Bhagwat Geeta, Class 161 – Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 15


In the second part of the 12th Chapter, Lord Krishna talks about the characteristics of highest bhakta, the one who has completed all five levels of bhakti yoga or who is a jñāni. What are the characteristics of such a bhakta?  That is the topic for now.

This bhakta has understood that he is not different from poorna eeswara.  When I understand that I am purnam, I do not miss anything in life.  In this context, purnam is sathyam, Jñānam and anandam.  I don’t miss anything.   As long as I miss something, there will be a struggle to make me complete.   Dissatisfaction can be three:

  • Physical dissatisfaction.  Not being satisfied with physical appearance.
  • Emotional dissatisfaction.
  • Intellectual dissatisfaction.  There are many basic questions for which I don’t have answers.

In the case of jñāni, he is involved in the activities, but the activities do not come from an incomplete mind and therefore they are not struggle.  Jñānam is in the primary purpose and karma and upasana are in the secondary purposes.

Yoga is the means that brings jivatma and paramatma together.  The yoga that really brings jivatma and paramatma together is the knowledge that they were never away from each other.

Atma here is the body mind sense organ complex or sthūla, sukshma kāraņa śarīram that has been managed well.  He knows how to use and not enslaved by them and has self-discipline.  For this self-discipline, we have ashtanga yoga. 

  • Yama and niyama take care of my moral integration. 
  • Asana takes care of  physical integration.
  • Prana takes care of  energy integration.
  • Prathyagara takes care of sense organ integration.
  • Dharana, dhyānam and samadhi takes care of mental integration.

This self-integration is required before coming to vedanta.  During the study of vedanta, we require this integration for reception.  A man or woman without self-discipline will not be able to accomplish anything in life.  Because of this self-discipline alone a jñāni was able to achieve self-knowledge with conviction.

Vedanta requires two processes:

  • Sravanam:  Listen to vedanta systematically, for a length of time, without asking questions or raising doubts; keep doubts and questions aside.  Many questions and doubts will be answered when you continue to listen and complete comprehension.
  • Mananam:  You remove the doubts at intellectual level.  Raise questions and doubts until they are removed.  The greatest bhaktas must have the greatest vedantic knowledge.  Without this knowledge, there will be distance between atma and paramatma.

The greatest bhakta will have complete knowledge of vedanta. 

Next characteristic of para-bhakta

God is appreciated in three levels. 

  • Eka rūpa eeswara
  • Viśvarũpa eeswara
  • Aroopa eeswara

The important point to note here is that the higher levels of bhakti do not displace lower levels of bhakti.  A jñāni who appreciates formless god, can also appreciate a ishta devata.  When there is emotional need, personal relationship is important.  Ishta devata fulfils this need.  Advaida bhakti cannot destroy dvaida bhakti. 

At times, our intellect is dominant, God with absolute reality, nirgunam brahman fulfil the intellectual need.  At emotional level ishta devata will be useful and at intellectual level, nirguna brahman or Aroopa eeswara will be useful.  Use both of them.  Ishta devata bhakti is developed through puranic literature. 

Verse 15

He by whom the world is not disturbed, who is not disturbed by the world, and who is free from elation, envy, fear and anxiety is dear to Me.

There are two types of people:

  1. One who has rock like heart, nothing affects him.  These people have the advantage of not being hurt by other or any situation.  But they may keep hurting others.  They are not hurt, but they keep hurting others. 
  2. One who are extremely sensitive people who can sense other’s pain.  They are always careful with regard to handling others.  Since they are too sensitive, they get very easily hurt by others. 

Jñāni is like a flower when he handles others and like a rock when he receives experience from the world.  As a kartha he is a like a flower and a boktha he is like a rock.  Jñāni is so sensitive to others feeling, he does not hurt others.  Even though he is so tender like a flower, when it comes to receiving criticism, his heart becomes like a rock, and he does not get disturbed.  Many people in the world are the other way around.  When they handle others, they are like rock, when they receive experience, they are like a flower.

Since a jñāni doesn’t hurt, he doesn’t have any guilt either. Jñāni is free from both guilt and hurt and he is relived and liberated.  Jñāni has internal freedom from four:

  1. Harsha:  Elation or over excitement.  Over excitement is that type of happiness where we lose our discriminative power.  When I lose the discriminative power, I lose the fact that the greatest excitement is also temporary.  This is wrong expectation because of lack of discrimination.
  2. Amarsha:  Intolerance, impatience.  The more dynamic and perfect a person is, the more disturbed that person is. 
  3. Bhayam:   Insecurity, which is innate in everyone. 
  4. Udhvitha: Mental disturbances and sorrow.