Talks on the Gita -Vinoba 127

Chapter 12
60. The Saguna And The Nirguna Devotee

3. This discussion of bhakti is going to be completed in the Twelfth Chapter. Arjuna has asked a question here, which is similar to what he had asked in the Fifth Chapter, when the exposition of the science of life was concluded. He asks: “Some devotees worship you in saguna form while others worship you in nirguna[1] form. Whom do you like more?”

4. What answer could the Lord give? It is just like asking a mother having two sons, “Whom do you love more?” The younger son is a little child, deeply attached to his mother. He is happy only in her company and is restive if she is out of sight even for a moment. He cannot bear separation from her even for a moment. Without her, the world is like a big void for him. The elder son too is full of love for the mother, but he is grown up and mature. He can stay away from her. He serves her and takes all the burden and responsibility upon himself. Being absorbed in work, he can endure separation from her. He is admired by the world and his reputation pleases his mother.

If you tell this mother that she can have only one of these two sons and she will have to choose between them, what could she do? How can she make a choice? Try to understand her plight. She will be totally nonplussed and may mumble, “I can bear separation from the elder one if I cannot help it.” It is more difficult for her to tear away the younger son from her bosom. His special attachment to her will weigh with her and she may reply accordingly. But it cannot be said to be the real answer to the question as to which of the two sons is dearer to her. She will reply, if she must; but it would not be proper to take her words literally.


References and Context

  1. Please refer footnote in Chapter 5.28