Srimad Bhagavadgita-Rahasya OR Karma-Yoga-Sastra -Bal Gangadhar Tilak
THE PATH OF DEVOTION
When one considers and takes into account the sense of Equality appearing in the Philosophy of Devotion taught by the Gita, and its capacity to enable all equally, to easily grasp the Knowledge of the identity of the Brahman and the Atman mentioned in the Upanisads, without sacrificing the ordinary activities of worldly life, and without establishing any difference between the four castes or the four stages of life, or the communities, or even between men and women, one "understands the true import of the summing up of the Religion of the Gita made by the Blessed Lord in the last chapter of the Gita, by way of a definite assurance, in the following terms : "give up all other religions (dharma), and surrender yourself solely to Me ; I shall redeem you from all sins, do not be afraid". The word ' dharma ' has here been used in the comprehensive meaning that, all the practical paths or means, which have been shown for acquiring the highest excellence of the Self, in the shape of reaching the Paramesvara, by remaining free from sin, while following the ordinary activities of life, are 'dharma' (duty). In the Anugita, in the conversation between the preceptor and the disciple, the Rsis are said to have questioned Brahmadeva as to which of the various paths, such as, Non-Violence, Veracity, Penances, Spiritual Knowledge, Sacrificial ritual, Charity, Karma, Renunciation etc., mentioned by different people, was the most correct one ; and even in the Santi-parva, a question has been asked in the Unccha-vrtyupakhyana as to which of the various paths, such as, the duties enjoined on the householder, or on the denizens of the woods, or on kings, or the service of one's parents, or death on a battle-field for the Ksatriya, or religious contemplation for the Brahmin, etc., was the most acceptable path, as all these had been mentioned in the Sastras as the means of acquiring heaven.
These various paths of dharma or Dharmas may appear to be mutually inconsistent; but, in as much as the ultimate ideal of ' equality of affection towards all created beings ' is reached by means of the concen tration of the Mind by Faith, arising from one's taking to any one of these paths, the writers of the Sastras consider all these practical paths as of equal value. Nevertheless, as there is a likelihood of the Mind becoming confused as a result of. its being caught in the various paths of the worship of different symbols, the final and definite assurance of the Blessed Lord, not only to Arjuna, but to everybody in the name of Arjuna, is that, one should give up all the various paths of Purification of the Mind, and should "surrender yourself solely to ME ; I shall redeem you from all sins, do not be afraid". Even the Saint Tukarama makes his ultimate prayer to God, which entails the annihilation of diverse kinds of dharma, in the following words. —
Burn that knowledge, burn that wisdom I
This is the pinnacle of definite advice, or of prayer. 'Devotion ' is the last sweet mouthful out of the golden dish; of Srimad Bhagavadgita. We have taken this mouthful of Love ; now let us take the final sip of water (aposni) and; prepare to rise from the feast.
References And Context
- Asva. 49
- This is a religions practice followed by Brahmins in India who take a final sip of water, known as 'aposm,', from the hollow of palm, uttering a mantra ( sacred words ), just before finishing the dinner and rising — Trans.