by Jayaram V
According to the Bhagavadgita, single minded devotion to Vasudeva
is the surest path to
self-realization. In whatever way a devotee approaches Him, He
accepts them, for men approach Him from all directions (4.11). Such
souls are rare but dearer to God who have completely surrendered
themselves to Him and spend their lives in total devotion to and
continuous contemplation of Him.
The mahatmas (great souls) know how to worship God with undivided
mind, as they know Him to be Imperishable and the true cause of all
beings (9.13). Always singing His glories, striving to attain Him,
with firm determination, prostrating themselves before Him, ever
established in Him, they worship Him (9.14).
A true devotee is never lost to God. He lives in His constant
gaze and under His continuous protection. The Lord always takes care
of the needs of a pure devotee who is totally lost in pure devotion
to him (9.22). Pure devotion is the highest form of love to which
God responds with unconditional love and immediate attention.
Those who worship Vasudeva Krishna with single minded devotion
are speedily rescued from the ocean of mortal existence.(12.7). A
man should live in God, with his mind and intelligence fixed in Him,
to attain Him (12.8). If devotion with concentration of mind is not
possible, then one should practice concentration (12.9). If that is
also not possible then one should take refuge in Him and renounce
all fruits of actions (12.11).
God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. All living
entities are created by Him and they all exist in him. But deluded
by the three fold modes of nature, many do not recognize Him and
acknowledge His supremacy and His greatness.
The deluded persons of illusory hopes and actions, follow the way
of the asuras (demons) and do not worship Him (9.12). But the noble
and the virtuous, who possesses divine nature, knowing Him as the
prime cause of creation and imperishable, by worshipping Him and
identifying themselves with Him, in complete state of surrender and
egolessness, become extremely dearer to Him.
And God gives the assurance that they would never perish. Even if
a sinful person worships him with complete devotion, he should be
regarded as saint for he has rightly decided to do so and speedily
he becomes a dharmatma (righteous soul) (9.31).
Those who perform sacrifices (9.20) and those who worship other
gods (9.23) also in a way worship Him, but they do not attain Him.
The knowers of the Vedas who worship him through the sacrifices,
ascend to the heavens on death and after enjoying the celestial
pleasures and exhausting their merit they come back to the earth
Those whose wisdom is carried away by their desires, worship
other gods in order to fulfill their desires (9.20). In whatever
form the devotee worships with faith, God stabilizes the faith of
that devotee in that particular form and helps him to obtain through
that form the desired enjoyment (9.21&22). But finite is the fruit
gained by these men of lesser wisdom. The worshippers of gods go to
those gods, but the devotees of Supreme Lord go to Him only (9.23).
Men who worship God are described to be of four types : the man
in distress (arta), the inquisitive (Jignasu), the seeker of wealth
(artharhti) and the man of wisdom (7.16). Of them, declares Lord
Krishna, the man of wisdom, established in single minded and
continuous devotion, is extremely dearer to Him (7.17).
All devotees are noble, but the man of wisdom is deemed by God
as His own self who is in perfect union with Him (7.18). It is only
at the end of many births that a man is able to achieve such a
supreme state of devotion (7.19). There is an irrevocable assurance
in the following verses of the Bhagavad gita to the devotees who are
fully absorbed in Him (8.14 &10.10)
"To the constantly busy devotee who remembers Me without engaging
his mind elsewhere , to him I am very easy (to attain), O Partha."
"To those who worship Me always with loving devotion, I give the
real wisdom by which they come to Me."
Purity of heart and devotion are supremely important in this path.
Whatever that is offered to Him, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or
water, with pure devotion, that sacred offering of the pure soul, He
accepts with unconditional love (9.26). Such an offering can be even
extended to ones whole life and his activities. A true devotee can
convert his whole life into an offering to God. Whatever he does,
whatever he eats, whatever he offers, or gives away, whatever
penances he does, they can be offered to Him and become dearer to
For God there is actually none who is hateful or dearer for He is
equal to all and is present in all. But those who worship Him with
devotion are closer to Him and earn His grace. They are in Him and
He in them. (9.29). The power of devotion is such that by
remembering God at the time death a devotee can easily attain the
Highest Goal (8.13).
It is however not so easy to remember God at the time of death.
In order to accomplish this, the devotee must be a steadfast yogi
(nityauktaysa yoginah), with his heart and mind filled with
devotion, constantly remembering Him and thinking of him alone
Worshipping the Unmanifest Brahman is also not recommended. It is
not only difficult but painful for the embodies beings(12.5). But by
worshipping God in the form of Lord Krishna, with single minded
devotion, one can easily attain the Highest Abode never to return
again to the mortal world.
What are the qualities of a true devotee ? Who is dearer to God
and to whom He grants salvation in the end? Simple devotion without
perfection in other disciplines does not assure salvation. The
devotee should perfect himself in the paths of karmayoga and gnana
yoga also through practice in order to develop or strengthen the
qualities enumerated in the following verses (12.13-20):
"Without any hatred towards all beings, friendly and
compassionate, without any sense of possessiveness, without any
egoism, equal in pleasure and pain and forgiving.
"The Yogi who is always contended, self-controlled, strongly
determined, his mind and intelligence offered to Me, that devotee is
dear to Me.
"He who nether disturbs the world nor is disturbed by it, who is
free from joy, envy, fear and excitement - he is dear to me.
"He who is without expectations, pure, dexterous, impartial,
undisturbed, renouncing all effort in undertakings - that devotee is
dear to Me.
"He who neither likes nor dislikes, neither bemoans nor desires,
who has renounced both the auspicious and inauspicious and who is
full of devotion to me- he is dear to ME.
"Equal to friend and foe, in honor and dishonor, heat and cold ,
pleasure and pain and equally free from all attachment.
"Equal to being criticized or praised, silent, contended with
whatever he has, without a fixed abode, stable minded, engaged in
devotion- that devotee is dear to Me.
"But who follows completely the immortal dharma (righteousness)
as ordained, with faith, holding Me as the Supreme such devotees are
exceedingly dearer to Me.
Of all the devotees, however, who out of deep devotion engages in
the teaching of the Gita to His devotees, shall attain Him without
any doubt(18.68). Among men there is none who renders Him a greater
service than him and there is none who is dearer to Him than him
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