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Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 19

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 19

Tulyanindaastutirmaunee santushto yena kenachit;
Aniketah sthiramatir bhaktimaan me priyo narah.

He to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent, content with anything, homeless, 
of a steady mind, and full of devotion—that man is dear to Me.

Interpretation

This is the second part of the shloka where Lord Krishna is looking at the physical attributes of a person who is dearest to Him. After talking about the honour and dishonour, cold and heat, pleasure and pain Lord Krishna talks about few more attributes here. He says that a person to whom criticism and praise are equal is closest to Him. Then He goes on to say that a person who is silent and content with anything he gets and doesn’t aspire for any worldly desires like owning land and home and some one who has a mind which is steady and filled with devotion towards to Him is the one who is closest to Him

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Two qualities we need to understand here and they are very relevant to today’s times. One is steadiness of a person in censure and praise and the second is a person who is content with anything and is homeless. I would first like to talk about the person who is content with anything and who is homeless. Why did God use this phrase “homeless”? We all have a dream of owning a house. House gives you a sense of security and we own, single or multiple of them. Is house really a sense of security? If you look at today’s world where everything is uncertain a house is more of a liability than an asset. There were many reports published which says that in many cities in India, rented homes are cheaper than the homes you own or buy. When you own a land in a place where you are not living, you know how difficult it is to prevent it from getting encroached or forcibly occupied.

A day will come soon where home as a concept will have nothing but diminishing returns and the value of land will remain steady. All that I want to say here is, the enthusiasm and zeal a person experiences in owning a home, if he changes it to, in being content with what he has and spends his time and money in noble deeds, many better things will be planned to him. But in today’s world of rat races and dog fights, such statements have no place. A content person is not the one who leaves his family to roads, he is the one who makes his family independent and secure. You need not give anything to your children in the form of assets. Give them good education and an outlook through which they will earn those assets themselves in a much better way. 

That feeling comes only when a person is content with his money and spends time with his family. The second aspect am looking at is the person who is same in censure and praise. It is possible only when you dont own anything that comes your way.If you dont want to own a house, you dont own the praise for the work you do nor own the censure or bad remark for the work you failed to do. Detachment from objects, people and feelings is the only way of achieving this. Once you are detached you neither feel happy for something that went right nor feel sad for things that went wrong. Only such people will be closer to Him, says Lord Krishna


Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti yoga verse 18

Chapter 12 Bhakti yoga verse 18

Samah shatrau cha mitre cha tathaa maanaapamaanayoh;Sheetoshnasukhaduhkheshu samah sangavivarjitah.

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

Interpretation

This is a two-part shloka where Lord Krishna talks about the behavioral qualities that a person should exhibit that makes the person dearer to Him. In the first part, He is talking about four such opposite qualities where the person should show balanced behavior. Lord says that a person who is same in his behavior to his friend and an enemy is dearer to Him. The second is he should be same in honor and dishonor and third in cold and heat situations that a person faces. Finally, he says that a person who is the same in pain and pleasure is dearer to Him.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Remaining steady in honor and dishonor is one of the toughest challenges that a person faces in today’s times. Let me tell you an example here. I know a person who was once honored for his knowledge and efficiency in handling things. He is considered the best and whatever he does use to be a hit. People bestowed so much of honor on him that it became a part of his life. He used to walk, talk and live in that honor. But as we all know, life is a great leveler. He then did one mistake of getting close to a woman and started liking her.

Initially, people around him started ignoring but as the closeness grew, all the good work he did started appearing selfish and there came a situation where he was removed from the position he is holding. He couldn’t bear the situation. He couldn’t take the fact that people who used to bend their head in front of him once are now openly mocking him. He was unable to bear that dishonor that was brought onto him. One night he suffered a major heart attack and passed away. People again started remembering all the good deeds he did and restored the honor back, but the person is no more.

One has to understand the fact that life is all about living for others and when you start living for yourself the world judges you. You need to ensure that you couldn’t face the consequences of all the actions that you commit. Also, even if you don’t dishonor any act, still situations will turn in a way that you will face dishonor. Now, that is when your inner strength gets tested. If you don’t take the honor bestowed onto you to heart, then you won’t take the dishonor also to heart. Easier said than done. But one needs to carefully think about it because every day is not the same day and every act will not bring the same result that you expected.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 17

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 17

Yona hrishyati na dweshti na shochati na kaangkshati;
Shubhaashubhaparityaagee bhaktimaan yah sa me priyah.

He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor grieves, nor desires, 
renouncing good and evil, and who is full of devotion, is dear to me.

Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna talks further about the physical qualities of a person who is dearest to Him. He says that a person who neither rejoices nor hates is the one who is closer to Him. Rejoice and hate are the physical emotions that people exhibit towards things. He then says that a person who neither grieves not desires is dearer to Him. Then He also says that a person who renounces all good as well as evil and the one who is full of devotion is dearest to Him. In devotion this person has to renounce everything that is good for him as well as evil for Him.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Once again we are stressing the importance of a balanced person and how that person through his sheer balance becomes closer to God. The qualities of a balanced person are described here. A balanced person is someone who neither rejoices nor griefs. That means, if you give him what he wants, he will not feel happy nor feels unhappy when you deny him something. A balanced person is the who thinks that everything in this world is given by God and we should not attach any emotions to anything that is given by the God. 

One more quality of a balanced person is, he will not celebrate when something good happens to him nor he desires for good things to happen to him. This is possible only when that person who has attachment to his dharma, which is the guiding point to all his actions. Such people will have the inherent nature of renouncing things and would renounce everything in the name of God and have a strong belief that its the God who is the doer and they are just the medium for many things that are happening in their lives. Those who have such kind of thought process are the ones who are closer to Him, says Lord Krishna.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 16

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 16

Anapekshah shuchirdaksha udaaseeno gatavyathah;
Sarvaarambhaparityaagee yo madbhaktah sa me priyah.

He who is free from wants, pure, expert, unconcerned, and untroubled, 
renouncing all undertakings or commencements—he who is devoted to Me, is dear to Me.

Interpretation

Continuing to talk about the people who are dearer to Him, Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about some more qualities that a person should possess to become closer or dearer to Him. He says that a person who is free from all wants is closer to Him. Not only that a person who is also an expert in things that he does, unconcerned and untroubled by situations that arise around him is dearer to Him. Finally he says a person who renounces all his works and commencements to Him and who is devoted to Him is considered to be closest to Him. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

A new phrase to look at is “He who is free from wants, pure, expert, unconcerned and untroubled”. Here we are talking about a person who is totally dedicated his life to the service of the mankind. This person doesn’t want anything in life but he is busy satisfying the wants of people around him. This person is pure and an expert in many things. That means this person doesnt think even for a minute in a selfish way and he has attained mastery in whatever he does. Not only that he is unconcerned by everything around him and is untouched by what people talk and say about him. Have you ever seen or met such people before? Have you ever thought you can be one amongst them?

You cannot meet them because, they are not famous promoting themselves on TV channels. If you want to be one amongst them, then you have to concentrate on what the person wants, rather than focussing on what you want. Its wrong to say that such people don’t exist. They are around and we dont know them. Even you know them, they are not famous and lead a simple life. A person who is pure is not concerned how much popularity he is earning and how many people are talking about him. He keeps silently doing his work and he does his bit to change the world in his own way. If you touch and change even one person’s life also by being like this, you will be dearer to God rather than attracting a lakh people by holding a satsung.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 14

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 14

Santushtah satatam yogee yataatmaa dridhanishchayah;
Mayyarpitamanobuddhiryo madbhaktah sa me priyah.

Ever content, steady in meditation, possessed of firm conviction, self-controlled, 
with mind and intellect dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me.

Interpretation

This shloka is the second part of what Lord Krishna says to Arjuna about the people who are closest and dearest to Him. After talking about compassion, free from attachment and egoism in this shloka He talks about more qualities that a person should possess. He says that a person should be content and steady in his meditation and should have a mind which is full of conviction and self control. Apart from that He also talks about the mind and intellect of the person completely dedicated to Him. Only such people says, Lord Krishna are closest to Him.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The key phrase here is “Ever content, steady in meditation possessed with firm conviction and self control”. It has a world of depth in it. Here we are talking about a person who is steady in his meditation. Meditation here is what he is doing or his dharma. We have learnt previously that our dharma is something that we should meditate upon. What disturbs the person who is meditating his dharma? Temptations. Temptations can be physical, emotional, monetary or the words said by people who matter to him, that sticks to his mind. When a person gets tempted by those words, he then tends to waver in his meditation. 

Such kind of wavering nature will disturb him from his task and that is where the other three words used in the phrase come into picture. Those are content, conviction and control. If he is content with what God has given, come what may, he would not have been tempted at all. If he had the conviction or belief that the path he is walking, nothing would have tempted him at all. If he had the control over the senses as to not get tempted by things around, good or bad he would not have been tempted at all. Thus temptations are the results of lack of conviction, control and contentness.

Everyone of us in this world feel that the grass on the other side is green. But when you go the other side chasing the greener pastures, you belong to other side and you can never come back to this side. Even if you do, you will always have a guilt that you tasted the grass that you shouldn’t have. Life is all about beliefs, convictions and controls and the one who possesses them is the one who will always be closer to God. He is not closer to God because he is stuck to one task, he is closer to God because he believed in what God has given him. God never gives wrong things. You just need to believe in what God has given you and not what the other side has to offer you. And if you believe that God is on the other side, then you have to conclude that everything you did till now is evil.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 13

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 13

Adweshtaa sarvabhootaanaam maitrah karuna eva cha;
Nirmamo nirahankaarah samaduhkhasukhah kshamee.

He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, 
who is free from attachment and egoism,  balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving,

Interpretation

Lord has now shifted His focus of attention from those who get salvation to those dearest to Him. This is the first part of the two-part shloka where Lord Krishna tells Arjuna the qualities that a person should possess for becoming dearest to Him. He says that a person who hates no creature in this planet and who shows equal compassion to all His creations is considered to be closest to Him. Not only that, all those who are free from all the attachments in this world and also has won over the ego are also closer to Him, Then He says that the ones who are balanced in happy and sad situations and those who have a forgiving nature are the ones who are closest to Him.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Many times before we have discussed in Gita about these qualities. But the point we have to understand is, why such people are considered close to God? Pain and pleasure are not given by God but they come as a result of attachment we have towards people, materialistic things and situations. When someone closest to us is going away from us, its very natural that you experience the pain. But will you stop that person from going? Except for God, nobody has the power to do that. The question here is why people tend to get so attached to people, situations, and things?

The attachment has two dimensions in it. One is a sensual attachment and other is a spiritual attachment. When you get a person or situation in life, its gifted by God and you need to do complete justice to it. Unless you get attached to the person it’s not possible to do your dharma on that person. Example is the attachment that a teacher has on student. Its created by God. Your attachment stays as long as the student stays in that place. Neither you should leave the student before nor you should have an attachment with him after he finishes his education with you. This is called as a spiritual attachment and it is desirable for every person in whatever job he is into. 

It’s these attachments which bring balance and compassion in our lives. If you are attached to a person via the spiritual route you will be compassionate towards him without any ego and you will be balanced in all your actions. But if the attachment is sensual, that is connected to appearance or materialistic benefits or any situations that can profit you those attachments, they are undesirable and you either leave a person if those benefits are not coming or keep the attachment even after your work with that person is over. Here you have neglected dharma and went behind materialistic benefit. If all of us, understand our dharmas and adhere to them 100% then all the mentioned things above never exist and the life of Satya Yuga will be back. But as we are in Kali-yuga these imperfections exist and one has to find the right kind of things to balance and become closer to God. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti yoga verse 12

Chapter 12 Bhakti yoga verse 12

Shreyo hi jnaanamabhyaasaat jnaanaaddhyaanam vishishyate;Dhyaanaat karmaphalatyaagas tyaagaacchaantir anantaram.

Better indeed is knowledge than practice; than knowledge meditation is better;than meditation the renunciation of the fruits of actions; peace immediately follows renunciation.

Interpretation

This is a different shloka from all the previous ones and here Lord Krishna puts various things that a person should do in a chronological sequence. First He says knowledge is more important than blindly practicing something without knowing it. Then He says that meditating on thoughts and about self is considered better than knowledge. He then talks about the renunciation of the fruits of every action that one does and says that this renunciation is better than the meditation. Finally Lord also says that when someone renounces the fruits of all his actions to God, peace automatically dawns upon him.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We all look for peace in our lives. There is so much of activity that we want some peace to be there so that we can feel at ease and feel good about ourselves. Have you ever thought what can give you ultimate peace? When you do your actions not getting attached to them, you get peace of mind. We all have expectations from people and things and that normally leads to disappointments. But just do your work with no expectations and see how different you feel. Its easier said than done. Then the next question that comes is when will you get master the art of doing things with a feeling of renunciation?

That is possible only when you can meditate. Meditation brings unification of thoughts and that unification of thoughts will help you achieve renunciation. But not everyone can meditate. Meditation is never an easy process. You can master meditation only when you have knowledge. So, knowledge about things helps you to meditate where you unify them. Knowledge is acquired through practice. Thus if we see in reverse, practice gives knowledge, knowledge fecilitates meditation, meditation leads to renunciation of the fruits of all actions and when you renounce everything peace dawns upon you. This is the secret of happiness.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 11

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 11

Athaitadapyashakto’si kartum madyogamaashritah;
Sarvakarmaphalatyaagam tatah kuru yataatmavaan.

If thou art unable to do even this, then, taking refuge in union with Me, 
renounce the fruits of all actions with the self controlled.

Interpretation

This Bhakti yoga is all about a series of steps that one needs to take to attain salvation. The substantial part of like Bhakti Yoga is concentrated at worshipping God in His form. In the last shloka Lord Krishna advises to do all the actions in His name if a person is unable to follow Abhyasa Yoga. In this shloka Lord tells what to do if a person is unable to do actions in the name of God. He says that if a person fails in that also then that person should take refuge in Him and renounce the fruits of all his actions to the self controlled, referring to Himself. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The question we have to ask here is why a person is unable to do things in the name of God? Previous shloka talked about his inability to surrender and that is understandable. But why does a person not do things in the name of God? There are many reasons for it. There are many things good and bad that we have to do in life and we have no choice in it. Such things we cant do in the name of God. Suppose someone is having a business of making leather products. For making leather he need to kill animals or use the skin of animals. Definitely he cannot kill animals in the name of God. His conscious will prevent him from doing so. 

Thus if he fails in one task, naturally he will not be motivated to offer and do things in the name of God. Sometimes we have to tell lies to save ourselves or mislead people to meet some of our objectives. All these things cant be done in the name of God. Thus if a person fails to do things in his name, he should at least leave the result to him is what Lord is saying here. Leaving the result to him means, do things but leave the result in the hands of God. This is almost similar to doing things and not expecting a result, but there is a small difference in both.

The difference is, when you leave the fruits of the actions to God, you will be satisfied with the outcome. Whatever maybe the outcome of that action, you will accept it thinking that it is the gift of God. Previously I was talking about doing uncomfortable things like telling lies or misleading people. Here, when you do that, you wont do that in the name of God but you always say that oh God, am doing this work because I have to do, I leave the consequences of it in your hands. You only decide what I to get as the result. If you have such a kind of thinking in every action that you do, then also you will attain the perfection required for the salvation is what Lord Krishna says here.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 9

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 9

Atha chittam samaadhaatum na shaknoshi mayi sthiram;
Abhyaasayogena tato maamicchaaptum dhananjaya.

If thou art unable to fix thy mind steadily on Me, 
then by the Yoga of constant practice do thou seek to reach Me, O Arjuna!

Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna ventures into explaining how a person who is not able to concentrate on Him can attain concentration. Concentration of mind is the toughest challenge that one faces. In the previous shloka Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that one needs to completely meditate on Him. Now in this shloka He tells Arjuna that if it is difficult for anyone to focus their attention on Him steadily, then the only way through which that can be accomplished is by constant practice of Yoga through which attaining the Lord is possible.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The phrase that we need to concentrate here is “Constant practice” or “Abhyasa yoga” as we call it in Sanskrit. What exactly is this Abhyasa yoga? When you do something for the first time, it is not possible to replicate the same steps in the same way and achieve same degree of success when you do it the second time. But as you keep practising or doing abhyasa, you will slowly learn the technique of doing things in a particular way, which is a set way of doing it. Then the next question that comes is, why is abhyasa or practice essential for an individual?

Practice makes a man perfect, is an age old saying. Many things that we dont even have a remotest confidence of achieving can be achieved through constant practice. Practice which is also called as abhyasa held a very important positions in our vedic traditions. Whatever is the goal of an individual, he is encouraged to fix him mind only on that and was advised to practice it again and again, till he masters that. Arjuna himself became a perfect archer only with practice. All his life he concentrated nothing other than archery.

What if he practice the same on God? That means, fixing our mind constantly on Him and not thinking anything else but God, and constantly praying Him. This is very important step in realizing God. God as we know is the Supreme knowledge and by constantly fixing our thoughts on God we would also acquire the same knowledge. This is also called “Abhyasa Yoga” or “Union with God through repeated practice”. This is considered to be one of the important ways of attaining salvation if a person is unable to fix his mind on the God.