Baghawat Geeta, Class 126: Chapter 9, Verses 27 to 30


Shloka # 27:

यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत्
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम्।।9.27।।

Whatever you do, eat, sacrifice, offer as gift, perform as austerity, O Arjuna! do all this as a dedication to Me.

Continuing his talk on chapter 9, Swamiji said, from shloka # 21 to # 29 Sri Krishna is dealing with topic of Sakama and Nishkama bhakti. He is not against Sakama Bhakti. It is not a papa karma or nishedha karma. It does not bring a person down spiritually. It only happens to be an obstacle to spiritual progress. Thus Karma itself is divided into three types:

  1. Satvika Karma: that takes one up spiritually.
  2. Tamasic karma: That takes one down spiritually.
  3. Rajasic karma: It does not take one up or down spiritually. It will keep him in spiritual stagnation. It gives only material benefits but that becomes an obstacle to spiritual growth. Sakama Karma falls under Rajasic Karma.

Swamiji says, people ask him, “ I am doing puja and practice vows for obtaining certain things in life.”

Sri Krishna does not say that one should drop all of them; all of a sudden. The aim is a very gradual transformation; the negative Nishidha karma should be dropped straight away; papa karmas should be dropped straight away; but kamya karma should be gradually reduced.

A Grihastha has a lot of obstacles in life and he will have a tendency to approach God for favors. He will have to gradually change to Nishkama karma. Nishkama karma is freedom from materialistic desires; however, even here spiritual desires do exist. Seeking help for spiritual growth is Nishkama. The motive behind the asking is important here. Even asking for wealth can be spiritual. Asking for money for pancha maha yagna is nishkama. Thus, our motives decide if the desire is Sakama or Nishkama.

In Sakama bhakti there are strict rules of worship that have to be followed else results may not be favorable.

So, when two people who like each other, meet; there is no formality. Only when there is distance, you need to follow protocol. So for a mumukshu bhaktha, the bhakthi for the Lord is of a different dimension. Here rules are secondary. As Sri Krishna says, patram pushpam phalam toyam, give whatever you like. In this regard, in Mahabharata, they tell the story of how Vidura removed the banana and gave the banana peel to the Lord.

Shankaracharya tells in shivanandalahari, how Kannappa, the greatest devotee, used the chappal to mark the eye. He used the mouth as Abhisheka patram and straightway spat the water; his chewed food he gave to god as offering. He is considered one of the greatest bhakta’s of all times.

And not only is nishkama bhakthi expressed in the form of specific puja; nishkama bhakthi is expressed in the form of a very different lifestyle itself; it is a not a mere patram pushpam phalam samarpanam; nishkama bhakthi transforms the very way of life. How does it transform; every action becomes an offering at feet of Lord. Feet of lord here means the entire creation, which consists of the laws of creation. There karmas become karma phalams or Ishwara prasadam.

For a nishkama bhaktha; there cannot be any concern; there cannot be any anxiety, anxiety comes when I am particular about only a type of future result; any other type of future result, I will not accept. So when there is a resistance with regard to a particular outcome in future, there is concern, anxiety; for a nishkama bhaktha; whatever comes, is welcome. And therefore, he considers everything he does as Ishwara Arapanam (as a Karta) and everything he receives as Ishwara prasadam (as a Bhokta). This is nishkama bhakti.

This should remind us of a topic we studied in chapters 2 and 3, namely Karma Yoga. Sri Krishna said Karma Yoga is Ishwara arpana bhavana and Ishwara prasada bhavana. So, Karma Yoga is identical to Nishkama bhakti. They are synonymous.

Then why these two different names; from the stand point of action, it is called karma yoga; and from the standpoint of the attitude, it is called nishkama bhakthi;

Therefore for nishkama bhakthi; a temple is not required; shrine is not required; you can practice it anywhere; this thought is important. Up to this we saw in the last class.

Shloka # 28:

शुभाशुभफलैरेवं मोक्ष्यसे कर्मबन्धनैः
संन्यासयोगयुक्तात्मा विमुक्तो मामुपैष्यसि।।9.28।।

Thus will you be released from the bonds of works with their fruits, good or evil. Liberated, with the Self integrated by the Yoga of renunciation, you will come to Me.

What is the result of Nishkama bhakti?

Every karma or puja can give two types of punyam. First is materialistic punyam; material well-being can include money, people, house and even going to swarga. Second is spiritual punyam where you are born in a spiritual family. A rich country may have material benefits, but in a poor country you may obtain a spiritual culture. One may get opportunity to study the shastras. One may get a Guru.

Thus we have to choose the result we want from puja. A Nishkama bhakta converts all his bhakti to spiritual punyam. He transcends both punyam and papam. Why is there no papam; because in nishkama bhakti there is no papam. How can one transcend punyam? Sri Krishna says both papam and punyam are bonds. Moksham is going beyond papam and punyam. Such a nishkama bhakta is given a title by Sri Krishna. He calls him, Sanyasa Yoga Yukta Atma. What does it mean?

Sanyasa is renunciation. How so? He is able to renounce materialistic desires and use puja for spiritual growth. So, kama tyaga makes him a renunciate. If we drop anxiety for material things, you have renunciation. He is able to drop obsession with money.

Insecurity is a problem of the mind and not about the possessions you have. A man with minimum of things can be very secure while another with many things may be totally insecure.

Why Yoga? Yoga here means action. He is not associated with materialistic desires. He is interested in inner growth. Such a Yogi will be liberated. How so? Does it mean he does not require Gyana Yoga?

Karma yogi gets his moksha only through gyana yoga. Through karma yoga he gets purity of mind, then obtains a Guru and then Gyanam. He then merges with Me. What is merger?

Bhagawan is never away from me. Merger is dropping the misconception that Lord is away from me. This is Ishwara Aikyam.  And how do you drop any notion or misconception; by knowledge; So the moment I get knowledge, the wrong thought that God is away from me goes away; I come to know that God is close; one can even say, God is closest; or even go further and say, that I am God; Aham brahmasmi; this distance, notional distance, also goes away; so he will attain Me. 

Shloka # 29:

समोऽहं सर्वभूतेषु मे द्वेष्योऽस्ति प्रियः
ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या मयि ते तेषु चाप्यहम्।।9.29।।

Towards all beings I am the same; I hate none, nor hold any dear. Those who worship Me with devotion live in Me and I in them.

In previous shloka Sri Krishna said nishkama bhakta will merge in Me. This statement implies sakama bahkta will not merge into Me; hearing this a doubt may come up, if God is partial?

A bhakta used to ask, “ I want to merge with you”. He would not go away from the temple. The pujari could not close the temple. He tried a tactic. He stood behind the God’s idol, hidden, and said, “Oh dear Bhaktha; I am satisfied with your bhakthi; so I am going to fulfill your wish; when you come tomorrow I will take you unto me; you will not return back home”; next day, there was no sight of the bhaktha anywhere around.

Sri Krishna says, “I am not the one who decides whether you get moksha or not; the real problem is that most people don’t want moksha.”

Swamiji said, during a sadhana camp he announced he was willing to give moksha to anyone who stayed in the ashram. Everybody gave some excuse or other not to stay in ashram. Not one person came forward. Sri Krishna says, you are just not interested; I am the same with every being; I am not partial to anyone.

Shankaracharya says in Soundarya lahiri that the moonlight falls equally on a beautiful house as well as a dirty pond. Grace of god is equal to all. The difference is how much we can tap into it; one’s efforts decide how much we can tap into it.

Thus, when you are building a house; you are building the walls; and within the walls space is available. primarily you are interested in the inside space; primarily you are interested in the living room; you want the space only; but you need not work for the enclosed space; you have to work only for building the wall; After building the wall, you need not invite space separately, as even as wall is built, enclosed space is available; similarly Ishvara kripa need not be separately invited; when you put forth your effort, the grace is automatically included in that.

Sri Krishna says, the more the effort the more Kripa you get. I don’t hate anyone. I don’t have favorites.

If this is so, why do only a few obtain liberation?

Sri Krishna says it is due to choice of the bhaktas. Moksha is determined by your will and choice. So those Viveki’s who seek Me as goal, (sadhana sampanna adhikari), one whose goal is God through nishkama bhakti, they are already existing in Me and I in them. We are one and same; we are not separate. So moksha is attained through your choice.

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.

With previous shloka comparison and contrast of sakama nishkama bhakti is completed. It started from shloka # 20 and ended with shloka # 29. Now in first portion of shlokas 30 to 34 Sri Krishna is talking about the glory of Bhakti. Bhakti is a sadhana that can be started at any stage in life. Gyana Yoga needs a lot of preparatory disciplines. Bhakti does not require any preparation.

Bhakti’s first stage is arthabhakti, here, when you are afraid, you pray to God. It simply works. Through his prayer Bhakta develops the confidence that he can handle the situation, whatever it is. Even a materialistic bhakti can start it. Depending on one’s spiritual evolution, anyone can start bhakti.

In Chapter 12 Sri Krishna divides bhakti into five levels. One can start from highest level, if not go to next and so on down. Bhakti can be started by anyone. If his intellect is not sharp he can start with Eka Rupa Bhakti and then move to higher levels such as Aneka rupa bhakti and Arupa Bhakti.

Another important point is every human being suffers guilt from feeling, “ I have done a lot of papams”. Even a thief knows that stealing is wrong. That is why he does it in stealth. Therefore conscience is common sense based right-wrong norm.  And this conscience, which is a common sense based norm, will always judge my action; our conscience is judging constantly and forming self-opinion; thus, most of the time, we are aware of only our mistakes that we have committed; and this produces lot of guilt.  That is why in every religion there is confession. Guilt can be a problem. He may feel I can’t take to spiritual path due to guilt.

And even in spiritual path, guilt can be a problem; I can always conclude, I cannot follow the spiritual path, and even if I follow I will not succeed. That is why in the 6th chapter it is said that we require four kripas; they are atma kripa; grace of oneself; Ishvara kripa is required; guru kripa is required; Shastra kripa is required; And what is atma kripa; it is a guilt free mind; which is confidence; Even if I have done mistake, I can correct and grow spiritually; because every saint has a past; and every sinner has a future. So why should I feel bad; and this mind has got atma kripa. So your grace is a mind, which is confident; and therefore Sri Krishna wants to pump confidence into every student. Do not say that you cannot do it; please say you can; therefore he says, even the worst sinner can come to bhakthi with confidence;

Even he need not be worried if he comes to Me, without any wavering in the mind; with total surrender, if that person comes, the day he has decided to change, he is as good as a saint.

Dayananda swamiji beautifully says: nobody can change another person. I can never change you. But if you have decided to change, nobody can stop it; it will happen; I can assist you, if you have decided to change; this is the principle. And therefore Sri Krishna says a person who has decided he is as good as a saint. Even though he has only decided; the very decision is a turning point in his life; as somebody nicely said; it is not where you stand that matters; it is in which direction you are standing; that matters. Are you walking towards Me or walking away from Me. Therefore direction is more important; not the actual location; So never compare with others; be proud that you are in the right direction;

The direction is more important. He has re-oriented his life. So have confidence and start bhakti.

Take away:

When I am particular about only a type of future result; and don’t accept any other future result, it shows there is resistance to anything other than a particular outcome in future, resulting in stress and anxiety. However, a nishkama bhaktha welcomes and accepts whatever comes in the future as such he is free from all stress and anxiety.

When we drop our anxiety for possession for material things, we have renunciation.

Insecurity is a problem of the mind and not about the possessions you have.

Even the worst sinner if he comes to Me, without any wavering in the mind; with total surrender, if that person comes, the day he has decided to change, he is as good as a saint.

With Best Wishes,


Ram Ramaswamy