Srimad Bhagavad Gita -Ramanujacharya 227

Srimad Bhagavad Gita -Ramanujacharya

Chapter-7 Adhyātma Yogaḥ

Summary of the Teaching

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Now, the means — worship/meditation (upāsana) for attaining Nārāyaṇa the Consort of Sri is introduced. The first group of six chapters dealt with the knowledge of the true nature of the Self, which is the pre-requisite for upāsana, which is then accomplished through Right Action (Karma Yoga).

In this group of six chapters the nature of the Supreme Being (Para-Brahman) and His worship (upāsana) designated by the term ‘Bhakti’, (loving devotion) are taught. This same teaching will be summarised later on in chapter 18 verses 46 — 54.

Rāmānuja’s Concept of Bhakti

It is established in the Vedanta texts that upāsana (worship/meditation) done with bhakti (loving devotion) constitutes the only means for attaining the Supreme. What is referred to as knowledge (vedana) in passages such as:—

‘Knowing Him alone does one pass over death [1],

‘Knowing Him alone one becomes immortal here’ [2]

— has the same meaning as terms contained in the texts like;—

‘Verily my dear the Self should be seen... should be meditated upon steadily’ [3],

‘Let him worship the Self alone as the object to be attained’ [4],

‘When the mind is pure, then the remembrance (ie. loving meditation) is firm, when the memory is attained, there is release from all knots of the heart’ [5],

‘The fetter of the heart is broken, all doubts are solved, all his works (Karmas) perish, when He has been seen, who is high and low’ [6].

These texts establish the conclusion that the terms; meditation (dhyāna) and worship (upāsana) indicate mindfulness (vedana) which is a sequence of thoughts about the Supreme Being. The consequence of this thought flow is that one is chosen by the Supreme Being. This upāsana itself becomes delectable because the object of mindfulness (the Supreme Lord Himself) is so dear (to the practitioner). This is made clear by the specification given in the text;—

‘The Self cannot be obtained by instruction, nor by worldly intelligence, nor by much hearing. He whom this Self chooses, by him alone It can be attained, and to him the Self reveals It’s self” [7].

It is this thought flow which is called “Bhakti”, as defined by texts like:—

‘Constant meditation accompanied with love is termed Bhakti’ (Laingottara-Purana). The following two passages are therefore synonymous: —

‘He who thus knows Him, becomes immortal here; there is no other path for liberation’. [8],

and ‘Neither by study of the Vedas, nor by austerities, nor by alms-giving, nor even by sacrifice, can I be seen as you have seen. But by exclusive devotion, O Arjuna, I can be thus truly known and seen and entered into’ [9].

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References and Context

  1. (Sve. Up. 3;8)
  2. (Tai. Arany., 3.12.7)
  3. (Br. Up.,2.4.5)
  4. (Br. Up., 1.4.15)
  5. (Cha. Up., 7.26.2)
  6. (Mun.Up., 2.2.8)
  7. (Ka. Up., 2.;23; Mun.Up., 3.2.3)
  8. (Tai. Aran., 3.12.7)
  9. (Gita 11.53-54)

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