Bhagavad Gita-Chapter 12 Bhakti Yogah-Yoga of Devotion

samah shatrau cha mitre cha tathaa maanaapamaanayoh
sheetoshnasukhaduhkheshu samah sangavivarjitah // 12.18 //

He who is the same to friend and foe, in honour and dishonour, in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment,

tulyanindaastutirmaunee santushto yena kenachit
aniketah sthiramatirbhaktimaan me priyo narah // 12.19 //

To whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent (restrained in speech), content with anything that comes, has no fixed abode, steady minded, full of devotion - that man is dear to Me.

That man who is  

26. Equal to friend and foe,

27.  In honour and dishonour,

28.  In heat and cold,

29.  In pleasure and pain -

30.  Equal to censure and praise - To a true devotee the worldly praise or censure has no meaning and significance because of his experiences of the Divine.

31.  Who is silent - He is a man of few words both physically and mentally.

32.  Content with anything - Contentment in anything that reaches him unasked for and unexpected of. Entertaining demands and to strive for their satisfaction is the never ending game of life. The policy of contentment is the only way to seek and achieve the divine goal of life.

33.  Homeless - Home indicates a sense of possession and belonging. Homeless means the absence of such sense. As these souls exist not for any family or social group but live for mankind as a whole, they do not have a settled home. They are not chained to one place or community. They are free to move wherever their inspiration takes them.

34.  Steadfast in understanding of the goal and

35.  Always with full devotion to The Lord,

 is dear to The Lord.

These terminologies indicate the entire possibilities in life at physical, mental and intellectual levels. In all of these situations a true devotee remains unagitated because he is free from attachment which is the cause for all agitations,

Sri Krishna has thus given the complete picture of a Man of Perfection, his relationship with the outside world, his psychological life and intellectual evaluation of the world of beings and happenings. This enumeration concludes the various moral, ethical and spiritual qualities of a true devotee.

ye tu dharmyaamritamidam yathoktam paryupaasate
shraddhadhaanaah matparamaa bhaktaaste'teeva me priyaah // 12.20 //

But those with faith, holding Me as their supreme aim, follow this nectar of pious wisdom, those devotees are exceedingly dear to Me.

The Sanatana Dharma is summarised in the Verses 13 through 19 above. To realise the Self and live in that wisdom at all levels - physical, mental and intellectual - is the fulfilment of human existence. By following the ideal set in the above seven Verses the devotee is freed forever from the grasp of the cycle of birth and death and succeeds in realizing God who is immortality itself.   It is in order to bring out this idea that the marks of a true devotee described above are spoken as ’Dharmyamrita’ or the nectar of pious wisdom.

It is not enough that one gets the knowledge of Dharma (Law of Life) but such knowledge should be lived. He should be able to digest it properly and become perfect in life. Therefore Sri Krishna says he must be endowed with faith - the capacity to assimilate spiritual ideas through subjective personal experience. Such devotees are supremely dear to The Lord.

When we see the One Self in all things, virtue like equal mindedness, freedom from selfish desires, surrender of our whole nature to the Indwelling Spirit and love for all sprouts in us. When these qualities are manifested, our devotion is perfect and we are God's own men. Our life then is guided not by forces of attraction and repulsion, friendship and enmity, pleasure and pain, but by the single urge to give oneself to God and therefore to the service of the world which is one with God.

om tat sat iti srimadbhagavadgeetaasu upanishatsu brahma vidyaayaam yogashaastre sri krishnaarjuna samvaade bhakti yogo naama dwaadasho'dhyaayah

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the twelfth discourse entitled : The Yoga of Devotion

Concepts and Issues
Arjuna questions Sri 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. Sri Krishna replies that those who worship Him with faith and devotion keeping their mind cantered only in Him are better.

However, even those that control their senses and contemplate on the unmanifest Reality will ultimately reach Him only. But their 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.

He then 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 offer the fruits of all his actions to Him.

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. Sri Krishna says that by renunciation of desires one can attain Supreme Peace - Universal Consciousness.

Sri 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 Sri 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.

Points to Ponder
1. Distinguish between the worship of the manifest and the unmanifest.
2. Why worship of the unmanifest is difficult?
3. What are the characteristics of a true devotee?
4. Write short notes on: a. Meditation
b. Knowledge
c. Work for the sake of The Lord
d. Renunciation of the fruits of action and its practice.

Next time we will proceed from the Chapter 13

Harih Om

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