Bhagawad Geeta Class 161: Chapter 12, Verses 14 and 15


Shloka # 14:

12.14 He who is ever content, who is a yogi, who has self-control, who has firm conviction, who has dedicated his mind and intellect to Me-he who is such a devotee of Mine is dear to Me.

Continuing his teachings, Swamiji said, in second part of Chapter # 12, beginning with shloka # 12, Sri Krishna is talking of characteristics of the highest Bhakta. He has gone through all five levels of Bhakti Yoga and as such he will necessarily be a Gyani; such a Gyani is also called a Sthita Pragya or a Parabhakta. So, what are the characteristics of such a Parabhakta?

Shloka # 14 tells us, that this bhakta, who is a Gyani, has understood that I am not different from the purna Ishvaraha; if the Lord is purnaha, the infinite one, that purna Ishvara cannot be away from me; because the purna Ishvara, without me will become apurnah; because the infinite should include everything. And therefore, the ultimate knowledge is that Purna Ishvara is not away from me; purna Ishvaraha is not different from me. In short, I am purna Ishvaraha. Purnaha means satyam anandam anantham. And when I discover the fact that I am purnaha, I do not lack in life; I do not miss anything in life; I never suffer from the problem of self-inadequacy. I can sing the well-known Tamil Song, kurai ondrum illai. It is not a mere verbal expression; but I can tell from my own inner heart; I do not lack anything in life; I do not miss anything in life.

And as long as I lack something or miss something, I cannot keep quiet and I will become restless. And therefore there is a constant struggle to make myself complete. And this struggle will continue eternally, until I discover that I do not lack anything; and in the case of the Gyani, he has discovered the fact I do not miss anything. This is the idea conveyed here in the word santushtaha; in Sanskrit it is samyak santushtaha. I do not miss anything in life.

Now, consider for a moment, if God suddenly appears in life in front of me and asks, “what do you miss in life; so that I can give that and you can die peacefully”; at that moment, in our mind, hundreds of things come up; I do not have a son; I do not have a daughter; I do not have a grand child; I do not have this; And then comes I do not have a good body; then I do not have a good hair; I do not have a good nose; I do not have hair at all; later; so many things are lacking; such as, physical lack, emotional lack; intellectual lack.

Lacking of things appears in three fold forms. As Sharirika apurnatvam; which means I am not satisfied physically in terms of height, weight, complexion etc.

Then there is emotional lack; my son does not talk to me everyday from Washington DC; nobody talks to me; nobody asks me How are you; I have got cold for the last three days; and I want people to enquire.

And then comes intellectual lack.

There are many basic questions for which I do not have answers; the fundamental question being why at all did Bhagavan create this world?

So, thus santushaha means I do not lack anything physically, emotionally and intellectually. I am ever free from all lack or want; and that does not mean such a person should not be active in the world. Such a contended Gyani can also be active, but the activity is not born out of incompleteness. When the activity is born out of incompleteness; it is called a struggle; life becomes a drag; life becomes a burden; life becomes a struggle. What is the definition of struggle? It is any activity that you perform that is backed by a sense of incompleteness; whereas in the case of a Gyani; as Sri Krishna says in the third chapter, it is not as if he sits in a cave, he is also active just like other people. He is involved in activities; perhaps he is busier more so than a samsari; but the difference is the activities do not come from a wanting mind; an incomplete mind.

Therefore his activities are not at all a struggle; such activities are called the leela; Gyani’s activities are called leela; Agyani’s activities are called struggle; And therefore satatam santushtaha.

And yogi, I told you in the last class, is a Gyani, the one who has accomplished the knowledge, which is the ultimate yoga. Yoga, literally means, that which combines two things, the jivatma, the seeker, and paramatma, the sought, these two are brought together by yoga. Thus, Karma yoga, Upasana yoga; all of them help, but it is Gyana Yoga that brings them together as it reveals that I and God are always one.

Yatatma: Body, mind, sense organs are called Atma here. They are well controlled. He is one who controls the body, rather than being controlled by the body. He has self-discipline.

And for this self-discipline alone, we have got a special science called the ashtanga yoga of Patanjali; it is a beautifully defined system; which takes care of our Character, through yama and niyama; I have talked about this in my introduction to the sixth chapter; yama, niyama takes care of my character integration; asana takes care of my physical integration; pranayama takes care of my energy integration; prathyahara takes care of my sense organ’s integration; dharana dhyana samadhi takes care of my mental integration. Thus, discipline and integration at all the levels, is accomplished by ashtanga yoga; and through that; this person has become yatatma; an integrated person.

This self-integration is required before coming to Vedanta and it is also known as Sadhana Chatushtaya Sampathi.

Sravanam requires integration (concentration); nidhidhyasanam also requires integration. A man or woman, need a lot of concentration to be able to perform things.  And therefore self-discipline is required life long; and a man or woman without self-discipline cannot accomplish anything. Even reading a simple article in a magazine is difficult for some people, as they do not have concentration. Therefore, this person is yatatma, before as well as, later.

Dridhanischaya means Sthira Pragyaha, or one with knowledge arising out of conviction. Hence, in Vedanta, one listens to teaching without any questions; no questions are to be asked at the Sravanam stage. As you listen, more and more, all doubts are resolved. Once you complete listening you start Mananam; here you eliminate doubts. It clears intellectual doubts. I ask questions and clear the doubt until I am convinced. This gives rise to conviction. Without Vedantic knowledge and a firm conviction in it, there will be a distance between God and Bhakta.

Next quality of Para bhakti is Mayyarpitamanobudhi; one whose mind is fixed in Me.

I have told before; our appreciation of the Lord takes place at three levels; initially God is eka rupa Ishvara as a person who is the creator of the world; and therefore I call him Ishta devatha Ishvaraha. Then, there is further elevation; I learn to look upon God as not only the creator; but as the very cause, which has manifested in the form of universe and therefore as Vishva Rupa Ishvaraha which is the next level; and the final level is the Arupa Ishvaraha. I also said, the Lord does not become the world; rather the Lord appears as the world.

An important thing to note here is that higher levels of Bhakti don’t displace or destroy lower levels of Bhakti. A Gyani has knowledge of Arupa Ishwara but he still worships God with form. Thus, advaitam cannot destroy dvaitam. One Acharya said, more than others, an Advaitin can enjoy enhanced Dvaita Bhakti.

An advaitain never loses his Ishta devatha bhakthi and therefore he has got now two channels; or even three channels; eka rupa channel; aneka rupa channel;and arupa channel. So when he is in a temple or in front of the deity; he enjoys ekarupa channel; and when he travels around in Badrinath, Kedarnath, Himalayas, Ganges, and enjoys the wonderful flowers; he sees in nature the Vishvarupa Ishvaraha; and then he closes his eyes and enjoys aham brahmasmi; the Arupa Ishvara.

So, when he has emotional needs his personal God is ideal; when there is emotional need; personal relationship is always ideal, because when we have emotional problems one always would like to pour out in front of someone; this was the advantage of joint family where there was somebody to whom you could go to. Nowadays without a joint family anymore, one has no place to go and this causes problems.

 So personal relationship; Psychological relationship is very important and the Ishta devatha provides this back up relationship; thus, you can always cry in front of Rama; Thyagaraja did; Mira did; and all bhakthas did; and advaitins can also do that. Even Shankaracharya does that in Shivananda lahari; he is pouring out as an individual person; and that is called the surrender of the mind at the feet of the Lord, Ishta Devata Bhakti.

But there are times when our emotional personality lies low; but it is the intellectual personality that is dominant and therefore it begins to ask rational questions about God. Then personal God often does not satisfy when we have questions as to why God created world with lot of deficiencies; So when intellect is dominant; then we have to know the real nature of God; God as the absolute reality; which does not have any form; but which is the substratum of all the forms. Therefore when the intellect is dominant; we have got nirgunam brahma; and when the mind; emotional personality is dominant; we have got saguna Ishvara; Thus, we keep shifting between saguna and nirguna; says Shankaracharya.

And therefore Sri Krishna says mayyarpitamanobuddhi; the one whose emotional personality and the one whose rational-intellect, questioning-intellect; both of them are at the feet of the Lord.

Moreover, Ishta devatha bhakthi; devotion towards personal God is always developed through puranas alone; for that we have sravanam, kirthanam; smaranam; pada sevanam; archanam, vandanam, dasyam; sakyam atma nivedanam. Gods are presented as avathara’s and their leela’s are described and the more you read, that particular aspect of the Lord becomes more and more solid and concrete for you. As I have often said for Thyagaraja, the idol was not a piece of inert matter; and that is why he was shattered when he lost it;

Such a devotee who has the appreciation of eka rupa and aneka rupa and arupa Ishvaraha, that person is dearest to me. In fact, dearest is not the word, he is Me.

So Saguna and Nirguna Devatas are both important.

Shloka # 15:

12.14 He who is ever content, who is a yogi, who has self-control, who has firm conviction, who has dedicated his mind and intellect to Me-he who is such a devotee of Mine is dear to Me.

There are two types of people.

  1. Ones with rock like heart. Whatever experience he obtains, he is not affected by them. It is great to have such a heart.

During upanayanam ceremony the man stands on a rock and the priest blesses him with a strong heart. A girl also goes through similar ceremony during her wedding so that she has a rock like heart; as she has to adapt to a new family and new people; such a person is not hurt easily; but unfortunately, they keep hurting sensitive persons.

  • Tender hearted person: is very sensitive, very considerate, has empathy. They are very careful that they don’t hurt others. However, since I am sensitive, I get hurt easily. I don’t hurt others but I hurt all the time.

Who is a Gyani? He is like a flower, while handling others, as a Karta; but he is like a rock when he receives experiences, as a Bhokta.  Karta means I contribute to the world; so when I work in the world; I am sensitive; but at the same time, the sensitivity must be supported by wisdom and maturity.

More sensitive you are; you are aware of insensitivities of others as well. I should learn to accommodate insensitivity of others. Sensitivity should be supported by maturity. Maturity means understanding that different people have different levels of maturity and sensitivity.

Gyani does not disturb the world knowingly, as he is a considerate person. He does not do himsa to others. 

Receiving experiences includes being insulted etc; his heart is rocklike; he is not hurt.

“ A Gyani’s heart is harder than a Diamond in receiving experiences; he is more tender than a flower when he is handling experiences.”

He does not hurt; he is not hurt. Therefore He does not have guilt in life. He is free from hurt and guilt, two mind disturbing emotions.

Gyani is a liberated person. He is liberated from what? Sri Krishna says, he is not liberated from external things; rather, he has inner freedom from four things:

  1. Harshaha: Over-excitement or elation. In over-excitement I lose my discriminatory power. Our great wealth is our discriminatory power and emotion should not rob us of this power. The danger is I forget that this over-excitement is temporary; I think it will be permanently be with me, a wrong expectation.

Harshaha’s impact physically is not good as well. Some even get heart attack during great happiness.

2. Amarsha: Intolerance; impatience; restlessness; perfectionist.

The more dynamic a person is the more impatient he is. He can’t stand slow people. A perfectionist is rare. Generally, they get children who are opposite of their character. Generally, as an Amarsha, I am irritable.

Inner leisure is freedom from amarsha.

3. Bhayam: Fear, insecurity.

Fear is innate in everyone. Hence children cling to their mother. Physically we are never hundred percent secure. Weather, time, body etc are all threats to our security. Even medicine can’t make a physical body immortal.

Take away:

A Gyani is free from:


Amarshaha: Intolerance

Bhayam: Fear and insecurity.

A Gyani is free from hurt and guilt, two mind disturbing emotions.

Mananam is process of removing doubts by asking questions.

Our life is full of struggle. What is the definition of struggle? It is any activity that you perform that is backed by a sense of incompleteness. Gyani does not struggle.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy