Bhakti Yoga

discourse xii

Thus we see that vision of God is possible only through single-minded devotion. Con¬tents of devotion must follow as a matter of course. This twelfth discourse should be learnt by heart even if all discourses are not. It is one of the shortest. The marks of a dev¬otee should be carefully noted.

Arjuna Said:
1. Of the devotees who thus worship Thee, incessantly attached, and those who worship the Imperishable Unmanifest, which are the better yogis?

अर्जुनउवाच |
एवंसततयुक्तायेभक्तास्त्वांपर्युपासते |
येचाप्यक्षरमव्यक्तंतेषांकेयोगवित्तमा: || 1||


The Lord Said:
2.Those I regard as the best yogis who, riveting their minds on Me, ever attached, worship Me, with the highest faith.

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
मय्यावेश्यमनोयेमांनित्ययुक्ताउपासते |
श्रद्धयापरयोपेतास्तेमेयुक्ततमामता: || 2||


3.But those who worship the Imperishable, the indefinable, the Unmanifest, the Omnipresent, the Unthinkable, the Rock-seated, the Immovable, the Unchanging,

येत्वक्षरमनिर्देश्यमव्यक्तंपर्युपासते |
सर्वत्रगमचिन्त्यञ्चकूटस्थमचलन्ध्रुवम् || 3||
सन्नियम्येन्द्रियग्रामंसर्वत्रसमबुद्धय: |
तेप्राप्नुवन्तिमामेवसर्वभूतहितेरता: || 4||

4. Keeping the whole host of senses in complete control, looking on all with an impartial eye, engrossed in the welfare of all beings-these come indeed to Me.

5. Greater is the travail of those whose mind is fixed on the Unmanifest; for it is hard for embodied mortals to gain the Unmanifest-Goal.

क्लेशोऽधिकतरस्तेषामव्यक्तासक्तचेतसाम् ||
अव्यक्ताहिगतिर्दु:खंदेहवद्भिरवाप्यते || 5||


Mortal man can only imagine the Unmanifest, the Impersonal, and as his language fails him he often negatively describes it as ‘Neti’, ‘Neti’ (Not That, Not That). And so even iconoclasts are at bottom no better than idol-worshippers. To worship a book, to go to church, or to pray with one’s face in a particular direction-all these are forms of worshipping the Formless in an image or idol. And yet, both the idol-breaker and the idol-worshipper cannot lose sight of the fact that there is something which is beyond all form, Unthinkable, Formless, Impersonal, Changeless. The highest goal of the devotee is to become one with the object of his devotion. The bhaktaextinguishes him­self and merges into, becomes, Bhagvan. This state can best be reached by devoting oneself to some form, and so it is said that the short­cut to the Unmanifest is really the longest and the most difficult.


12. Better is knowledge than practice, better than knowledge is concentration, better than concentration is renunciation of the fruit of all action, from which directly issues peace.

योहिज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानंविशिष्यते |
ध्यानात्कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम् || 12||

‘Practice’ (abhyasa) is the practice of the yoga of meditation and control of psychic processes; ‘knowledge’ (jnana) is intellectual effort; ‘concentration’ (dhyana) is devoted worship. If as a result of all this there is no renunciation of the fruit of action, ‘practice’ is no ‘practice’, ‘knowledge’ is no ‘knowledge’, and ‘concentration’ is no ‘concentration’.


13. Who has ill-will towards none, who is friendly and compassionate, who has shed all thought of ‘mine’ or ‘I’, who regards pain and pleasure alike, who is long-suffering.

अद्वेष्टासर्वभूतानांमैत्र: करुणएव च |
निर्ममोनिरहङ्कार: समदु:खसुख: क्षमी || 13||
सन्तुष्ट: सततंयोगीयतात्मादृढनिश्चय: |
मय्यर्पितमनोबुद्धिर्योमद्भक्त: स मेप्रिय: || 14||


19. Who weighs in equal scale blame and praise, who is silent, content with whatever his lot, who owns no home, who is of steady mind, that devotee of Mine is dear to Me.

सम: शत्रौ च मित्रे च तथामानापमानयो: |
शीतोष्णसुखदु:खेषुसम: सङ्गविवर्जित: || 18||
तुल्यनिन्दास्तुतिर्मौनीसन्तुष्टोयेनकेनचित् |
अनिकेत: स्थिरमतिर्भक्तिमान्मेप्रियोनर: || 19||


20. They who follow this essence of dharma, as I have told it, with faith, keeping Me as their goal, those devotees are exceedingly dear to Me.

येतुधर्म्यामृतमिदंयथोक्तंपर्युपासते |
श्रद्दधानामत्परमाभक्तास्तेऽतीवमेप्रिया: || 20||

Thus ends the twelfth discourse entitled ‘Bhakti Yoga’ in the converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagavad Gita.