Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 211

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

Worship of the Personal Lord is better than meditation of the Absolute

Devotion and Contemplation
arjuna uvaca
1. evam satatayukta ye
bhaktas tvam paryupasate ye
ca 'py aksaram avyaktarn
tesam ke yogavittamah
Arjuna said :
(1.) Those devotees who, thus ever earnest, worship Thee and those again (who worship) the Imperishable and the Unmanifested, which of these have the greater knowledge of yoga?
There are those who seek oneness with the Absolute, one and impersonal and unrelated to the universe, and others who seek unity with the Personal God manifested in the world of men and nature. Which of these have the greater yoga knowledge? Are we to turn our back on all manifestations and strain after the Unchanging Unmanifest or are we to be devoted to the Manifested Form and work in Its service? Is it Absolute or the Personal God, Brahman or I vara that we should worship ?

sribhagavan uvaca
2. mayy dves`ya mano ye
mam nityayukta upasate
sraddhaya parayo ' petas
te me yuklatama matah
The Blessed Lord said:
(2) Those who fixing their minds on Me worship Me, ever earnest and possessed of supreme faith them do I consider most perfect in yoga The teacher answers decisively that those, who worship God in His manifested form, have greater yoga knowledge.
Upasana is worship.[1]

3. ye tv aksaram anirdegyam
avyaktam paryupasate
sarvatragam acintyam ca
kutastham acalam dhruvam
(3) But those who worship the Imperishable, the Undefinable, the Unmanifested, the Omnipresent, the Unthinkable, the Unchanging and the Immobile, the Constant.

4. sammyamye 'ndrtiyagramam
sarvatra sarnabuddhayah
te praanuvanti mam eva
sarvabhutahite ratah
(4) By restraining all the senses, being even-minded in all conditions, rejoicing in the welfare of all creatures, they come to Me indeed (just like the others)
samyamya: restraining. We are asked to restrain the senses and not to reject them.
sarvabhutahite ratah. rejoicing in the welfare of all creatures. Even those who realize their oneness with the Universal Self, so long as they wear a body, work for the welfare of the world. See V, 25, where the liberated are said to rejoice in the welfare of all creatures. Here service of humanity is declared to be an essential part of the discipline. M.B has the following prayer : "0 who would tell me of the sacred way by which I might enter into all the suffering hearts and take all their suffering on myself for now and for ever."
Cp. also Tukaram :
That man is true
Who taketh to his bosom the afflicted :
In such a man
Dwelleth, augustly present,
God Himself ;
The heart of such a man is filled abrim With pity, gentleness and love ;
He taketh the forsaken for his own. "[2]

5. kleso 'dhikataras team
avyakta hi gatir duhkham
dehavadbhir avapyate
(5) The difficulty of those whose thoughts are set on the Unmanifested is greater, for the goal of the Unmanifested is hard to reach by the embodied beings. Search for the Transcendent Godhead is more difficult than worship of the Living Supreme God, the soul of all things and persons. In the A vadhutagitd, Dattatreya asks : "How can I bow to Him who is formless, undifferentiated, blissful and indestructible, who has through Himself and by Himself and in Him-self filled up everything ? "[3] The Immutable does not offer an easy hold to the mind and the path is more arduous. We reach the same goal more easily and naturally by the path of devotion to the Personal God, by turning godward all our energies, know-ledge, will and feeling. Cp. "With minds rapt in meditation, if mystics see the unqualified actionless light, let them see. As for myself, my only yearning is that there may appear before ray gladdened eyes that bluish someone who keeps romping on the shores of the yamuna. "[4]


References and Context

  1. Upasana is continuous meditation. S. says: upasanarn nama yatha Rastrar upasyasya arthasya visayikaranena saanipyam upagamya tailadharavat samanapratyayapravahena dirghakalam yad asanam, tad upasanam acaksate.
  2. M. K. Gandhi : Songs from Prison (1934), p 129.
  3. yenedark puritam sarvam a tmanaivatmanatmani nrakararn katham vane abhinnam sivam avyayam Cf. St. John of Damascus. "By the visible aspect our thoughts must be drawn up in a spiritual flight and rise to the invisible majesty of God . "
  4. dhyanavasthsta tad gatena manasa tan nirgunam naskriyasn jyotsh kincana yogzno yadi punah pasyanti patyantu te asmakam tu tad eva locanacamatkaraya bhuyac ciram kalindfpulinesu yat kim api tan nilam tamo dhclvata.