Om Namah Shivaya - Om Namo Venkatesaya  

The Song of God - Swami Venkatesananda enlarged 4th edition - 1984 - published by The Chiltern Yoga Trust, Cape Town, South Africa

12 - Bhakti Yoga - The Yoga of Devotion

Om parthaya pratibodhitam bhagavata narayanena svayam vyasena grathitam purana munina madhye mahabharatam advaita 'mrta varsinim bhagavatim astadasa 'dhyayinim amba tvam anusamdadhami bhagavad gite bhava dvesinim
1. Om. O Bhagavad Gita, with which Partha (Arjuna) was illumined by lord Narayana himself and which was composed within the Mahabharata by the ancient sage Vyasa, O divine mother, the destroyer of rebirth, the showerer of the nectar of advaita (oneness) and consisting of eighteen chapters - upon thee, O Bhagavad Gita, O affectionate mother, I meditate.
namo 'stu to vyasa visala buddhe phulla 'ravinda 'yata patra netra yena tvaya bharata taila purnah prajvalito jnanamayah pradipah
2. Salutations unto thee, O Vyasa of broad intellect, and with eyes like the petals of full-blown lotuses, by whom the lamp of knowledge, filled with the oil of the Mahabharata has been lighted.
prapanna parijataya totravetrai 'ka panaye jnana mudraya krsnaya gita 'mrta duhe namah
3. Salutations to Krsna, the parijata or the bestower of all desires for those who take refuge in him, the holder of the whip in one hand, the holder of the symbol of knowledge and the milker of the nectar of the Bhagavad Gita.
sarvo 'panisado gavo dogdha gopala nandanah partho vatsah sudhir bhokta dugdham gita 'mrtam mahat
4. All the upanisad are the cows, the milker is Krsna the cowherd boy, Arjuna is the calf, men of purified intellect are the drinkers, the milk is the great nectar of the Gita.
vasudeva sutam devam kamsa canura mardanam devaki parama 'nandam krsnam vande jagad gurum
5. I salute lord Krsna, the world teacher, the son of Vasudeva, the destroyer of Kamsa and Canura, the supreme bliss of Devaki.
bhisma drona tata jayadratha jala gandhara nilotpala salya grahavati krpena vahani karnena velakula asvatthama vikarna ghora makara duryodhana 'vartini so 'ttirna khalu pandavai rana nadi kaivartakah kesavah
6. With Krsna as the helmsman, verily, was crossed by the Pandava the battle-river whose banks were Bhisma and Drona, whose water was Jayadratha, whose blue lotus was the king of Gandhara, whose crocodile was Salya, whose current was Krpa, whose billow was Karna, whose terrible alligators were Asvatthama and Vikarna, whose whirlpool was Duryodhana.
parasarya vacah sarojam amalam gitartha gandhotkatam nanakhya 'nakakesaram hari katha sambodhana 'bodhitam loke sajjana satpadair ahar ahah pepiyamanam muda bhuyad bharata pankajam kali mala pradhvamsi nah sreyase
7. May this lotus of the Mahabharata, born in the lake of the words of Vyasa, sweet with the fragrance of the meaning of the Gita, with many stories as its stamens, fully opened by the discourses on Hari, the destroyer of the sins of Kali, and drunk joyously by the bees of good men in the world, day by day, become the bestower of good on us.
mukam karoti vacalam pangum langhayate girim yat krpa tam aham vande parama 'nanda madhavam
8. I salute that Krsna, the source of supreme bliss, whose grace makes the dumb eloquent and the cripple cross mountains.
yam brahma varune 'ndra rudra marutah stunvanti divyaih stavair vedaih sanga pada kramo 'panisadair gayanti yam samagah dhyana 'vasthita tad gatena manasa pasyanti yam yogino yasya 'ntam na viduh sura 'sura gana devaya tasmai namah
9. Salutations to that God whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and the Marut praise with divine hymns, of whom the Sama-chanters sing by the veda and their anga, in the pada and krama methods, and by the upanisad, whom the yogi see with their minds absorbed in him through meditation, and whose end the hosts of the deva and asura know not.
introduction to September
The great Indologist, Dr. Heinrich Zimmer, pays an eloquent tribute to the Bhagavad Gita: "The Bhagavad Gita has become the most popular, widely memorised, authoritative statement of the basic guiding principles of Indian religious life" and says, "It was in the great paradoxes of the epoch making Bhagavad Gita that the non-Brahmanical, pre-Aryan thought of aboriginal India became fruitfully combined and harmonised with the Vedic ideas of the Aryan invaders.
In the eighteen brief chapters was displayed a kaleidoscopic inter-working of the two traditions that for some ten centuries had been contending for the control and mastery of the Indian mind".
Krsna's genius was synthesis.
The one continuous basic note in the whole scripture is the bold declaration of the truth that this synthesis is the inevitable consequence of the realisation that the reality (God) alone exists, and even the apparent diversity and distinctions have to be resolved in him.
Even in the practice of yoga, though each may choose that path to which his temperament qualifies him, Krsna asks us to synthesise the different approaches into one sadhana.
Devotion, service, meditative communion and intuitive realisation - are all necessary for each one of us.
We should love God alone at all times but that does not mean we love God and hate all.
We learn to love God in all.
In order not to cheat ourselves, we should remember that all of us love one another because of His omnipresence - God-love - and ensure that there is no personal attachment.
Place God in yourself.
Feel he is in every part of you.
He fills you now.
Place yourself in God; feel you are part of Him.
God is all around you now - in all, as all.
Now He is all-in-all - omnipresent.
You do not confine Him to yourself.
And, you do not push Him out either!
Wisdom and synthesis at every turn.
By a series of paradoxes Krishna leads us to His Lotus-Feet.
dogma - am-god
XII:1 - Arjuna said : Those devotees who, ever steadfast, thus worship you and those also who worship the Imperishable and the Unmanifested, which of them are better versed in Yoga?
XII:2 - 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.
Let us not forget that these two verses are a continuation of chapters ten and eleven, where we had a description of God's manifestations and the demonstration of their 'unity-in-diversity' and 'diversity-in-unity'- which is the meaning of the cosmic form.
Indian and other schools of thought differ about the right attitude.
Some say: God should be approached as nameless and formless - to give him form is false and heretical.
Others hold that God can only be approached through his manifestations.
Even J.Louis Orton in his book "Hypnotism Made Practical", asks "What do we know except through manifestation?"
The danger in this method is that the image of the manifestation may be contaminated by us transferring our own worldly defects, innate in our family, possessions and environment, to the image itself.
Thus, instead of helping us to overcome our egoism, this method may subtly feed it.
Much can be said for and against both points of view.
Krsna has his own method of dealing with a controversy! He asserts the truth, but has no dogma - our goal is to realise "I am God" and we can reach it only if we turn away from 'dogma' (the word when reversed reads 'am-god'!).
Therefore, he repeats what he had said at the conclusion of the previous chapter: "Whatever be your approach to me, remember that one-pointedness, steadfastness, and faith are essential, and you must merge yourself in me". (XII:5).
XII:3 - Those who worship the imperishable, the indefinable, the unmanifested, the omnipresent, the unthinkable, the eternal and the immovable,
XII:4 - Having restrained all the senses, even-minded everywhere, intent on the welfare of all beings, verily they also come to Me.
The answer to Arjuna's question is highly interesting.
Deep meditation on the first five verses of the twelfth chapter will teach us the best way to handle controversial matters.
In the heat of controversy, we often forget the real issue!
Hence, Krsna reiterated the vital factor in verse 2.
He does not beg the question nor evade it completely; discussion, argumentation and even controversy are good!
Metaphysical 'friction' is like mechanical friction - it generates both energy and heat.
Energy is desirable and heat is undesirable.
Wisdom in argument acts like radiator water, enabling us to absorb energy and avoid heat!
One of the best ways to do so is to understand the opponent's viewpoint; there is some truth in all viewpoints.
In verses 3 and 4, Krsna concedes that even 'they who are devoted to the nameless and the formless being, come to me'.
By quietly slipping in the word 'eva' (only), he pricks the bubble of the 'superiority' of a particular path.
If the fundamentals enunciated in verse 2 are borne in mind, both paths lead to the same goal!
If your temperament leads you to the path of the unmanifest, nameless, formless being - by all means tread it 'it will lead you also to me only'.
But, please do not cheat yourself; make sure that you recognise God's omnipresence in all beings by serving them, and that you recognise the real impediments to all yoga (these being the wisdom-veiling power in the senses and the mind) by controlling them.
You can say God is transcendental, but you cannot say the min and senses are unsubstantial and ignore them.
Till one is well established in the realisation of the omnipresence of God, there can be no love.
There is merely a business transaction or contract ("I love you because...").
When one is truly in love, the heart expands.
The great devotees and yogis are devoted to the welfare of all beings.
In their actions and attitude to life, one perceives love.
XII:5 - Greater is their trouble whose minds are set on the Unmanifested, for the goal of the Unmanifested is very difficult for the embodied to reach.
Here, again, you will notice that there is no wholesale condemnation of another's different point of view.
The godman is sincerely eager to perceive and to understand the truth that underlies all viewpoints; this truth is common to all, and the defect, if any, belongs to human imperfection (which again is universal, isn't it?).
It is only a fool who considers that his viewpoint alone is correct.
A wise man knows that if another's argument appears defective to him, his argument may similarly appear defective to the other!
Accepting this premise, if we look for the common factors, we shall find them in plenty.
There are those, admits Krsna, whose temperament may qualify them for abstract meditation on the absolute.
We shall not forget here that even in their case, control of the mind and senses should be natural and effortless, and even they will be keenly devoted to the welfare of all beings.
They will not foolishly deny the existence of the manifold manifest beings on earth and lead a parasitical life.
They will first deny the validity of their own sense-impressions and the cravings of the mind, and thus deplete these of their soul distracting power.
The sincere spiritual aspirant who, wrongly feeling that the path of the nameless-formless meditation is superior, enters it, will find that the trouble there is greater than on the other path.
To remove a thorn with another thorn is easy; to blow it away with an electric fan may be possible, but more difficult!
An embodied being will find it easier to divert the senses from the world to a sense-comprehensible God and to wipe the world of names and forms from the mind by filling it with nameful-formful God.
If, however, you have risen above body-consciousness, you can tread the difficult road to God-realisation! Even then you will see and serve the one self in all beings.
XII:6 - But to those who worship Me, renouncing all actions in Me, regarding Me as the supreme goal, meditating on me with single-minded Yoga, O Arjuna,
XII:7 - verily I become ere long the saviour out of the ocean of birth and death.
'Upasate' has been translated into 'worship' .
Literally, it means 'sitting near'.
The devotee always feels that God is close to him - the unseen, but mysteriously experienced presence, feebly comparable to the experience of the fragrance of a rose.
He constantly inhales the fragrance or aroma of holiness.
The fragrance emanates from a flower, and the flower has a name; the living presence is often attributed to a form, and the form given a name.
That is part of the ananya yoga described here, where the relationship between the omnipresent God, the devotee (and all other persons) is one of non-division.
The other part consists in single-minded devotion: in performing all actions for God's sake (which is really what the word 'samnyasya' in the text means), for he, not the work or its rewards, is our supreme goal.
The devotee is ever active yet never forgets God.
The catalyst that achieves these has already been described - it is 'seeing God in all'.
Most important for this are the spirit of enquiry and inner tranquillity of the mind.
The yogi here does not deny offhand the validity of sense-perceptions; he sees through them.
He does not shut his eyes to name and form, but he perceives their underlying substratum and essence and recognises that that essence has charmingly clothed itself in the name and form.
If God has chosen to appear to him in that mask or personality, he lovingly greets him in that form; taking care, of course, to greet God-in-the-form and not the form itself for its own sake.
This prevents him from slipping into the void or into lethargy.
In that love the truth is born, and with it, liberation and peace.
The yogi is released from the ocean of samsara.
XII:8 - Fix your mind on me only, your intellect in Me; then you shalt no doubt live in Me alone hereafter.
Again and again, the spiritual aspirant tries to pour the infinite into the finite.
He meditates on God.
He enthrones him in the lotus of his heart.
All these practices are valuable aids to yoga, but in themselves they may become obstacles.
They may lead us into a kind of tamasa, self-satisfied state in which the ego, the problem, maker in our life, enters the field of religion or spirituality and projects experiences of visions and voices which delude the soul, producing illusions of spiritual evolution and preventing it from proceeding further.
Never make a method an end in itself.
Krsna tells us: "Collect your mind and enter it (nivesaya, in the text) into me".
Arjuna actually saw that he himself was in the cosmic form.
We are all in God.
When we practise meditation, it is profitable for us to feel not only that he is in us, but that we are in him, too.
Even when we are asked to meditate on the Lord seated in the heart, it is only as a means to rid us of the ego, the 'I'.
When God is enthroned in the heart, his infinity fills it, making it impossible for the ego to exist there; darkness cannot co-exist with light.
The formula of vedanta, 'I am Brahman' implies the same truth.
It is not as though the 'I' is God.
It is not as though that 'I' is to be pushed into Brahman.
We should realise that Brahman alone exists even now and that ignorance alone identifies him with the ego-consciousness.
The method (whichever be the path pursued) is firmly and calmly to assert (in the sense of 'perceive') the Lord's presence in us and everywhere.
Start with feeling his presence in the heart.
Let him then envelop you.
Let him envelop the whole universe.
Then forget that you are meditating on him.
He and he alone exists; not 'I' .
Is there any doubt that 'thou shalt live in him thereafter'?
scale of values
XII:9 - If you are unable to fix your mind steadily on Me, then by the Yoga of constant practice seek to reach Me, O Arjuna.
A great truth was expressed in a simple manner in the previous verse: 'If you place your mind and intellect in me, you will live in me'.
We live where our mind is; life is governed by our scale of values which in turn creates an inner world.
A greedy man of insatiable desires finds his millions insufficient to give him happiness.
A jealous minister of a great nation spends sleepless nights at the injustice that keeps him pinned to a position lower than the highest.
These frustrations are not the fault of the outer world such people live in (the world in which they occupy enviable positions), but of the inner world of all consuming desire.
One who is able to create a stable inner world of spiritual values will live for ever in God.
Your stable value must be remembrance of God, all the rest being added to your life as secondary adjuncts.
However, all are not privileged to enter this mansion of desirelessness and renunciation of false values.
It is for a microscopic minority.
The others are haunted by a perverse scale of values, their minds and intellects constantly wandering into the by-lanes of sense-enjoyment, material acquisition, and a competitive desire to have 'more than my neighbour'.
Krsna does not condemn them; he condemns none!
He has to reach out to them.
They have to be redeemed, to be saved from themselves.
In pleading tone, he says: "Please desire to attain me through abhyisa yoga."
Mahitma Gandhi felt that abhyisa yoga included all such practices as yoga asana, pranayama, concentration, meditation, etc.
The mind does wander; well, then, at least endeavour to contemplate the stable value of God several times a day.
Gradually the intervals between these periods of contemplation will diminish and eventually vanish.
Abhyasa yoga is like knocking at the door: 'Knock and it shall be opened unto you.'
Then it will be possible for you to enter and rest in God.
XII:10 - If you are unable to practise even this Yoga of constant practice, be intent on doing actions for My sake; even by doing actions for My sake, you shall attain perfection.
This is a Bhagavad Gita characteristic.
More than one's own best is not expected of anyone.
Though it is possible to interpret these few verses as representing a ladder which ultimately leads the aspirant to union with God, Krsna makes the rung appear as the roof.
Each step is the goal itself.
Each span of the bridge is itself the other shore - an outstretched arm of the shore itself!
This also avoids the pitfall of 'assuming what the goal is' and then deluding oneself that one is there'!
The only 'goal' we have is 'the next step' we actually 'see'.
Sincerity is the only criterion, and a sincere expression of one's eagerness to realise God is all that is demanded of each aspirant.
No maximum or minimum limit is set as the qualification for perfection.
The best of your ability, the best of your knowledge and understanding is the best, according to your own light.
The fruit of that best is beatitude.
This sincere eagerness will eagerly grasp the helping hand of God that descends as his grace and rush forward to his feet without arguing: "But, I thought that was all I had to do!"
If, after doing one's best at that particular stage of evolution, God's grace illumines another rung, at the same time bestowing upon the aspirant the will and the power to rise to it, he will unquestioningly obey.
However, there is no suggestion that such will be the case.
Each spiritual practice must be done whole-heartedly.
The requisite whole-heartedness will be absent if one has even the slightest awareness that it is only a 'step' towards perfection.
If worldly values are too persistent to allow even a transient elevation to God as the stable value, then continue doing your work, but do it for his sake.
The men and women of the various religious orders provide the best examples here; how diligently they do all that they do 'for God's sake'!
XII:11 - If you are unable to do even this, then, taking refuge in union with Me, renounce the fruits of all actions with the self controlled.
XII:12 - Better indeed is knowledge than practice of concentration; than knowledge meditation is better; than meditation the renunciation of the fruits of actions; peace immediately follows renunciation.
To maintain the mental attitude 'for the sake of God' needs a certain amount of devotion and inner vigilance.
However, if these are absent, then, too, such a person is not condemned.
The word 'then' in the text can be placed after 'me' - which now gives the verse an atheistic flavour.
In fact, Krsna does suggest here that it is possible for a man to be good and saintly without having the traditional 'faith in God', but the qualification 'self-controlled' suggests that he has transcended that state of faith, perhaps, and is established in an impersonal, involuntary (in the sense, natural) feeling of God's omnipresence which compels such goodness accompanied by self-control.
If the 'faithful' endeavour belonged to a past birth, it is possible for its details to be submerged revealing only the overall effect.
Even a superficial rendering of the first verse is a call to common sense.
'If you cannot do any of the above, then work without expectation of reward.'
Krsna does not say that you are to reject all rewards, but that you should not lean on the rewards.
As it is, we cannot (and certainly do not) always achieve what we want to.
A rival, a germ or a change of weather can frustrate all our efforts and ruin our ambitions.
So, why not be desireless, just doing our duty?
We may get nothing at all out of it, or we may get the world.
From here, the previous verse is just one automatic step forward.
Desirelessness creates a vacuum: "If I am not working for profit, then for what?" - which is filled by the answer: "For God's sake."
Yet, desirelessness or renunciation of reward itself will bestow on us 'the peace that passeth understanding'.
XII:13 - He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, who is balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving,
XII:14 - Ever content, steady in meditation, self-controlled, possessed of firm conviction, with mind and intellect dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me.
The eight concluding verses of this chapter are thrilling and superb.
They are called 'amrtastakam' the immortal eight.
Krsna, who has said that there was none dear or antagonistic to him, suddenly declares that there are some who are extremely dear to him!
Who they are and what their nature is, he describes in these eight verses.
We should remember:
(a) That God is not a worldly ruler with friends and enemies.
(b) That he who answers to these descriptions becomes receptive to God's divine, omnipresent love.
The pure heart receives and reflects this love, even as pure iron-filings rush to the magnet, while rusted ones do not; through no fault of the magnet itself.
(c) That whether we regard God as aloof and unconcerned with the world, or in his omniscience, as able to fulfil the delicate dual role of a witness and active participant in this world-play, he is never whimsical.
(d) That the characteristics mentioned in connection with the devotee are almost the same as those mentioned in connection with descriptions of the sthitaprajna (one who is unshakably established in superconsciousness) or guna-tita (one who has transcended the three qualities of nature), following jnana or karma yoga paths.
In fact, a close study of the Bhagavad Gita should convince us that these paths are but one path viewed from the aspirant's particular standpoint; even as descriptions of the universe and of God vary, depending upon the standpoint of the viewer.
(e) Since God is one's innermost reality, this God-love dispels the psychotic self-love and self-hate which distort man's vision and estimation of himself with consequent maladjustment in society.
XII:15 - He by whom the world is not agitated and who cannot be agitated by the world, and who is freed from the agitation of joy, envy, fear and anxiety, he is dear to Me.
XII:16 - 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.
The modern world, in its mad rush for an immediate magic cure to our maladies, finds no time to seek the root of any problem.
Wars, revolutions, strikes and other socio political agitations, various international controls, birth control and tranquillisers - are all proof of our incompetence and unwillingness to look for the root of the problem.
Headaches, complexes and neuroses are symptoms, not diseases in themselves.
They warn us of the presence in, and around us of reactionary forces which violently disturb our inner equilibrium.
Population explosion is a sign of altered social and family values - where pleasure has usurped duty's place.
Strikes and so on, reveal that in commerce, profit rules and not a sense of duty to our fellow-men.
Wars and revolutions betray, again, that our scale of values has dangerously degenerated.
The devotee is not a revolutionary or a reactionary.
He does not indulge in disputations and proselytising missions.
The world often hero-worships such people, unjustifiably, for they are still worldly however exalted and useful that worldliness may be!
The true devotee realises that such agitation is unnecessary and is thus unaffected by the agitations of the world.
By precept and personal example he radiates truth without agitating anyone's heart.
He is a lover of peace; he is peace.
Thus he is free from wants and ever happy.
The flame of faith and love is kindled in his heart leaving no room for egoism, selfishness, hate, jealousy or fear.
By God's Grace, this seeker is gradually led to direct realisation of his cosmic presence.
XII:17 - One who neither grasps pleasure or grief, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things, is very dear to Me.
XII:18 - He who is the same to foe and friend, and in honour and dishonour, who is the same in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment,
XII:19 - 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.
When the tilt in the scale of values is corrected, the inner balance is restored.
It is then that one is able to see the situation outside as it is, not as it appeared to be through the coloured glass of personal desires, egoism and conditioning.
It is then that one is able to play his role efficiently, with a pure heart, free from anxiety.
This role may demand the seeker's dynamic participation in the external conflict between the forces of light and those of darkness.
It may lead him through alternate success and failure, honour and dishonour.
But since he has offered all his actions to God, and since his own ego does not commence any undertaking - which is always prompted and conducted by the Lord - he has surpassed good and evil.
He knows that what happens to him is God's will and calmly accepts it.
Do these verses make it appear as though the devotee is a dull and heartless walking corpse?
Certainly not!
His compassion keeps him busy in the service of all creatures.
But, he has entered his mind and intellect into God who created the world, sustains it and who thus works through him, his devotee.
The vital difference is that the devotee sees God where we see the world.
We work, while he worships his lord through all his work.
Humility, devotion, surrender and non-condemnation are the beautiful attitudes of a devotee of God, of a sincere seeker.
XII:20 - They verily who follow this immortal dharma as described above, endowed with faith, regarding me as their supreme goal, they, the devotees, are exceedingly dear to me.
'Dharmyamrtam' is translated into immortal dharma.
It is also immortalising dharma.
Krsna makes it plain at every opportunity that his is not a new doctrine or philosophy but a re-statement and reiteration of the eternal (not just the oldest, but also the ever-new) dharma.
It is dharma - the balance which sustains the universe and every living creature, the cohesive force that keeps us together.
It is not Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or Judaism in their restricted sense, but their very essence and soul.
It is eternal but capable of being re-interpreted and re-delivered from time to time.
Wood remains wood, but every human generation fashions some new gadget out of it, putting it to different uses.
Initially, man made houses, bridges and boats with wood.
When iron and concrete superceded wood in construction, it was used for paper.
Now man makes various garments from wood.
All these have two factors in common: wood and service to man.
Modern man, though he does not discard objects of nature (like wood), sneers at dharma, feeling it is out of date.
However, it is eternal and can and should still serve man, making his life happier and richer.
Just as there are factories and research laboratories to discover newer uses for old materials, there should be more spiritual research centres to re-discover this eternal dharma, this pattern of our existence, and suggest ways and means of applying it to the present-day world.
To the man-of-God these verses representing the eternal dharma are like a blue-print for perfection.
He builds his personality on their pattern - not by blindly copying, but by intelligently living.
He lives as if he were a great devotee of God, for that is his objective.
He grows in the characteristics mentioned in these verses and in course of time is established in them.
These eight verses are worth daily repetition, contemplating their meaning.
Om Tat Sat
Thus in the Upanishad of the Bhagavad Gita, the Science of the Eternal, the Scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, ends the twelfth chapter entitled: The path of devotion - Bhakti Yoga - The Yoga of Devotion.

gri ganesaya namah! sri gopala krsnaya namah! dharo 'vaca bhagavan paramesana bhaktir avyabhicarini prarabdham bhujyamanasya katham bhavati he prabho
1. The Earth said: O Lord! The supreme one! How can unflinching devotion arise in him who is immersed in his worldly life, O Lord?
sri visnur uvaca prarabdham bhujyamano hi gita 'bhyasa ratah sada sa muktah sa sukhi loke karmana no 'palipyate
2. Lord Visnu said: Though engaged in the performance of worldly duties, one who is regular in the study of the Gita, becomes free. He is the happy man in this world. He is not bound by karma.
maha papadi papani gita dhyanam karoti cet kvacit sparsam na kurvanti nalini dalam ambuvat
3. Just as the water stains not the lotus leaf, even so, sins do not taint him who is regular in the recitation of the Gita.
gitayah pustakam yatra yatra pathah pravartate tatra sarvani tirthani prayaga 'dini tatra vai
4. All the sacred places of pilgrimage like Prayaga, etc., dwell in that place where the book, the Gita, is kept and where the Gita is read.
sarve devas ca rsayo yoginah pannagas ca ye gopala gopika va 'pi narado 'ddhava parsadaih
5. All the gods, sages, yogi, divine serpents, gopala, gopika (friends and devotees of lord Krsna), Narada, Uddhava and others (dwell there).
sahayo jayate sighram yatra gita pravartate yatra gita vicaras ca pathanam pathanat srutam tatra 'ham niscitam prthvi nivasami sadai 'va hi
6. Help comes quickly where the Gita is recited and, O Earth, I dwell at all times where the Gita is read, heard, taught and contemplated upon.
gita 'sraye 'ham tisthami gita me co 'ttamam grham gita jnanam upasritya trimllokan palayamy aham
7. I take refuge in the Gita and the Gita is my best abode. I protect the three worlds with the knowledge of the Gita.
gita me parama vidya brahma rupa na samsayah ardha matra 'ksara nitya sva 'nirvacya padatmika
8. The Gita is my highest science, which is doubtless of the form of Brahman, the eternal, the ardhamatra (of the sacred monosyllable om), the ineffable splendour of the self.
cidanandena krsnena prokta sva mukhato 'rjunam veda tray! parananda tattva 'rtha jnana samyuta
9. It was spoken by the blessed Krsna, the all-knowing, through his own mouth to Arjuna. It contains the essence of the three veda, knowledge of the reality. It is full of supreme bliss.
yo 'stadasa japen nityam naro niscala manasah jnana siddhim sa labhate tato yati param padam
10. He who recites the eighteen chapters of the Gita daily, with a pure, unshaken mind, attains perfection in knowledge, and reaches the highest state or supreme goal.
pathe 'samarthah sampurne tato 'rdham patham acaret tada go danajam punyam labhate na 'tra samsayah
11. If a complete reading is not possible, even if only half of it is read, he attains the benefit of giving a cow as a gift. There is no doubt about this.
tribhagam pathamanas to ganga snana phalam labhet sadamsam japamanas to soma yaga phalam labhet
12. He who recites one-third part of it achieves the merit of a bath in the sacred Ganga, and he who recites one-sixth of it attains the merit of performing a soma ritual.
eka 'dhyayam to yo nityam pathate bhakti samyutah rudra lokam avapnoti gano bhutva vasec ciram
13. That person who reads one chapter with great devotion attains to the world of Rudra and, having become an attendant of lord Siva, lives there for many years.
adhyayam sloka padam va nityam yah pathate narah sa yati naratam yavan manvantaram vasundhare
14. If one reads a quarter of a chapter or even part of a verse daily, he, O Earth, retains a human body till the end of a world-cycle.
gitayah sloka dasakam sapta panca catustayam dvau trin ekaih tad ardham va slokanam yah pathen narah candra lokam avapnotii varsanam ayutam dhruvam gita patha samayukto mrtomanusatam vrajet
15,16. He who repeats ten, seven, five, four, three, two verses or even one or half a verse, attains the region of the moon and lives there for ten thousand years. Accustomed to the daily study of the Gita, the dying man comes back to life again as a human being.
gita 'bhyasam punah krtva labhate muktim uttamam gite 'ty uccara samyukto mriyamano gatim labhet
17. By repeated study of the Gita he attains liberation. Uttering 'Gita' at the time of death, one attains liberation.
gita 'rtha sravana 'sakto maha papa yuto 'pi va vaikuntham samavapnoti visnuna saha modate
18. Though full of sins, one who is ever intent on hearing the meaning of the Gita, goes to the kingdom of God and rejoices with lord Visnu.
gita 'rtham dhyayate nityam krtva karmani bhurisah jivanmuktah sa vijneyo deha 'nte paramam padam
19. He who meditates on the meaning of the Glita, having performed a lot of good actions, attains the supreme goal after death. Such a man should be known as a jivanmukta (sage liberated while living).
gitam asritya bahavo bhubhujo janaka 'dayah nirdhuta kalmasa loke gita yatah paratn padam
20. In this world, taking refuge in the Gita, many kings like Janaka and others have reached the highest state or goal, purified of all sins.
gitayah pathanam krtva mahatmyam naiva yah pathet vrtha patho bhavet tasya srama eva by udahrtah
21. He who fails to read this Glory of the Gita after having read the Gita, loses the benefit thereby, and the effort alone remains.
etan mahatmya sahyuktam gita 'bhyasam karoti yah sa tat phalam avapnoti durlabharn gatim apnuyat
22. One who studies the Gita, together with this Glory of the Gita, attains the fruits mentioned above and reaches the state which is otherwise very difficult to attain.
suta uvaca mahatmyam etad gitaya maya proktam sanatanatn gitante ca pathed yas to yad uktam tat phalarnlabhet
23. Suta said: This greatness or Glory of the Gita which is eternal, as narrated by me, should be read at the end of the study of the Gita and the fruits mentioned therein will be obtained.
iti sri varaha purane gri gita mahatmyam sampurnam
Thus ends the Glory of the Gita contained in the Varaha purana.

This was a glimpse of the gospel of Lord Krishna - simple, direct, yet profound. It is not one of pessimism or escapism, but is full of robust common sense. And if it sometimes seems to be puzzling, it is because common sense is so uncommon in the complex world of today.
You may be quite certain that one direction is east and the opposite direction west. But, if you move a little, you suddenly discover that east and west meet you! You are the divider, and from another point of view, you are the meeting point. In fact, it is the mind that creates all this duality which multiplies into endless diversity, creating conflicts and confusion all the way through.
There is only oneness and cosmic unity. There just cannot be two infinites or two omnipresences. The origin of the perception of diversity is enshrouded in mystery - maya. But Krishna boldly assumes responsibility for even that! "I am seated in the hearts of all; from me are memory, knowledge, as well as their absence, " says He.
The manifest universe is the body of God, and the supreme spirit is the indweller. Even this distinction was made to suit human analogy and to satisfy the duality-ridden intellect. We make an arbitrary distinction between our body and our spirit which seems to be justified because at one stage - death - the spirit leaves the body. This, obviously, does not apply to the Lord and His Body, for He is eternal and infinite, and does not leave His Body.
What a sublime vision! What a world-uniting doctrine! What a fountain of love! What a soft blow to shatter all distinctions and differences! What a divine cord of love to unite all mankind in oneness - divinity!

Swami Venkatesananda

Om Tat Sat
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