Thus far Arjuna has been taught the highest form of devotion, which leads to union with God in its static aspect as also with His dynamic Prakriti. Krishna tells him that there are also other forms of devotion which are at a lower level as they are performed with various motives.
Four kinds of virtuous people worship God. They are seekers of wealth, the distressed, seekers of knowledge, and jnani or the wise. The first three approach God only for gaining limited goals in the world. Distinct from these three types of worshippers, the jnani stands out with his self-oblivious, non-utilitarian worship. He has no desires for any worldly reward. His worship is wholly directed to Self-Realization, to reach Brahman. Krishna expresses His deep love and admiration for the Jnani. Whatever form the devotee worships, the ultimate goal is the Lord Himself. The Lord accepts such worship, knowing that it is directed to Him only.
The deluded, having lost sight of the transcendental Reality, entertain a variety of desires in this world. They seek and earn the fruits of their desires. The Reality, personified as Lord Krishna (Vasudeva) functions in every being as Atman. Atman enlivens all activities, be they material or spiritual. Hence Krishna says that He supports all actions of individuals pursuing their manifold desires.
Speaking as Brahman, the pure Consciousness, Krishna declares that He knows the past, present and future. Living Beings, deluded by the pairs of opposites which bind this world, do not recognize the underlying Reality. The wise, striving for liberation, free themselves from this delusion and reach the supreme Brahman. They realize the whole truth – the play of Brahman, the individual soul and the world, jiva, jagat and jagadeesvara
DIFFERENT KINDS OF DEVOTION
chaturvidhaa bhajante maam janaah sukritino'rjuna
aarto jijnaasurarthaarthee jnaanee cha bharatarshabha // 7.16 //
Four types of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna; the man in distress, the seekers of knowledge, the seekers of enjoyment and those endowed with wisdom, O the best among the Bharatas.
Prayer is the effort of man to reach God. It assumes that there is an answering Presence in the world to whom the prayer is addressed. Through the exercise of Prayer, we kindle a light in our consciousness which shows up our pride, greed, fears and hopes. It is a means to build up an integrated personality, a harmony of the body, mind and Spirit.
The previous verse stated that sinful men possessed of demonic nature do not worship God. The question then who actually worships God is answered in this verse.
The Lord calls all the persons who offer prayers to Him as virtuous and classifies them in the following four categories. They are virtuous because anyone seeking the Lord, whatever is his motive, is a fortunate and righteous soul.
•The distressed - They pray for fighting against and gaining total relief from the distress that is troubling them.
•The seekers of knowledge – They pray for understanding the knowledge of the Self or the knowledge of God.
•The seeker of enjoyment- They pray for satisfying their desires and attain enjoyment here and hereafter.
•The Wise - They pray demanding nothing, expecting nothing. They carry with them as their offerings only themselves. They offer themselves in total surrender. Their only demand is that they should become one with The Lord. Their attitude is one of self-oblivious non-utilitarian worship of God for His own sake. He is the one who has renounced all desires born of maya.
It is also to be noted that not all people belonging to the first three categories stated above worship the Lord; only those who are fortunate among them take refuge in Him although they are desirous of rewards (phalakama).
teshaam jnaanee nityayukta eka bhaktirvishishyate
priyo hi jnaanino'tyarthamaham sa cha mama priyah // 7.17 //
Of them the wise man, ever in constant union with the Divine, whose devotion is single minded, excels; for I am exceedingly dear to the wise and he is dear to Me.
The wise (Gnani) who with a single pointed mind surrenders himself to the Self with an integrated devotion, which is not distracted by other compelling desires represents the Best. The unbroken aspirations of the Seeker to reach his own real nature of the Self are called single pointed devotion or steadfast mind - Ekabhakti.
Single pointedness of the mind is possible only when one withdraws oneself totally from all other extrovert demands of the lower nature in him. In the case of a Gnani the spirit is invoked not for acquisition of any sensual enjoyments but for elimination of all the self-destructive desires. Therefore, Sri Krishna who is the personification of the Self says the wise are the best and the highest in the category of those who invoke Him.
Such a Gnani because of his selfless love is dear to The Lord and in turn He is dear to him. The Lord is regarded as the very Self of the wise. So long as we are seekers, we are still in the world of duality but when we have attained wisdom, there is no duality. The sage unites himself with the One Self in all.