Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Pt 24

Part 23

6 Moksha
6-1 Preparation
6-2 Jnana, Jnani, and Jnana-Phala
6-2-17 Jnani is the greatest devotee 7(16 to 30), 8(14,15), 12(13 to 20) 6-2-17-1: 7(16 to 20), 8(14,15
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Sri Krishna classifies his devotees in four categories depending on their motives. They are (1) Arthi: Crisis bhakta who worships in the time of crisis for removal of the crisis. The motive is removal of crisis (dukkha-nivriti). It is natural and is inculcated from childhood. There are many examples in Indian mythology where a jiva in distress has called the God in crisis and the God has responded to the call. (2) Artharthi: He does not need a crisis for bhakthi. He worships God for making his worldly transactions successful so that he gets happiness. The motive is to gain material benefits (sukha-prapti). God is a means, not an end. He does not worship purely out of love and devotion. Once the end is accomplished, means are often given up. (3) Seeker (jignasu): One who is interested in knowing and reaching God. God is not a means but an end. His devotion is selfless. He does not worship God for Artha and Kama or punya. His devotion is of middle level. (4) Knower (jnani): He has discovered the true nature of God-both higher and lower. He knows that the God is not away from him. There is no separation between God and him. He is the highest devotee. God is neither a means nor an end. He is siddha, i.e., accomplished as ‘I’.

There is a difference between a religious person and a spiritual person. (1) and (2) are religious persons. (3) is also a religious person on the threshold of becoming spiritual as he uses religion for purity of mind to know God. He is now a seeker. Both karma yogi and jnana yogi are seekers. On successful completion of jnana yoga, a seeker is a jnani devotee. It is a long journey and may take many births with progress made in one birth carried forward to the next birth. Sri Krishna clarifies that all the four devotees are dear to him. There is no sin attached to the first two types as they have made a right beginning. Where one stands is not so important as the direction in which one stands.

The jnani bhakta is the best devotee and is the ‘dearest’ to God because he does not find any difference between God and himself. A bhakta must ultimately pursue jnana yoga, i.e., systematic study of scriptures under the guidance of a teacher. The scriptures deal with the lower as well as higher nature of God, i.e., Saguna, and Nirguna. It is a misconception that a jnani ceases to be a religious person. Of course, his religious practices are not driven by desires. A jnani devotee is rare as his spiritual journey is not confined to one life but many births.

The attitude of devotion and the act of worship together determine the type of bhakti. Selfish devotion means using worship of God as a means for finite goals, namely, desire, wealth, and dharma. Dharma results in punyas for going to heaven and higher worlds after death which are also finite. A selfish devotee keen to fulfill various personal desires worships a devata who can fulfill his desires. If the act of worship is as per scriptures and faith, the desires are fulfilled. It reinforces the faith. But there is a downside. Material gain in this world or other world suffers from intrinsic defects. It is mixed with sorrow and gain is not permanent. Secondly, it is finite and limited. It is insatiable and causes bondage.

Anything different from God is finite. God alone is beyond time and space and is infinite. Selfless devotion is not used for material end. Reaching God is the only goal. Sri Krishna represents the Infinite. A devotee who is not deluded by the fleeting gains and is consistently devoted to God will also remember God at the time of death. Sri Krishna refers to the highest bhakta in verses 14 and 15 of Chapter 8. This bhakta is constantly absorbed in the higher nature of God and he reaches the supreme abode without difficulty because he has requisite qualifcations. It may be added that by acquiring the qualifications, he has completed a major portion of sadhana. He may become enlightened at sravan stage without manan and nidhidhyasana. He is liberated, free from the bondage of samsara, and is a jivanmukta.

6-2-17-2: 12(13 to 20)

In the second portion of Chapter 12, Sri Krishna enumerates the qualities of the highest bhakta, a jnani who knows the non-dual God. He is an epitome of virtues because he has successfully completed three yogas, namely, karma yoga, upasana yoga and jnana yoga. He enjoys the virtues here in the present life. It is not posthumous. Any claim or assurance of enjoyment after death cannot be verified and may not appeal to a potential seeker. There is a purpose in enumerating the personality of a jnani devotee. They are alluring and a person may be interested to acquire them. The list of virtues serves as an ideal with which a seeker can match his progress.

The first virtue is freedom from hatred. He does not hate his enemies. Hatred is not in his dictionary. Insults and rewards are treated alike. He knows that the essential nature of everybody is divine. A person cannot be bad. His actions are bad. Should such actions be hated? No, because hating does not serve any purpose. Not only the bad person is not likely to change his actions, hatred pollutes the hater’s mind. Like acid it corrodes the mind. Sri Krishna kills Kansa and asks Arjuna to kill Duryodhana, not out of hatred but to establish Dharma. I love to hate has no place. A jnani bhakta is a universal friend. He regards everyone as his friend. He is compassionate and helpful towards others. He has empathy.

He does not own anything. He has no mine notion. He may have physical possession but has no ownership because he considers himself Atma and is unattached and without any relationship. He also knows that worldly things are temporary and need not be owned. He need not physically give up anything. He can use everything; with the awareness that they are meant for use, not for ownership. He has discovered his fullness and is not affected by sorrow and happiness. There is no violent reaction to sorrow and elation in happiness. As he has discovered his fullness, he is contented and satisfied. His knowledge is firm. He has mastered his mind and sense organs. He works out of fullness and not for fullness.

The life of a jnani is dedicated to others. He does not cause disturbance to others because he is sensitive and aware of his surroundings. His heart is tender like a flower. And at the same time, he has a stone-like heart and is immune to life’s ups and downs. The world does not torments him. He has transcended anxiety, fear, joy, etc. He has no binding desires. Every desire is a luxury. If it is fulfilled, it is fine. If it is not fulfilled, there is no disappointment.

Because of his serenity and calmness, his actions are skilled and not tainted by prejudices, yet he is not attached to the results of the action and is neutral to the experiences of life. A happy experience does not make him lose his balance. And a sad experience does not irritate him. He takes them in his stride and moves on. He does not run after worldly pleasures. He is satisfied with his possessions resulting from his actions. He is equally disposed towards friends and foes. He has transcended pairs of opposites, be it happiness and sorrow, honour and dishonour, praise and criticism, success and failure or loss and gain. He is steady-minded. He avoids unnecessary talks. He does not boast of himself. Having given detail description of virtues of a janani bhakta, Sri Krishna calls upon all other bhaktas to cultivate these virtues. These virtues are like nectar and will help them on the path of the highest knowledge and immortality. Such aspirants are dear to God.
Contd Pt 25

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