Baghawat Geeta, Class 124: Chapter 9, Verses 20 – 23


त्रैविद्या मां सोमपाः पूतपापा
यज्ञैरिष्ट्वा स्वर्गतिं प्रार्थयन्ते
ते पुण्यमासाद्य सुरेन्द्रलोक
मश्नन्ति दिव्यान्दिवि देवभोगान्।।9.20।।

Conversant with the lore of the triple Vedic texts, drinkers of soma-juice, cleansed of sins, crave attainment after having sacrificed unto Me. They reach the meritorious world of Indra and enjoy there devine felicities.

Continuing his talk on chapter 9, Swamiji said, having talked about bhakti in general as a means of moksha, now Sri Krishna is talking about two types of Bhakti: Sakama bhakti and Nishkama bhakti. Both Bhaktis were discussed in chapter # 7 as well. In Chapter # 7 Bhakti was classified in three broad types: Manda Bhakti, Madhyama bhakti and Uttama Bhakti. Manda Bhakti is when person is looking at God for worldly benefits such as health, wealth etc. Here God is considered Sadhanam and things obtained by worshipping God are considered Sadhyam. It is the lowest form of Bhakti. Here I love God not for his sake but for some material gain.

When somebody loves me for the sake of borrowing money from me, and as long as I lend money, he loves me, he says you are Indra, Chandra, great swami, whatever it is; and I wanted to test that person and stop giving money, and gradually the friendship also is broken; his love is also broken. Now you ask the question, did that person love me for my sake, or for the sake of money? So when I have money, somebody loves; when I have no money, the same people do not love; then it is very clear that they love money, rather than me. This is simple anvyayavyathireka logic; did he love my money or me? It is very clear; people love money and not me.

Similarly when I love God for worldly benefits, it is an incidental love of God. Here God is only a means; hence it is Sakama Bhakti.

As he matures he realizes God as superior to all worldly things one can obtain and with this his attitude changes. Now I love God as an end itself. Now God is the end and world the means to the end. This radical change is Madhyama Bhakti or Nishkama Bhakti; here I don’t ask for anything worldly.

Uttama Bhakti: In madhyama bhakti God is an end and love of god is superior to love of world because the world is means, God is the end; love for the end, is certainly superior to the love for the means.

But Vedanta goes one step further; it asks why do you love god; why not money or something else? Your answer is that goal of God makes me happy.

So why does a devotee desire to attain God?

Because I love the goal; not for the sake of the goal itself; I love the goal, for the sake of myself only; If the goal will not give me happiness; then what will I do; change the goal. So therefore, as long as you see Lord as the goal; certainly you love God; but that love of God is also lesser than the love for oneself.

So superior to love of a goal is love of him Self. I love goal for love of my own self. You do love God, but it is lesser than love for one’s self. Thus, love for the end is greater than one for the means.

It is a beautiful approach; you have to meditate on this idea; love for the end is superior to the love for the means; and love for oneself is superior to the love for

the end, because I love the end for whose sake; not for the sake of the end; but for the sake of myself; and therefore in the highest level of bhakthi; God is neither the means nor the end, I have to discover God as myself.

And when God and self becomes identical; the love or devotion has reached the climax, which is called advaita bhakthi; abheda bhakthi; para bhakthi; Gyana bhakthi.

This Sri Krishna talked about in the 7th chapter as well.

Arjuna! all types of all kinds of devotees are certainly great; but the greatest devotee is that Gyani who is none other than myself.

So therefore, what are the three levels that we have to go through; first God is the means called sakama bhakthi; then God is the end, which is called nishkama bhakthi; and thereafter God is myself; which is advaitha bhakthi. 

Sri Krishna says the greatest Bhakti is I myself.

All three are great bhaktas. They have performed yagnas and had soma as a part of prasada and are thus free from papam and acquire a lot of punyam. To them God is willing to give anything. But these people pray for swarga phalam and God has no choice. What you get in life is not due to God. He does not choose what he should give. What ever you want, you ask. So, you choose your own desires. You are responsible for your own lot. Thus, these people, instead of seeking God seek swarga. Citing an example:

It is like a baby whom when we offer a gold biscuit and

a real biscuit; real biscuit meaning edible biscuit; now

the baby will ask for the edible biscuit; it will ask

what can I do with the gold biscuit; poor child does not know that gold biscuit can buy millions of edible biscuits; this is called nithya anitya vasthu vivekah nasthi.

So, God gives blessing of swarga and the blessing of moksha is lost to devotee. Therefore, Sakama bhaktas, (manda bhaktas), reach the world of Indra, a heavan full of sense pleasures and they enjoy them. Listening to it, it looks like the sakama bhakta made the right choice after all. Sri Krishna has more to say on that topic.

Shloka # 21:

ते तं भुक्त्वा स्वर्गलोकं विशालं
क्षीणे पुण्ये मर्त्यलोकं विशन्ति
एव त्रयीधर्ममनुप्रपन्ना
गतागतं कामकामा लभन्ते।।9.21।।

Having enjoyed the vast world of heaven, their merit spent, they enter the world of mortals. Thus conforming to the law of the three Vedas and desiring objects of pleasure, they achieve movements to and from (heaven). 

Sri Krishna says their choice of swarga superficially looks good. They will enjoy heavenly pleasures for a long time. They will get pleasures of all Gods. Deva loka is very large. This is the bright side of Sakama Bhakti. What is its negative side? This Swarga Loka is only given for the punyam earned through many karmas, as such, it is limited and not infinite. One cannot earn Punyam in Swarga loka. Swarga is Abhoga Bhumi; it is not Karma Bhumi. One day all punyam will get exhausted and one will come back to Madras with all its mosquitoes.

Mundaka Upanishad says, even return to manushya loka is not guaranteed. It depends on one’s past karmas.

So, what? When any object which gives joy by association; the very same object gives sorrow because of dissociation; it is very natural; if you are watching a movie; very interesting one; and in the middle, the current goes; you do not have generator also; now even they have that; now if you have generator, suppose generator also goes; you get so wild; and your anger is directly proportional to the enjoyment that you derive

But the mind is such that having enjoyed something, it cannot settle for anything lesser than that, and therefore the withdrawal symptom as it is called is extremely painful. Therefore they come back to the dukha lokam.

Sri Krishna says, every Samsari is like an addict; does karma; enjoys; loses everything; again does karma; enjoys; loses everything; karma, phalam, janma, again karma, phalam, janma; karma phalam janma. Thus, bhaktas continue their cycle of life and death.

Therefore, in this manner; those people who follow the ritualistic portion of the vedas; the karma kanda portion of the vedas and with an aim of pure enjoyment, sensory enjoyment, worldly pleasures, such people do all the pooja, etc. but use punyam earned for the sake of the perishable pleasures.

Consequence is that they go to Swarga Loka and come back to Bhu Loka and this goes on, back and forth. All earnings of punyam and papam are possible only in Bhu Loka. All other 13 Lokas are meant only for exhausting them, the lower lokas for papam and higher lokas for punyam.  This is the autobiography of a Samsari.

Shloka # 22:

अनन्याश्िचन्तयन्तो मां ये जनाः पर्युपासते
तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम्।।9.22।।

To men who exclusively meditate on Me and elaborately worship Me, who apply themselves incessantly (to meditation), I bring prosperity and security.

 In last two shlokas Sri Krishna talked about Manda Bhakti as Sakama Bhakti. In this important shloka now, Nishkama bhakti is being described. Here God is end of all endeavors.

When God is the end, love for God is superior. Our mind is always obsessed with the end rather than the means. It is like travelling to Delhi. While you buy the rail ticket, you travel in train for several days, you go through all experiences; your goal of reaching Delhi remains unchanged. Or like building a house, you go through a whole process of buying the land, hiring a contractor and going through the process of building the house, all the time keeping the end goal of house in mind.

Similarly here also; in the case of madhyma bhaktha; he does all the worldly transactions; but the absorbed in the ultimate goal of his life; that is called Bhagavan in puranic language; that is called moksha in vedantic language; that is called theevra mumukshatvam in vedantic language; that is called Jignasu bhakthi in the 7th chapter language.

Transactions go on but goal is fixed. So for Nishkama bhakta his goal is God and it displaces all other objectives from my mind. While I perform all transactions, my mind is in God.

This is ananya bhakti. Here mind is absorbed in God. Other goals of life are not ignored. But they are at a subdued level; god alone predominates.

Absorption in God does not mean disregard to one’s family duties. Their goal is moksha. What about worries of worldly life?

Earning, supporting or Yoga (acquiring) and Kshema (protection), or acquisitions and preservations, we continue to perform these two without thinking of anything else. Sri Krishna says no human can ever provide total Yoga Kshema as everything in universe is insecure.

Thinking I can provide perfect security is the biggest myth; so fill the gap by surrendering to God. It does not mean you have to give up responsibility. Where is the limit to security? One can take care as much as possible and leave rest to God; this way mind is available to the beyond yoga and kshema. Is God reliable; is a question that may come up? We know humans are not. Sri Krishna says I am the real and only security. I will take care of your yoga and kshema under one condition. The condition is being committed to Me completely. They are called Jigyasu or Madhyama bhaktas. Normally a Grihastha should feel secure while Sanyasi should worry, as he has no one to help him. Security is not based upon external possessions; it is based upon internal mindset.

It is like I telling you that I will give you Rs.10 loan if you give me Rs.10 now; Then, we will happily live; remember two beggars cannot depend on each other;  two insecure members can’t give each other security. The ever-secure entity is God and he alone can give you security. Sri Krishna says if you trust Me, you will be secure.

Shloka # 23:

येऽप्यन्यदेवता भक्ता यजन्ते श्रद्धयाऽन्विताः
तेऽपि मामेव कौन्तेय यजन्त्यविधिपूर्वकम्।।9.23।।

Those also who are the devotees of other divinities, who worship them with faith, are worshipping Me only, Arjuna! but not according to Vedic injunctions.

In previous shlokas Sri Krishna said Nishkama bhakta’s are those who worship Me. Does every seeker of moksha have to worship Sri Krishna alone? Can he worship other Gods? Sri Krishna clarifies this here. It was also clarified in chapter # 7 before.

Any form of god is finite. Form is finite. Thus Krishna form, Shiva form all are finite. In any form we can invoke infinite power. So, value of deity, depends on our invocation.

I gave you an example as to which check leaf is superior? Remember, the value of a check leaf; depends upon what you write on it, until then all leafs are of equal value; provided the money is in the bank; of course; similarly here also all the devathas are equal;

But when I invoke infinite in the form, he becomes infinite. In Bhagawad Gita, Sri Krishna is the infinite.

Take away:

You do love God, but it is lesser than love for one’s self.

And, therefore, in the highest level of bhakthi, God is neither the means nor the end; I have to discover God as myself.

And when God and self becomes identical; the love or devotion has reached the climax, which is called advaita bhakthi.

All earnings of punyam and papam are possible only in Bhu Loka. All other 13 Lokas are meant only for exhausting them; the lower lokas for papam and higher lokas for punyam.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy