Bghawat Geeta, Class 127: Chapter 9, Verses 30 to 34


Shloka # 30:

अपि चेत्सुदुराचारो भजते मामनन्यभाक्
साधुरेव मन्तव्यः सम्यग्व्यवसितो हि सः।।9.30।।

Despite his extremely wicked conduct, if a man worships Me exclusively he must indeed be deemed worthy; for his resolution is right.

Continuing his talk on chapter 9, Swamiji said, Sri Krishna has completed the topic of comparison and contrast of sakama nishkama bhakti. Now, in shlokas # 30 to # 34, Sri Krishna is talking about the glory of devotion.

In shloka # 30 bhakti is glorified as something, which any person can start at any time in his life.

Either he can start as an arta bhaktha, which is the beginning stage. Whenever there is problem, we can take recourse to the Lord. This is arta bhakthi. Whenever there are problems, a person is mentally weaker, he requires a support, and Lord is an ever-available support. In fact, one of the names of the Lord is arta thrana parayana; the one who is committed to helping the people who are in crisis.  And gradually you can graduate to artharti bhakthi, then jignasu bhakthi and then Gyani bhakthi; thus whatever be your level of spirituality, you can start with bhakthi.

Sri Krishna says once he has decided to take the help of god such a person can be called a Sadhu purusha because it requires a little bit of humility; a little bit of understanding, that however great we are, our freewill has its limitation. No doubt human being is very powerful. No doubt, human being can achieve lot of things. But however great a human being is, he has his limitation. The moment I understand the limitation of my freewill, my wisdom helps me take the help of an external factor.

The moment I understand limitations of freewill, I get wisdom to seek help of god, even if it is for material gains. One can seek god even for material gains.

And once a person surrenders to the Lord; and then he will find there is an extra strength in his mind. As I told you the other day, they have statistically proved that religious people have more emotional strength, and greater immunity and resistance even at physical level. Therefore I do seek a transformation. Once I seek a transformation my inner strength, my devotion will increase; when the devotion increases, naturally my strength will be more; thus you get into a cycle; an auspicious cycle of; more devotion; more strength; more strength, more devotion, so it becomes a healthy addiction; until then, he was addicted to unhealthy practices; now he is de-addicting himself from other inferior things and he is practicing a positive addiction; the addiction to devotion; it is an addiction; but worth having; and soon we will get over even that addiction; Whether we should get over or not is a different question; but if you see it as an addiction, we will get over that also; but he has got into a healthier addiction.

So you can call him a saint as he has taken the right resolve. What happens to him, the one who has decided to turn to Lord for help?

Shloka # 31:

क्षिप्रं भवति धर्मात्मा शश्वच्छान्तिं निगच्छति
कौन्तेय प्रतिजानीहि मे भक्तः प्रणश्यति।।9.31।।

Soon he becomes essentially righteous and attains lasting peace. Know for certain and proclaim, Arjuna! that My devotee never perishes.

He will soon become a dharma atma or a person who values dharma more than artha and kama.

He grows out of the artha kama delusion. He uses them like pickle, in small quantities. His main pursuit in life is his dharma (values and moksha). He will gradually become a jignasu bhakta. One who uses emotion for growth. Then he becomes a Gyani bhakti.

Jignasu means one who wants to know the nature of God. Since he knows God is the only source of security, he is interested in knowing Brahman.

And once I have that sincere desire, Sri Krishna will tell in the 10th chapter, from somewhere shastram comes. Just as when the flowers bloom from somewhere the bee comes; flower need not send post card, please come; once it has bloomed; naturally it comes; Similarly you bloom into a sadhana chatushtaya sampanna adhikaari; Gurus will come in search of you; Sri Krishna will tell this in the 10th chapter, Because Bhagavan’s law is that any genuine desire should be fulfilled. If you have a thirst as a natural desire; Bhagavan has to provide you with water in the creation; if hunger is there; Bhagavan has to provide food in the creation; if you have to breath oxygen; Bhagavan has to provide; similarly, if you have a thirst for Ishvara Gyanam, Bhagavan has to provide a guru; therefore Sri Krishna says Shastra will come, guru will come, ideal situations for learning will come; Gyanam will come, you will be converted into a Gyani bhaktha.

Then Sri Krishna says the moment you become Gyani bhaktha; you are a wise person; and that wisdom means grief will go away from life. He will attain peace of mind; ever lasting peace not disturbed by upheavals of life.

Now Sri Krishna wants to make sure Arujna accepts all this. He says, O Arjuna! take this promise from Me. A devotee will never have a spiritual fall. Material ups and downs may occur but not spiritually. This is my promise. So, become my devotee.

Shloka # 32:

मां हि पार्थ व्यपाश्रित्य येऽपि स्युः पापयोनयः
स्त्रियो वैश्यास्तथा शूद्रास्तेऽपि यान्ति परां गतिम्।।9.32।।

Seeking refuge in Me, Arjuna! those even of low birth, women, artisans and serfs, attain the supreme goal.

Sri Krishna wants to point out that even handicapped people can take to bhakti and get liberation. The disadvantage can be any form of handicap, physical, mental, emotional including spiritual obstacles. They all can get liberation provided they come to depend on Me. Shankaracharya’s Karavalamba strotram is meant for disadvantaged people to attain liberation.

Who are the disadvantaged people? We should note that this shloka is a very controversial one. The disadvantaged people include:

  1. People of sinful birth;
  2. Women
  3. Vaishya and
  4. Shudra

All four are disadvantaged people. Why does Sri Krishna identify these four. We should remember Vedanta is pursuit of wisdom connected with the mind, intellect and sukshma shariram. Physical body does not get knowledge. We are not connected with the physical personality. Sadhana chatushtaya sampathi deals only with subtle body, not physical body. So Stree, Vaishya, shudra etc are really about our inner personality. What type of personality is a Stree, Vaishya, Shudra etc? They are svabhave stree, svabhava vaishya, svabhava shudra.

We are not concerned about physical side of svabhava at all here.

Papa Yonaya: People of sinful birth; that means people who do not have a conducive atmosphere for spirituality; not being born in a spiritual family; We have to imbibe spirituality from early childhood. In fact we say in the shastra, that even from pregnancy the child imbibes that trait. So imagine if the parents are nasthikas; so, that becomes an obstacle. Thus, papa yonaya, are people who do not have a conducive atmosphere for spiritual growth.

Stree: A stree is an emotional person. In Stree emotion dominates over reason. Normally reason should control emotion and not the other way around. An emotional person can have problems with Vedantic knowledge. Emotional person values personal attachment. They need an emotional prop. But Vedanta wants us to grow out of relationship, asangam. Sanga means bondage; one has to transcend Sanga.

Emotional mind wants a personal god; god is seen as a child, mother, father etc. Whereas Vedanta is telling us that God is beyond even personal limitations. Emotional mind can never reach nirguna brahman and therefore Vedanta becomes a problem and vairagya becomes a problem for an emotional mind. Therefore who ever has such a mind is called stree mind; even a

male, if he has got such a mind, Vedantically that person is a stree; therefore, the first type of mind is an emotional mind.

Vaishya:  In chapter 4, Vaishya is considered a Rajasic mind; that is an outgoing, commercial mind. He sees profit everywhere. It does not have anything to do with birth. This is a guna vaishya.

Shudra: In chapter # 4 this is considered tamas guna pradhana. They are animalistic one’s who believe in a “eat drink and be merry” life. This is Guna shudra not jati shudra.

Guna stree, Guna Vaishya, Guna Shudra are all disadvantaged persons. Even they can surrender to God and they can change their character.

A lady asked me, Swamiji, if I have to be detached from my son to obtain moksha; I prefer my son to moksha.

Such a mind will have difficulty, but Sri Krishna says to such people my advice is; be attached to your children also and give Me, Bhagavan, some attachment as well; then sooner or later, I will take you away from worldly attachment. So, Bhakti will help handicapped as well.

Shloka # 33:

किं पुनर्ब्राह्मणाः पुण्या भक्ता राजर्षयस्तथा
अनित्यमसुखं लोकमिमं प्राप्य भजस्व माम्।।9.33।।

How much more certainly do so those of meritorious birth and devout royal sages! Having come to this transient and unhappy world, worship Me.

 So, if Guna shudra and vaishya can attain liberation then the Guna Brahmana and Kshatriya can certainly obtain it as well.

Guna Brahmana: is Satva pradhana.

Guna Kshatriya: is Rajasic pradhana but one who is active selflessly. Guna Vaishya, on the other hand is selfishly active.

Selfless person will grow spiritually while a guna Vaishya may stagnate. A Kshatriyas life is one of a karma yogi while a Vaishyas is one of just karma.

Thus, a Raja Rishi is a guna Kshatriya who is advantaged.

So, advantaged or disadvantaged, start Bhakti. So Arjuna! May you start worshipping Me. Don’t postpone, start right away. The world is too uncertain. So start prayer to God right away.

Sri Krishna concludes the chapter with shloka # 34:

Shloka # 34:

मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु
मामेवैष्यसि युक्त्वैवमात्मानं मत्परायणः।।9.34।।

Set your mind on Me; be My devotee; sacrifice unto Me; pay obeisance to Me. Being wholly intent on Me, thus uniting your self, you will surely come to Me.

 In this famous shloka the lifestyle of a bhakta is described. Who is a bhakta? What life does he lead? Five factors are described in this area. I will reorganize the words of shloka to better communicate the five factors.

Matbhaktaha bhava: Develop devotion towards Me.

Lord can be looked at as a means to the world or as an end. In beginning you learn to look at god as a sakama bhakta for accomplishing worldly ends. Here you will certainly obtain success in that God will fulfill your desires. And that is why Sri Krishna said, in whatever form you worship Me, I will fulfill your desire. So this is the first stage: use Bhagavan as an assistant, your assistant for worldly goal; this is madbhaktah. In fact in all the puranas; this is predominantly presented.

Matparayanaha: Worldly goals have limitations. They cannot give peace, happiness and security. How can money give security? And only God can provide all these. So go to this Brahman, ultimate goal of life.

Manmanaha: Once god is primary goal, mind should not lose sight of goal. In all preoccupations always keep god in mind; as in, subconscious mind. It is like the musician who keeps tampura shruti in mind at all times. This is non-forgetfulness of goal.

Madhyaji Bhava:   He converts every action into worship; uses very moment for worship; even eating can be converted into a purificatory right; you should not eat immediately what is served; wait a minute; do namaskara; and acknowledge that it is Lord’s gift and remember God; and eat; then eating becomes a spiritual sadhana; Convert everything into a spiritual sadhana, yagna; Even sense pleasures can be converted into yagna; we saw in the 4th chapter, dravya yagna, tapo yagna etc. Therefore madhyaji bhava; worship Me through every action of yours; Become a karma yogi; this is the 4th definition.

Mam Namaskuru:  When you grow spiritually, don’t become arrogant. Remember my success requires the grace of God.

Thus madhyaji indicates the use of freewill; Mam Namaskuru; indicates the importance of grace; Freewill is also important; Ishvara anugraha is also important; both should go hand in hand.

So, thus what are the five conditions to be a bhaktha:

  1. Develop devotion to Me.
  2. Make Me as your ultimate goal;
  3. Do not lose sight of Me as the goal;
  4. Convert every moment of your life into a purificatory exercise; and
  5. Always surrender to the Lord and do everything with Lord’s blessings.

If these five conditions are fulfilled, Sri Krishna says;  thus engaging yourselves in this devotional

life, religious life, Vedic life, you will certainly attain

Me alone; you will certainly attain moksha. So thus bhakthi will take every person to Moksha; whatever be the level of the person. Therefore let everyone start with devotion; and in initial stages, the real nature of God need not be known, God can be imagined as a person; then gradually from eka rupa, you can go to aneka rupa, then you can go to arupa; Start somewhere.

Take away:

Religious people have more emotional strength, and greater immunity and resistance even at physical level.

More devotion means more strength; more strength means more devotion, so it becomes a healthy addiction.

Shankaracharya’s Karavalamba strotram is meant for disadvantaged people to attain liberation.

The five conditions to be a bhaktha:

  1. Develop devotion to Me.
  2. Make Me as your ultimate goal;
  3. Do not lose sight of Me as the goal;
  4. Convert every moment of your life into a purificatory exercise; and
  5. Always surrender to the Lord and do everything with Lord’s blessings.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy