Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 20
Ye tu dharmyaamritamidam yathoktam paryupaasate;
Shraddhadhaanaah matparamaa bhaktaaste’teeva me priyaah.
They verily who follow this immortal Dharma doctrine or law as described above,
endowed with faith, regarding Me as their supreme goal, they, the devotees, are exceedingly dear to Me.
In this shloka Lord Krishna sums up all those qualities He has described before in the previous shlokas to talk about people who are dearer to Him. He says that all those people following Him are following their dharma which is immortal. This dharma is also called as the doctrine or low for every human being, whichever part of the world he might live in. Lord Krishna finally says that a person who has all that faith in Him, regarding Him only as the supreme goal worships Him, such people are exceedingly closer to Him.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
This shloka talks about conflict between the Doctrine of Dharma and the Law of the land. In a country like India which is secular in nature, by which there is no religion which is considered to be the state religion, Is the law of land different from the doctrine of dharma followed by Hindus, that constitute nearly 80% of the total population? Fundamental rights under Article 18 of the constitution guarantees the freedom to practice their own faith and state doesn’t interfere in it, but at times things get hazy and personal freedom or choice comes in the way of faith.
Let us take the matter of Women between 10-50 yrs not being allowed into the abode of Lord Ayyappan. Its a matter of faith that is centuries old and nobody has questioned the authenticity of it. Lord Ayyappan has taken a deeksha of Brahmacharya for life and it is said that women in the marry-able age are not welcome there. But now it has taken a turn of gender equality and rights. Can you stop a women who is in the age group of 10-50 from entering the temple if she wishes to? Matter went to Supreme Court which defines the law of the land and they gave a verdict that men and women, whatever age group they belong to have equal rights of visiting the temple.
This is a point where doctrine of dharma and law of land clashed. If its Lord Ayyappan’s wish that He doesnt want to see women of a particular age, is it not the responsibility of the women who worship Him, to respect His wish? Nobody can ever show a proof whether Lord Ayyappan said it or not, nor it is wise to ask for proof. If a women is a true devotee, she understands Her master’s wishes and would never violate them. If she is not, then she is a non-believer and a non-believer has no place in a temple. Matters of faith supersede that of the law of land in certain things and going against the wishes of many people just to prove one’s right to equality is nothing but ignorance.
Lord Krishna in a way was talking about this ignorance that people might have. That’s why one cannot follow everything blindly. One needs to have a vision to perceive and appreciate others’ sensibilities. That can be acquired only if one understands things from the points of view of many qualities we discussed in previous shlokas. People will not be irrational in their decisions nor mock the religion by showing their version of rationalism if they understand the true nature of God and the right meaning of Dharma. Gita is more needed at this hour than ever before, and with this we completed the 12th Chapter of the 18 Chapters and now we await what Lord Krishna is gong to tell Arjuna in the next chapter.