat, pleasure and pain; sanga-vivarjitah–who has given up all attachment; tulya-nindastutih–and who considers abuse and praise equally; mauni–who is contemplative or of controlled speech; santustah–satisfied; yena kenachit–in any eventuality; aniketah–who has no attachment to hearth and home; sthira-matih–whose mind is peaceful; bhaktiman–and who is endowed with devotion; (sah) me priyah–he is dear to Me.
18-19 A person who sees with equality an enemy and a friend; who is equipoised in honour and dishonour, and in the presence of cold, heat, pleasure and pain; who has given up all attachment; who considers abuse and praise equally; who is contemplative; who is satisfied in all circumstances; who has no attachment to hearth and home; whose mind is peaceful, and who is endowed with devotion—he is dear to Me.
ye tu dharmamrtam idam, yathoktam paryupasate
ye tu sraddadhanah–Those faithful persons who; paryupasate–adore and follow; idam–this; dharma-amrtam–nectarine path; yatha-uktam–as described; mat-paramah–knowing Me as the supreme goal; te bhaktah–such devotees; ativa–are very; priyah–dear; me–to Me.
20 Those faithful devotees who, knowing Me as the supreme goal of life, wholeheartedly follow the nectarine path I have described, are very dear to Me.
iti sri-mahabharate sata-sahasryam samhitayam vaiyasikyam
End of Chapter Twelve
The Path of Devotion
from the conversation
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