Bagawad Geeta, Class 159: Chapter 12, Verses 12 & 13


Shloka # 11:

अथैतदप्यशक्तोऽसि कर्तुं मद्योगमाश्रितः।
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं ततः कुरु यतात्मवान्।।12.11।।

If you are unable to do even this, in that case, having resorted to the Yoga for Me, thereafter renounce the results of all works by becoming controlled in mind.

Continuing his teachings Swamiji said, in chapter 12, from shloka # 3 to # 11, Sri Krishna talked about the five stages of Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti yoga is not a separate Sadhana rather it is a common name for the five stages of Karma Yoga, Sadhana Yoga and Gyana Yoga. All five stages, starting with the fifth stage, down to first one, were discussed.

The first stage, described in shloka # 11, is Sakama Karma, the lowest stage of Bhakti Yoga. Here one can be a materialistic person but nevertheless he has to observe two points:

  1. Do not adopt immoral methods for material gains. Follow dharmic methods.
  2. When you accomplish your material desire and when you are about to enjoy it; before enjoying it, take a moment to say a prayer to God with a proper attitude; this is known as Ishwara Prasada Bhavana.

This itself will start the purification of mind. This Ishwara sambandha will purify the mind. When performed over a long period of time, the mind will mature and your desires will also undergo a change; it will become subtle; it will become a desire to serve others. The most Satvic desire one can have is the desire for knowledge.

Once I graduate to stage two, my desire becomes Nishkama karma, or selfless desire. It should benefit more people and the overall environment I live in. This leads to an expanded mind. It will lead to a Pancha Maha Yagya karma mind. The second stage is Nishkama karma yoga.

The next level, the third stage, is Ishta Devata Upasana Yoga. Mind withdraws from extrovert activities and becomes more introverted. Then I am ready for Eka Rupa Ishwara Upasana. Then I come to Nirguna Ishwara Gyanam, the highest stage of Bhakti Yoga. And if I successfully pass through all the five levels of

bhakthi yoga; I will become a Brahma Gyani; I will become a sthira pragnaha; I will become an advaita bhakthaha.

Now Sri Krishna concludes this discussion in shloka # 12.

Shloka # 12:

श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते।

Knowledge is surely superior to practice; meditation surpasses knowledge. The renunciation of the results of works (excels) meditation. From renunciation, Peace follows immediately.

Here Sri Krishna talks of four types of sadhanas. He breaks them down from lowest to highest.

  1. Abhyasa
  2. Gyanam
  3. Dhyanam
  4. Karma Phala Tyagam

Abhyasa: means meditation on God. What type of meditation is it?  It is a meditation that is not backed by knowledge, or knowledge of God. It is meditation performed out of blind belief. One meditates upon any chosen deity such as Rama, Krishna or any other form. It is known as Knowledge-less meditation.

Gyanam: By thorough study of scriptures one knows what God is. Here the knowledge is obtained without practice of meditation upon god, to internalize the knowledge. So, meditation-less knowledge is Gyanam.

Dhyanam:  It is a combination of both above; one who has understood scriptures and then dwells upon god. It is meditation with knowledge.

Karmaphala Tyagaha: Sri Krishna talked about this topic in Shloka # 11 as well. Here one dedicates all Karma phala’s to god and takes back Ishwara prasadam. This Sadhana was there in the previous list of five sadhanas as the lowest one. But here Sri Krishna places it as highest one, in this list of four. He openly contradicts the previous shloka.

Shankaracharya says, it is an open contradiction; but Sri Krishna’s intention is that while Karma phala thyaga is lowest step; unfortunately, most people are ready only for this lowest level alone. We are still materialistic people. We are ready for this stage only. Sri Krishna does not want to give such people an inferiority complex. Hence he is saying something like the phrase “small is beautiful”; so he glorifies this sadhana. This whole shloka is called Arthavada Shloka, which means

exaggerating the value of a sadhana to encourage the people to practice that value.

Of the four sadhanas:

  1. Lowest is abhyasa; a mechanical meditation.
  2. Gyanam: is better than Abyasa Yoga. Meditation-less knowledge is better than Knowledge-less Meditation.
  3. Dhyanam: Meditation practiced after gaining knowledge, is superior to Gyanam.
  4. Karma Phala Thyaga: is better than all three above, although it is lowest in list of previous five sadhanas. This ranking is meant to encourage people to practice Sakama Karmas.

What will Karma Phala Thyaga lead to? Dedicating fruits of effort to God is an acknowledgement; Nivedanam, informing God, that everything is due to his grace; this awareness is karmaphala thyaga. Whatever phalas I get, I accept it as Ishwara Prasada.

The word Prasada in Sanskrit means tranquility of mind. If every experience is a prasada in my mind, I will have no resistance to the experience. I give up resistance, hence called Thyagaha. This leads to shanti. With this Bhakti Yoga Sadhanas are over. First part of chapter one is over as well.

Second part of Chapter one is from Shloka # 13 to the end.

Shloka # 13:

अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव
निर्ममो निरहङ्कारः समदुःखसुखः क्षमी।।12.13।।

He who is not hateful towards any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, who has no idea of ‘mine’ and the idea of egoism, who is the same under sorrow and happiness, who is forgiving;

Say a person goes through all five stages of Bhakti yoga successfully; how long will it take? Swamiji says, it depends on the person; it may take one life or several lives; he then becomes a Gyani or a Parabahkta or the highest bahkta. He has Gyanam because he reached the fifth stage. He knows Eka Rupa, Vishwa Rupa and finally Arupa Ishwara. Once he knows Arupa Ishwara, he knows that he is not a subject, rather he realizes that, “ I am He, Soham”.

He realizes that God is non-different from me; that, he is an Advaita Gyani. He realizes Paramatma and Jivatma are not different; they are just one word used for the same entity; like wave and ocean are names of water; there is no substance known as wave or ocean; it is all water. So, he is highest Bhakta, an Advaita Gyani. He is called Sthita Pragyaha; one who has conviction regarding Advaita Gyanam.

How does such an Advaita Gyani face different situations in life? How does he respond? This is known as Parabhakta Lakshanani. Sri Krishna talks on this subject. Why does he talk about it?

It is a marketing tool used by Sri Krishna.

The first benefit is, once I know the benefit of this knowledge; I will be tempted to follow the Sadhana.

Then the second benefit is; whatever are the natural traits of the Gyani; they should become a sadhana for me, to be deliberately practiced. Whatever is a natural trait of a realized person; I should take them as a sadhana to be deliberately praticed.

So whatever be his natural trait, they should be taken as a list of sadhanas, which I should deliberately and gradually practice. Therefore, we can take this as a list of virtues to be cultivated. And from this we come to know another important thing also; and that is, when a person practices spiritual sadhana and attains liberation; he is going to survive in this world.

So moksha is not a benefit, which is promised after death.  So Krishna makes it very clear; moksha is a state of mind, that you will enjoy while you are living in this world. And therefore our moksha is called jivan mukthi; therefore the description that we get is jivan mukthihi; jivan muktha lakshanani; sthira prajnana lakshanani; para bhaktha lakshanani, is the topic now.

And this is from this thirteen shloka to the 19th shloka and 20th shloka is the conclusion.

Traits of a Gyani:

How do I know if I am a Gyani? You can check for these traits in a Gyani.

First Virtue: Non-hatred (Adveshta)

 He does not hate any being in universe; he has freedom from hatred. See, how many people you hate, and you will know your status. So we should ask do I hate anyone; Not anyone? We have got a very big list; starting from neighbor onwards; there is a very big list; bigger the list; farther from moksha I am;

There is an interesting phenomenon, whenever the shastra says: you should not hate anyone; our first immediate reaction is we try to justify our hatred; so we give a big description of the person; and what all negative traits he has got; what all akramas he is doing; Swamiji that is why I am hating; they expect Swamiji to OK that person deserves hatred. So according to shastras there is no such thing called justified or justifiable hatred, any form of hatred is unjustifiable. And why do we say so; because according to shastra; every person is intrinsically a good divine and pure person. There is no impure person in the world; there is no evil character in the world; every single jeevatma is essentially none other than suddha paramatma; therefore nobody deserves hatred. No person deserves hatred; because every person is a Saint; the worst sinner is also a saint.

A person’s actions maybe corrupt, although he is pure. Can we hate actions of a person? Shankaracharya says, even wrong action or behavior of a person does not deserve hatred. Hatred is not a remedy for misbehavior.

No action or character can be enhanced by hatred. Neither a person nor his behavior deserves hatred. Hatred is an utterly useless tendency.

Further, hatred damages the mind of the hater. It corrodes the mind.

Shastra’s say every person deserves love; misbehavior deserves an appropriate response.

What is the response? Hatred is not the right response. Shastra’s suggest using Sama (education), Dana, Bheda and Danda. Even application of Danda should be performed with love alone and not hatred.

Is it possible to give Danda with love? Shastra’s say even punishment can be given with love. Citing an example: a mother beating her child, even here, the mother can’t hate her child. So misbehavior requires appropriate action with love. Therefore, even Sri Krishna may choose to destroy kamsa; and He may ask Arjuna to destroy Duryodhana. Therefore whatever appropriate action is to be taken we should take; but the advice is, it should not be motivated by hatred; but it must be motivated by love and to change or correct the person. Freedom from hatred is the first trait of a Gyani.

Take away:

Bhakti Yoga is not a particular Sadhana; rather it is a range of sadhanas that everyone has to go through.

On hatred:

First virtue of a saint is Non-hatred (Adveshta)

Hatred is not a remedy for misbehavior.

Neither a person nor his behavior deserves hatred. Hatred is an utterly useless tendency.

Shastras say every person deserves love; misbehavior deserves an appropriate response.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy