Baghawat Geeta, Class 108: Chapter 7, Verses 22 to 25


Greetings All,

Shloka # 22:

तया श्रद्धया युक्तस्तस्याराधनमीहते
लभते ततः कामान्मयैव विहितान् हि तान्।।7.22।।

Possessed of that faith, he desires the worship of that form. From that divinity he secures the objects of his desires; for, I Myself have ordained them.

Continuing his teaching of the Gita, Swami Paramarthananda said, Sri Krishna is differentiating between sakama and nishkama bhakti. Sakama Bhakti is worship of god seeking material gains. Nishkama Bhakti is worship of god seeking spiritual gain or moksha. To contrast the two Sri Krishna deals with sakama bhakti first.

Sri Krishna is presenting sakama bhakthi in a symbolic language. Because a sakama bhaktha seeks only finite material ends; because all material ends are finite; therefore, sakama bhakthi is presented as worship of finite deities. A niskama bhaktha seeks the spiritual end, which is infinite, and therefore symbolically Sri Krishna presents nishkama bhakthi as the worship of the infinite Lord.

Who is finite deity and who is infinite deity? Every deity has a form described in scriptures hence it is finite. It has form. Any deity can be infinite if we invoke infinite in that deity. Conversely, if we invoke finite in the deity it becomes finite. Upon finite deity we have the choice of imposing the infinite. Citing example of a country’s flag, we invoke an entire country in the relatively small flag. Thus Sri Krishna or Lord Ganesha can be invoked as infinite in their finite images. In Gita, Swamiji says, Sri Krishna is the purna avatara. It depends on how you invoke. A sakama bhakta can worship gods other than Sri Krishna.

One can seek result from finite gods. Sri Krishna says there is nothing wrong in worshipping finite god; one’s desires do get fulfilled; finite devata’s are blessing the devotee. However, their power comes from the infinite. Infinite Sri Krishna is giving power to devata who inturn blesses devotees. Sri Krishna says I am blessing everyone through devatas. Citing example of a postman, he gives money order to a person. It does not mean    postman is giving money to the person. He is delivering somebody else’s money. Every parichinna devata is also like a postman. They are only intermediaries. Sri Krishna alone is the ultimate receiver of all the worship and Krishna alone is the ultimate karmaphaladata as well.

Therefore, the Gita says if you want to receive moksha you have to go to Sri Krishna; while Devimahatmiyam says, you have to go to the Devi for moksha.

So, therefore, do not be enamored by the form; no form is superior; no form is inferior, what is inferior and superior is determined by what you invoke in that form.  The word Kaman means desired end or object of desire. The devotee thinks my Ishta Devata has given me the blessing. Sri Krishna says, behind the visible deity I am there. According to Sri Krishna, Sakama Bhakti is valid. Now he talks of the plusses and minuses of Sakama Bhakti.

Plus points are:

1) Sakama bhakti is valid.

2) Nothing wrong in asking god for what you want. It is you alone who decides what you want.

3) It will produce result if the puja is performed properly. Correct performance of puja is essential to obtain results.

Now we are entering the negative points.

Shloka # 23:

अन्तवत्तु फलं तेषां तद्भवत्यल्पमेधसाम्
देवान्देवयजो यान्ति मद्भक्ता यान्ति मामपि।।7.23।।

Here Sri Krishna is giving a statutory warning like on a cigarette pack. He says, sakama bhakti is certainly valid but it also has a problem associated with it. Every worldly gain has got certain intrinsic doshas that go with it. Three doshas have been identified. They are:

  • Dukha mishritham: all worldly pleasures are mixed with equal amounts of pain as well. First there is pain in accomplishing the desire, such as competition. Once acquired, there is the pain of preservation. Finally, in time, the object will be lost anyway, causing further pain. The pain is proportionate to the pleasure.
  • Athritptikaratvam: Since all pleasures are finite, we always think of next higher possibility. I never enjoy what I have. I suffer from disease of comparison. Nachiketas says no human being will ever be satisfied with wealth. He is a “poor” rich man. I continue to be Apurnam.
  • Bandhatvam: Once used to accomplishments we can never think of losing them. It becomes an addiction. I can’t imagine a happy life without these material gains.

So, Sakama bhakti will keep a person in Samsara. He will suffer from spiritual stagnation. Materially he will progress. There is no spiritual fall for a Sakama bhakta; but neither is there any progress.

In nishidha karma there is fall. In sakama karma there is stagnation. I am a religious Samsari.

They are indiscriminate people. God offers both Sreyas and Preyas to devotee. However, nobody asks for moksha.  They do get results but they are finite ones. Whose mistake is it? You have chosen the wrong goal. Worshipper of finite gods will get finite results.

All gods in heaven are just exalted Jivas who got their positions due to their punyam. It is a finite post. My worshippers, the nishkama bhaktas, the mumukshu, they come to Me (infinite). Sri Krishna represents the infinite Brahman.

Shloka # 24:

अव्यक्तं व्यक्ितमापन्नं मन्यन्ते मामबुद्धयः
परं भावमजानन्तो ममाव्ययमनुत्तमम्।।7.24।।

Here Sri Krishna talks about two types of people:

  • Those people who have not understood God properly; and
  • Those who have understood God properly.

God has Para Prakriti (PP) and Apara Prakriti (AP). PP is the higher nature of God also known as Chetana Tatvam. AP is the lower nature of God also known as Achetana Tatvam.

People who don’t understand God see his lower nature; they see the physical body of God or AP. He accepts the god who is subject to arrival and departure. Thus we have instances where god disappears after his avatara.  God came and left. They are only aware of the Apara Prakriti. Sri Krishna says they are the deluded Bhaktas.          But devotees who know PP, the higher aspect of god, where he is not subject to arrival and departure, they are aware of the Consciousness at all times. A thing can be covered, however, consciousness is never covered at any time. Wise people know that god is evident as consciousness in me.  Unintelligent people have misconceptions of god as one who appears and disappears. Only a physical body appears and disappears. They don’t know the higher nature of God as the Chaitanya swarupam.  You are able to listen to my words because you are a conscious being. That Consciousness is Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam. This consciousness is never subject to change (avyayam). Even Sri Krishna’s body is subject to change.  Thus sakama bhakti holds on to AP while nishkama bhakti holds on to PP.

Shloka # 25:

नाहं प्रकाशः सर्वस्य योगमायासमावृतः
मूढोऽयं नाभिजानाति लोको मामजमव्ययम्।।7.25।।

In previous shloka Sri Krishna says, God has a higher and lower nature. One can have a doubt about this. If consciousness is ever evident and it is our higher nature, how come people miss it and run after lower nature? All devotees want to see god as a finite formed god. Why do they go after his inferior nature?

Giving the reason, Sri Krishna says, the lower nature is more attractive hence they go after it. The word Yogamaya means it is a combination of three gunas that make up Maya. They are Apara Prakriti.  Maya is also called Mohini. Hence my higher nature is not evident. They are not interested in formless God.

Take away:

Wise people know that god is evident as consciousness in me.

God is also known as Chetana Tatvam.

With Best Wishes

Ram Ramaswamy