Bhagavadgita !

Chapter 12

Bhakti Yoga !

||om tat sat||
अर्जुन उवाच
"एवं सतत युक्ताये भक्तास्त्वां पर्युपासते।
ये चाप्यक्षर मव्यक्तं तेषां के योगवित्तमाः "॥
Those devotees being thus ever dedicated meditate on you , and those again who meditate on the un-manifested , of them who are the best experiencers of Yoga

||Salutations to Sri Krishna||
Bhakti Yoga
Chapter 12

After having had the darshan of the universal form of Brahman shown by Krishna, Arjuna again falls prey to a doubt. Krishna praised the un-manifested Brahman in the second as well as the eighth chapter . But in Viswarupa samdarsana Yoga, the chapter 11, Krishna displayed the universal form in line with the glories of the Brahman described in Vibhuti Yoga. That display of universal form reinforces thoughts of Brahman in a manifested form. Krishna has talked about devotees who pray to both the manifested and the un-manifested Brahman. So Arjuna puts across his question.

That question is what we hear in the first shloka of the twelfth chapter .
अर्जुन उवाच:
"एवं सतत युक्ताये भक्तास्त्वां पर्युपासते।
ये चाप्यक्षर मव्यक्तं तेषां के योगवित्तमाः "॥1||
Those devotees being thus ever dedicated meditate on you, and those again who meditate on the un-manifested, of them who are the best experiencers of Yoga.

Effectively Arjuna is asking , -" Among the two types of Bhaktas one worshipping the manifested Brahman in various forms or the other worshipping the imperishable un-manifested Brahman who is better".

Krishna has a ready answer for Arjuna

मय्यावेश्य मनो येमां नित्ययुक्ता उपासते।
श्रद्धयापरयोपेता स्तेमे युक्ततमा मताः॥2||
Krishna's answer is not on who is better or to "whom" you pray , but is focused on "how" you pray. He specifically puts across the thought.

मय्यावेश्य - having fixed ( one's mind) on me
नित्य युक्ता - ( being) ever steadfast ( in belief)
श्रद्धया - with faith (in me)
उपासते- worships (me).

"Those who fixing their mind on me , ever steadfast and endowed with supreme faith - those in my opinion are the best"

Thus, leaving us with the answer that it does not matter whom you worship so long as one worships with his mind fixed on the Supreme with faith and being steadfast. That Bhakta is the best. The last shloka of Viswarupa Samdarsana Yoga also reflects the same thought (11.55)

Krishna does not leave it at that.

Knowing that the conditions he put on the "how" are not simple, Krishna elaborates further.
ये त्वक्षरमनिर्देश्य मव्यक्तं पर्युपासते।
सर्वत्रगमचिन्त्यं च कूटस्थमचलं ध्रुवम्॥3||
संनियमेन्द्रियग्रामं सर्वत्र समबुद्धयः।
तेप्राप्नुवन्ति मामेव सर्वभूतहिते रताः॥4||

Krishna elaborates that those who meditate on un-manifested Brahman by fully controlling their sensory organs and by being even minded and engaging themselves in the welfare of all beings, they attain the Supreme. But that process is -

क्लेशोsधिकतरः - more difficult..

The process of attaining Supreme being in the un-manifested form is more difficult for those who are attached to the bodies - देहवद्भिः !. This is in a way a guidance to the practitioners too. It is that one may graduate to the worship of un-manifested form after a preparatory process of cleansing one's mind.

Always trying to amplify the advantages of those attaining the Supreme, Krishna says
श्री भगवानुवाच:
तेषामहं समुद्धर्ता मृत्युसंसार सागरात्।
भवामि नचिरात्पार्थ मय्यावेशित चेतसाम्॥7||

"Those who worship me dedicating all actions to me and regard me as the Supreme goal , for them I become the savior, saving them from the ocean of life and death ".

The formula is simple (12.08).

मयि एव मनः आधत्स्व
Fix your mind on me
मयि बुद्धिम् निवेशय
place your mind in me.
निवषिष्यसि मय्येव ... न संशयः
"Then you will live in me alone there is no doubt'
This is a firm assurance - 'न संशयः'- without any doubt !

While this sounds straight forward it may not be easy.

For one may not be able to "fix his mind" on the Supreme being easily.
What should one do in such a case?
Krishna raises the question and answers the same too ( 12.09)

अथ चित्तं समाधातुं न शक्नोषि मयिस्थिरम्।
अभ्यासयोगेन ततो मां इच्छाप्तुं धनंजय॥9||

" If you are not able to fix your mind on me then seek to attain me through practice, the yoga of practice "

Practice makes you perfect is what Krishna is meant when he says : "अभ्यासयोगेन"- through constant practice !
This refrain on 'practice' we heard before also in the sixth chapter ,- अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येणच गुह्यते' . Wherein he said by practice you can attain detachment !

But what if you are still not able to fix the mind with constant practice. Krishna raises this question also and then answers.

अभ्यासेsप्यसमर्थोsसि मत्कर्मपरमो भव।
मदर्थमपि कर्माणि कुर्वन् सिद्धिमवाप्स्यसि॥10||

"If you are unable to even practice then be intent on actions for me ( dedicate all actions to me) By undertaking actions for me you will attain the ultimate"
Here Krishna advises one to put aside his ego and do all works dedicated to the Supreme being.

What if is one is unable to set aside his ego and do works for or in the name of the Supreme being. Krishna raises this question also and has a ready answer.

अथैतदप्यसक्तोsसि कर्तुं मद्योगमाश्रितः।
सर्वकर्म फलत्यागं ततः कुरु यतात्मवान् ॥11||

"If you are unable to do even this in that case taking refuse in me renounce the fruits of actions by being controlled in mind".

सर्वकर्म फलत्यागं - the renunciation of the fruits of all actions

This has been refrain of Karma Yoga.
Nishkama karma is the way.

Although we landed on Nishkama karma after several steps - if one is not able to fix one's mind , if one is not able to do actions in the name of Supreme being etc, the Nishkama karma or renunciation has a niche of its own.

Krishna once again emphasizes the renunciation saying from renunciation follows peace.

श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासात् ज्ञानात् ध्यानंविशिष्यते।
ध्यानात् कर्मफलत्यागः त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम्॥12||

"Knowledge is surely superior to practice.
Meditation surpasses knowledge.
Renunciation of results of works excels meditation.
From renunciation follows the peace"

Probably this is the most assertive statement on Nishkama Karma as the way to attain peace which is nothing but liberation.

अभ्यासात् ज्ञानम् श्रेयः हि।
Knowledge is superior to practice !
ज्ञानात् ध्यानम् विशिष्यते ।
meditation is superior to Knowledge
ध्यानात् कर्मफलत्यागः विशिष्यते।
Renunciation is superior to renunciation
त्यागात् अनन्तरम् शान्तिः भवति॥
From renunciation one attains peace !

While saying ' from renunciation one attains peace ' - Krishna effectively here says renunciation of ownership, renunciation of ego, renunciation of worldly objects with the mind not hankering after anything one attains peace.

Starting with " मय्यावेश्य मनो येमां " (12.01 ) meaning that those who fix their thoughts on 'me' contemplate on 'me' with faith are the best , Krishna leads us to the point that once the mind stops hankering after worldly goods one attains peace. We will retrace the steps of this argument.

After seeing the universal form Arjuna gets a doubt as to who are greater among those who pray to the invisible manifested imperishable form or those who worship the manifested form. Krishna responds saying that those with supreme faith and conviction contemplate on him and worship him are the best. If they are the best what is it that Krishna offers them. Krishna responds by saying that they will be helped across the sea of samsara with its death. What if they are not able to achieve that state of stabilizing their mind to focus on Him" with supreme faith , Krishna says by constant practice one may achieve that . But if they cannot practice also what are they to do. Krishna says they can do all actions for the sake of Bhagavan. Then he can attain perfection in that and attain purity of mind and rest will follow. If they cannot perform action for the sake of Bhagavan , then Krishna recommends that one do all action forsaking the fruits of action in favor of Bhagavan. In that process of forsaking the fruits of all actions one attains purity of mind etc. So, the bottom line of all paths is the renunciation of fruits of action.

Ultimately one attains peace by renunciation of fruits of action.

But who are the people who can go through these processes.
In short who are the Bhaktas ?.

Krishna elaborates on his favorite Bhaktas (12.13-19).
Bhaktas have many attributes.
Bhakta is one,-
- who hates no creature
- who is friendly and compassionate to all
- who is free from attachment and ego
- who is balanced in pleasure and pain
- who is forgiving,
- who is contented,
- who is ever steady in meditation,
- who is self-controlled,
- who is possessed of firm conviction,
- whose mind and intellect is dedicated to Him,
- who is not a threat to the world (others),
- who does not feel agitated by the world (others),
- who is free from joy envy fear and anxiety,
- who is free from wants,
- who is pure,
- who is experienced (expert),
- who is unconcerned (in the sense of being not agitated easily),
- who is untroubled by the sorrows,
- who renouncing all undertakings takes refuse in me,
- who neither rejoices nor hates nor grieves nor desires,
- who renounces good and evil with full devotion in Him,
- who is same to friend and foe,
- who has same attitude to honor and dishonor,
- who is unaffected by cold and heat as well as pleasure and pain,
- who is free from attachment,
- who is unaffected by censure or praise,
- who is silent,
- who is content with anything,
- who is free from sense of possessions,
- who is of steady mind,
- who is devoted to Him,

This indeed is a formidable list of attributes of a devotee , a Bhakta !

The import is not that only a person who has all these attributes is a Bhakta. A devotee, one who is devoted to Him - with even one of the attributes is ready for the journey. With devotion fixed in Him, the one attribute he has helps him in having a calming effect on his mind which progresses one to attain more and more of all other attributes driving one towards perfection.

Finally, Krishna says

येतु धर्म्यामृतमिदं यथोक्तं पर्युपासते।
श्रद्धधाना मत्परमा भक्ताः तेsतीव मे प्रियाः॥ 20||

"Those Devotees who follow this immortal law as stated who endowed with faith regard me as the supreme goal- such Bhaktas are dear to me"

This is the path of devotion or Bhakti.
This is a song of devotion or Bhakti.
A song of devotion as a means to attaining liberation.

||om tat sat ||
येतु धर्म्यामृतमिदं यथोक्तं पर्युपासते।
श्रद्धधाना मत्परमा भक्ताः तेsतीव मे प्रियाः॥ 20||
"Those Devotees who follow this immortal law as stated who endowed with faith regard me as the Supreme goal- such Bhaktas are dear to me"
||om tat sat||