The Hindu Tradition - The Bhagavad-Gita

Chapter 12: Path of Devotion


Arjuna said: Those ever-steadfast devotees (or Bhaktas) who thus worship You (as the manifest or personal God), and those who worship the eternal unmanifest (the formless or impersonal) Brahman (by developing Jnana), which of these has the best knowledge of yoga? (12.01) 

The Supreme Lord said: Those ever steadfast devotees who worship with supreme faith by fixing their mind on Me as personal God, I consider them to be the best yogis. (See also 6.47) (12.02)

But those who worship the imperishable, the undefinable, the unmanifest, the omnipresent, the unthinkable, the unchanging, the immovable, and the eternal Brahman; (12.03)

Restraining all the senses, even minded under all circumstances, engaged in the welfare of all creatures, they also attain Me. (12.04)

Self-realization is more difficult for those who fix their mind on the formless Brahman, because the comprehension of the unmanifest Brahman by the average embodied human being is very difficult. (12.05)

But, to those who worship Me as the personal God, renouncing all actions to Me; setting Me as their supreme goal, and meditating on Me with single minded devotion; (12.06)

I swiftly become their savior, from the world that is the ocean of death and transmigration, whose thoughts are set on Me, O Arjuna. (12.07)

Therefore, focus your mind on Me alone and let your intellect dwell upon Me through meditation and contemplation. Thereafter you shall certainly come to Me. (12.08)

If you are unable to meditate (or focus your mind) steadily on Me, then seek to reach Me, O Arjuna, by practice of (any other) spiritual discipline (or Sadhana of your choice). (12.09)

If you are unable even to do any Sadhana, then be intent on performing your duty for Me. You shall attain perfection just by working for Me (as an instrument, just to serve and please Me, without selfish motives). (See also 9.27, 18.46) (12.10)

If you are unable to work for Me then just surrender unto My will with subdued mind, and renounce (the attachment to, and the anxiety for) the fruits of all work (by learning to accept all results, as God-given, with equanimity). (12.11)

Knowledge is better than mere ritualistic practice, meditation is better than mere knowledge, renunciation of the fruit of work is better than meditation, peace immediately follows the renunciation of (the attachment to) the fruit of work. (See more on renunciation in Chapter 18) (12.12)

One who does not hate any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, free from (the notion of) "I" and "my", even-minded in pain and pleasure, forgiving; and (12.13)

The yogi who is ever content, who has subdued the mind, whose resolve is firm, whose mind and intellect are engaged in dwelling upon Me; such a devotee is dear to Me. (12.14)

The one by whom others are not agitated, and who is not agitated by others; who is free from joy, envy, fear, and anxiety; is also dear to Me. (12.15)

One who is free from desires; who is pure, wise, impartial, and free from anxiety; who has renounced (the doership in) all undertakings; and who is devoted to Me, is dear to Me. (12.16)

One who neither rejoices nor grieves, neither likes nor dislikes, who has renounced both the good and the evil, and who is full of devotion, such a person is dear to Me. (12.17)

The one who remains the same towards friend or foe, in honor or disgrace, in heat or cold, in pleasure or pain; who is free from attachment; and (12.18)

The one who is indifferent or silent in censure or praise, content with anything, unattached to a place (country, or house), equanimous, and full of devotion; that person is dear to Me. (12.19)

But those devotees who have faith and sincerely try to develop the above mentioned immortal virtues, and set Me as their supreme goal; are very dear to Me. (12.20) 


Chapter 12
(Bhakti yoga--the path of the Devotee)

[This has been said (by B.P. Wadia) to be the chapter of prime importance in chelaship or discipleship--where Arjuna
the warrior, who symbolizes the human Higher Ego, is being instructed by Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu or the
Love-wisdom (form-preserving) aspect of the Solar Logos, who symbolizes the human Monad or Divine spark, as to
the best devotional path to God-consciousness or true SELF-Realization.]



1. Arjuna said:

Of those who are thus ever integrated and serve You with loyal devotion, and those who [revere] the Imperishable manifest, which are the most experienced [or most perfect] in spiritual exercise.

2. The Blessed Lord said:

Those I deem to be most integrated who fix their thoughts on Me and serve Me, ever integrated [in themselves], filled with the highest faith.
3. But those who revere the indeterminate Imperishable Unmanifest [Parabrahman, Godhead], unthinkable though coursing everywhere, sublime, aloof, unmoving, firm,
4. Who hold in check the complex of the senses, in all things equal-minded, taking pleasure in the weal [or welfare] of all contingent [manifest or conditioned] beings, these too attain to me [to My Consciousness].
5. [But] greater is the toil of those whose thinking clings to the Unmanifest; for difficult [indeed] it is for embodied men to reach-and-tread the unmanifested way.



6. But those who cast off [or dedicate] all their works on [or to] Me, solely intent on Me, and meditate on me in spiritual exercise, leaving no room for others, [and so really] do Me honor,
7. These will I lift up on high out of the ocean of recurring death, and that right soon, for their thoughts are fixed on Me.
8. On me alone let your mind dwell, stir up your soul to enter Me; thenceforth in very truth in Me you will find your home.
9. But if you are unable in all steadfastness to concentrate your thoughts on Me, then seek to win Me by effort unremitting.
10. And if for such effort you lack the strength, then work-and-act for Me, make this your goal; for even if you work only for my sake, you will receive the prize.
11. And then again if even this exceeds your powers, gird up your loins, renounce the fruit of all your works with [personal] self restrained.
12. For better is wisdom than [mere] effort, better than wisdom meditation; and [better] than meditation to renounce the fruits of works: renunciation leads straightway to peace.



13. Let a man feel hatred for no contingent being, let him be friendly, compassionate; let him be done with thoughts of 'I' and 'mine', the same in pleasure as in pain [viragya], long suffering.
14. Content and ever integrated, his [personal] self restrained, his purpose firm, let his mind be steeped in Me, let him worship Me with love: then will I love him [in return].
15. That man I love from whom the people do not shrink and who does not shrink from them, who is free from exaltation, fear, impatience, and excitement.
16. I love the man who has no expectation, is pure and skilled, indifferent, who has no worries and gives up all [selfish] enterprise, loyal-and-devoted to me.
17. I love the man who hates not nor exults, who mourns not nor desires, who puts away both pleasant and unpleasant things, who is loyal-devoted-and-devout.
18-19. I love the man who is the same to friend and foe, [the same] whether he be respected or despised, the same in heat and cold, in pleasure as in pain, who has put away attachment and remains unmoved by praise or blame, who is taciturn, contented with whatever comes his way, having no home, of steady mind, [but] loyal-devoted-and-devout.
20. But as for those who reverence these deathless [words] of righteousness which I have just now spoken, putting their faith [in them], making Me their goal, my loving-devotees,--these do I love exceedingly.