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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.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 8

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 8

Mayyeva mana aadhatswa mayi buddhim niveshaya;
Nivasishyasi mayyeva ata oordhwam na samshayah.

Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me, then 
thou shait no doubt live in Me alone hereafter.

Interpretation

After talking about worshipping God in His form and the benefits that can individual can get, by doing so, Lord Krishna talks further about worshipping God in His form. Here Lord Krishna advises a person to focus the mind on the Lord alone and nobody else. Apart from mind He also asks the person to focus his intellect also on God. If that person integrates both body and mind and focuses only on God, then He will live nowhere else other than in God. Lord says that there should not be any doubt in this belief. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We have talked about fixing the mind and intellect in God. But today we will look at it with some more depth. Fixing the mind and intellect is nothing but surrender. Its not that we have never done it before. When you go to a doctor for a surgery or treatment to a chronic illness, you totally surrender to him. Your mind will not think anything else other than the doctor and your intellect teaches you to trust wholeheartedly what he says and you do it without asking questions. The same type of surrender we have to do it to God.

Here it is tough because, you go to doctor when you have an illness and when that illness is life-threatening or chronic you totally surrender to him, because you fear your life. But surrendering to God doesn’t present you to similar situation so, surrendering is not that easy. Of course, you do surrender to God, when things go out of control and only when God alone can save you. Continuing the example above, if doctor also says the survival chances are less, then fear for life makes you to surrender to God completely and totally, only with a hope that you will recover.

This surrender does nothing good o you, since it is out of fear and extreme attachment that you are holding for your body. Human beings all through their lives run behind knowledge and intellect to gratify their senses. The surrender is to the senses not to the soul. Though we know that our body is perishable, we do things to gratify it like indulging in various pleasures, giving it comforts etc. We run behind things that give us materialistic pleasure. A true surrender is where you forget your body, fix your mind with God and all the intellect you gathered through knowledge should be used in His worship, such a person has God dwelling in him, forever.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 2

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 2

Sri Bhagavaan Uvaacha:

Mayyaaveshya mano ye maam nityayuktaa upaasate;
Shraddhayaa parayopetaaste me yuktatamaa mataah.

The Blessed Lord said:

Those who, fixing their minds on Me, worship Me, ever steadfast and 
endowed with supreme faith, these are the best in Yoga in My opinion.

Interpretation

Lord Krishna starts answering to a very tricky question that Arjuna asked about worshipping God in His form or the formless. The answer He gives is very simple, but the steps to be followed are bit difficult. He says that people have to fix Him in their mind firmly and then start worshipping only Him. They have to be steadfast, which means unwavering in whatever situations they encounter and should have a sense of Supreme faith in Him. Such kind of people in Lord Krishna’s opinion have understood perfectly the concept of Bhakti Yoga.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Have we not read this before is the feeling you might be getting while reading this. But what is important to understand here are the steps. The most important phrase is “Fixing their minds on me”. Here “me” means one entity. Hinduism is a religion where you have many gods and goddesses that we tend to waver a lot. We also think that devotion is important but we are not sure to whom we should be devoted to. We do Ganesh puja and quickly shift to Durga puja and then we perform Satyanarayana vratam at home and we think we are devoted. We even justify that by saying God is one and we are just worshipping different forms of Him.

But just look at what Lord said. He said Fix your mind on Me. It means, one needs to fix their mind on one form, whether it could be Ganesha or Durga or Venkateshwara or Rama or Krishna. But mind should be fixed on one form only. That is because, to understand God we need to have a reference point that is either having a form or is formless. If you are a believer in worshipping God with a form, unification of soul with God can be made possible if a person concentrates on one form. It doesnt mean that other forms dont exist. It just means that one form is the reference point for him to progress in the direction of understanding the true nature of God.

If we see the great sages of the previous era like Sant Tukaram or Tulsidas or Bhakta Kannappa or Bhakt Prahlad or Ramdas or Annamacharya, they all have focussed and dedicated their entire life in worshipping one form of God. Focus on Him, have supreme faith in Him and whatever happens don’t deviate and keep worshipping Him. I say this because, God tests our devotion by putting us in tough situations and when that happens, if we move to worshipping another form just to get rid of those problems then that test has no meaning and your devotion has no base. That simply means you are not steadfast in your devotion and such a person can never attain oneness. This, if everyone understands, they automatically will find their route to salvation.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 11 Vishwaroopa Darshana Yoga Verse 40

Chapter 11 Vishwaroopa Darshana Yoga Verse 40

Maa te vyathaa maa cha vimoodhabhaavoDrishtwaa roopam ghorameedringmamedam;
Vyapetabheeh preetamanaah punastwamTadeva me roopamidam prapashya.

Be not afraid nor bewildered on seeing such a terrible form of Mine as this;
with thy fear entirely dispelled and with a gladdened heart, now behold again this former form of Mine.

Interpretation

After telling about how difficult it is for one to see the Vishwaroopam of Himself, Lord Krishna further comforts Arjuna. He tells Arjuna not to get worried or fear the Vishwaroopam of Himself. Lord Krishna adds that it is quite natural for anyone who has seen this form of Vishwaroopam for the first time to get scared and he asks Arjuna to replace that fear with haughtiness. He also tells that now He is coming out of His Vishwaroopam into the normal form and asks Arjuna to behold that normal form of the Lord. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The important quality of any Yogi is to harmonize things and harmonize situations. The entire learning of things in this universe lies in harmonizing. Here Krishna is harmonizing the fear of Arjuna into love and compassion that existed before seeing the Vishwaroopam. Now what exactly is this harmonizing? Its bringing things to a balance. We all need to do that in our lives at different points. Imagine a father who lost his cool on his son. He shouts at him and even goes to the extent of beating him. But will he be in the same state forever? He will after sometime comes back to normalcy and starts showing the same affection that he has for his son.

Remaining in one state all throughout creates imbalances and that needs to be harmonized. If you are a soft and mild mannered person there will be people who will take you for granted and make you a doormat and walk-over you. You feel miserable and starts wondering and feeling that you should never be good to anyone. Same is the case with a person who is extremely selfish and cunning and never shown any compassion to people. At the need of the hour nobody stands by him, not even his own wife or children. That person feels that he should have been good and helpful to people sometimes atleast. If you see, both are in the state of imbalance and needs to be harmonized.

A person who is soft hearted and mild mannered needs to be harsh, selfish and rude at times to make people realise things. This is the rule of the nature and cannot be dispensed with. Similarly the selfish and hard hearted person needs compassion at times. That makes him more acceptable to people. This is called as right kind of living and if you see there is harmony everywhere. If there are hot summers there are cool winters too. If there are chillingly cold days there are warm and pleasant days too. Nature by itself harmonizes everything and teaches us to do so. We just have to pick it up from the nature and put it in our lives, to see a marked change in our lifestyles and the way we deal with things.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 11 Vishwaroopa Darshana Yoga Verse 39

Chapter 11 Vishwaroopa Darshana Yoga Verse 39

Na vedayajnaadhyayanairna daanairNa cha kriyaabhirna tapobhirugraih;
Evam roopah shakya aham nrilokeDrashtum twadanyena karupraveera.

Neither by the study of the Vedas and sacrifices, nor by gifts, nor by rituals, nor by severe austerities, 
can I be seen in this form in the world of men by any other than thyself, O great hero of the Kurus!

Interpretation

Lord Krishna in this shloka is explaining the importance and significance of the Vishwaroopam that Arjuna had just witnessed. He says that the Vishwaroopam that was shown to him would not have been possible to people who have studied all the vedas and know all the sacrifices. He also says that it is not possible to see the vishwaroopam by performing sacrifices or giving away gifts or by performing rituals and by leading a pious and simple life. Finally Lord Krishna says that only Arjuna has got the chance of seeing His Vishwaroopam in the way only that is visible to Lord Himself. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The first thought that occurs to anyone is “Is Krishna being partial to Arjuna”? Not only in this instance of showing Vishwaroopam, but in many previous instances also, Krishna made His preference clear by being partial to Arjuna. Can the person who is avatara of God be partial to anyone? The answer to this is that one needs to understand the reasons why such partiality comes up in the first place. Arjuna always got a special treatment from Krishna. It is because of the karmic connection that Arjuna had towards Krishna.

What do you mean by Karmic connection? Karma means action. There are some actions that we do, that puts us in a position where such karmic association becomes inevitable. It is because of the deeds that one does in his previous birth that comes as a prarabda karma. Karmic connection is due to Prarabdha Karma. Prarabda in sanskrit means began and Karma means action. Prarabda karma is the result of the set of actions or karmas you have began with. Good deeds lead to good prarabda karma and bad deeds leads to bad prarabda karma. We remember and recollect only bad prarabda karma because we associate and think about karma only when things go wrong to us.

A person might become a millionaire because of his prarabda karma or might get a good person who can change his life for ever. He also might meet with an accident that can cripple his body and someone might live life in never-ending whrilpool of troubles and financial difficulties. This is also prarabda karma. So, all the past good actions of Arjuna has resulted in a prarabda karma where a person like Lord Krishna became his mentor. So, when unexpected things happen to you on which you have no control or command, just attribute it to your prarabda karma. “What you sow, you reap”. Nothing can change this. Thus Krishna is not being partial to Arjuna by being closer to him.

Chapter 11 Vishwaroopa Darshana Yoga Verse 36

Bhagavadgita Chapter 11 Vishwaroopa Darshana Yoga Verse 36

Tasmaatpranamya pranidhaaya kaayamPrasaadaye twaamahameeshameedyam;
Piteva putrasya sakheva sakhyuhPriyah priyaayaarhasi deva sodhum.

Therefore, bowing down, prostrating my body, I crave Thy forgiveness, O adorable Lord! 
As a father forgives his son, a friend his dear friend, a lover his beloved, even so shouldst Thou forgive me, O God!

Interpretation

Arjuna still continue to seek forgiveness from Lord Krishna even in this shloka. He bows down and completely prostrates his body at the feet of Lord Krishna and sincerely seeks His forgiveness. After that Arjuna gets up and says that like a father forgives his son, let Krishna also forgive him for any of the mistakes that he has committed. Not only that he uses the examples of other relationships also while seeking forgiveness. The other relationships include that of a friend and also a lover. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This shloka describes the relationship that Arjuna had with Lord Krishna. Arjuna first meets the Lord at the swayamvaram of Draupadi which Arjuna wins and marries her. Their association that began from there, goes a very long way, developing into a deep friendship and later on Lord Krishna becomes his brother-in-law as Arjuna marries Krishna’s sister Subhadra. So, the way Arjuna was looking at Krishna was very different. He knew that Krishna was very intelligent and knowledgeable but he never estimated Him to be the Lord of the whole Universe.

Thus when he comes to know about the true nature of the Lord, he is taken aback and starts wondering how Lord was so close to him, even though he being such a great soul. He now sees Lord Krishna as his father like figure and asks for forgiveness but he also refer to other two relationships of a friend and a lover to forgive him. He does so to remind Krishna how close he was to Him before this Vishwaroopam. He was as close to Krishna as a friend and had shared the same warmth and affection that two people who love each other would do. These are more symbolic and figurative way of comparing relationships just to tell their closeness. From all these dimensions, Arjuna was asking for forgiveness from the Lord.