THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Chapter 12

Reference: Course on The Bhagavad Gita

NOTE: The following translation of the Sanskrit verses into English is obtained from Srimad Bhagavad Gita, SADHAKA SANJIVANI by Swami Ramsukhdas, published by Govind Bhawan Karyalaya, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, INDIA. For original comments please consult the above book. Abbreviated comments in color are provided by Vinaire.]

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Chapter 12

अर्जुनउवाच
एवंसततयुक्तायेभक्तास्त्वांपर्युपासते।
येचाप्यक्षरमव्यक्तंतेषांकेयोगवित्तमाः।।12.1।।

Arjuna said:
Those devotees who, ever steadfast, thus worship Thee (God with attributes) and those again who worship the Imperishable and the Unmanifested, which of them are better versed in Yoga? (XII-1)

श्रीभगवानुवाच
मय्यावेश्यमनोयेमांनित्ययुक्ताउपासते।
श्रद्धयापरयोपेतास्तेमेयुक्ततमामताः।।12.2।।

The Blessed Lord said:
Those who, fixing their mind on Me, worship Me ever steadfast and endowed with supreme faith, are the most perfect in Yoga in my opinion. (XII-2)

येत्वक्षरमनिर्देश्यमव्यक्तंपर्युपासते।
सर्वत्रगमचिन्त्यंचकूटस्थमचलंध्रुवम्।।12.3।।
संनियम्येन्द्रियग्रामंसर्वत्रसमबुद्धयः।
तेप्राप्नुवन्तिमामेवसर्वभूतहितेरताः।।12.4।।

But those who worship the Imperishable, the Undefinable, the Unmanifest, the Omnipresent, the Unthinkable, the Unchanging and the Immobile, the constant, by restraining all the senses, being even-minded everywhere, engrossed in the welfare of all beings, also come to Me. (XII-3, 4)

The difference between worshipping a God with attributes and a God without attributes is simply in the degree of abstraction of those attributes. The attributes are always there.

क्लेशोऽधिकतरस्तेषामव्यक्तासक्तचेतसाम्।
अव्यक्ताहिगतिर्दुःखंदेहवद्भिरवाप्यते।।12.5।।

The difficulty of those whose minds are attached to the Unmanifested is greater, for the goal of Unmanifested is hard to reach by the body conscious beings. (XII-5)

येतुसर्वाणिकर्माणिमयिसंन्यस्यमत्पराः।
अनन्येनैवयोगेनमांध्यायन्तउपासते।।12.6।।

But those who worship Me, surrendering all actions to Me, regarding Me as the supreme goal, meditating on Me, with single-minded devotion. (XII-6)

The goal through Unmanifested is more difficult because one is consciously tracing every connection from concrete to the ultimate abstraction quite overtly. On the other hand it is much simpler to just follow the discipline of natural laws (dharma), and let go of any anxiety and curiosity about things. In the latter approach, the connections sort themselves out in the background over time; though this may take a lot longer. The optimum approach may lie somewhere in between.

Please note that in SUBJECT CLEARING we use the first approach of consciously tracing every connection from concrete to the ultimate abstraction quite overtly. But while doing that we also make use of the second approach to speed up the process where much complexity exists.

तेषामहंसमुद्धर्तामृत्युसंसारसागरात्।
भवामिनचिरात्पार्थमय्यावेशितचेतसाम्।।12.7।।

To those whose mind is set on Me, I straight-way deliver from the ocean of death-bound existence, O Partha (Arjuna). (XII-7)

मय्येवमनआधत्स्वमयिबुद्धिंनिवेशय।
निवसिष्यसिमय्येवअतऊर्ध्वंनसंशयः।।12.8।।

Fix thy mind on Me alone, fix thy intellect on Me alone; thereafter thou shalt live in Me alone. There is no doubt about it. (XII-8)

अथचित्तंसमाधातुंनशक्नोषिमयिस्थिरम्।
अभ्यासयोगेनततोमामिच्छाप्तुंधनञ्जय।।12.9।।

If thou art unable to fix thy mind steadily on me, then seek to reach Me by the constant practice of concentration, O winner of wealth (Arjuna). (XII-9)

Freedom comes from the resolution of all anomalies. The best approach is to follow the discipline of natural laws (dharma), and simply let go of all anxieties. The anomalies will resolve themselves in the background over time. If you cannot do that just focus on the resolution of one anomaly at a time.

अभ्यासेऽप्यसमर्थोऽसिमत्कर्मपरमोभव।
मदर्थमपिकर्माणिकुर्वन्सिद्धिमवाप्स्यसि।।12.10।।

If you are unable to practice concentration, be thou intent on performing actions for Me; even by performing actions for My sake, thou shalt attain perfection. (XII-10) 

अथैतदप्यशक्तोऽसिकर्तुंमद्योगमाश्रितः।
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागंततःकुरुयतात्मवान्।।12.11।।

If thou art unable to do even this then subduing your mind, senses and intellect etc., resorting to Yoga (equanimity) renounce the fruit of all actions. (XII-11)

If you can’t focus on resolving anomalies one at a time, then simply perform actions for their naturally intended purpose. If you can’t even do this then simply act with an equanimity of mind without thinking of the results.

श्रेयोहिज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानंविशिष्यते।
ध्यानात्कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम्।।12.12।।

Better indeed is knowledge than the practice (of concentration); better than knowledge is meditation; better than meditation is the renunciation of the fruit of action; Supreme Peace immediately follows renunciation. (XII-12)

Here Lord Krishna summarizes what has been said above.

अद्वेष्टासर्वभूतानांमैत्रःकरुणएवच।
निर्ममोनिरहङ्कारःसमदुःखसुखःक्षमी।।12.13।।
सन्तुष्टःसततंयोगीयतात्मादृढनिश्चयः।
मय्यर्पितमनोबुद्धिर्योमद्भक्तःसमेप्रियः।।12.14।।

He who has no ill-will to any being, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from mineness and egoism, even-minded in pleasure and pain, forgiving, ever content, self-controlled, unshakable in determination, with mind and intellect dedicated to Me—the Yogi, My devotee, is dear to Me. (XII-13, 14)

यस्मान्नोद्विजतेलोकोलोकान्नोद्विजतेचयः।
हर्षामर्षभयोद्वेगैर्मुक्तोयःसचमेप्रियः।।12.15।।

He by whom the world is not agitated and who is not agitated by the world, and who is free from joy, anger (envy), fear and agitation, he is dear to Me. (XII-15)

The translation above pretty much says it. A Yogi is somebody who simply stands apart from the world of judgment.

अनपेक्षःशुचिर्दक्षउदासीनोगतव्यथः।
सर्वारम्भपरित्यागीयोमद्भक्तःसमेप्रियः।।12.16।।

He who has no expectation, is pure, skillful in action, unconcerned and untroubled, renouncing all initiative (in action), he, my devotee is dear to Me. (XII-16)

योनहृष्यतिनद्वेष्टिनशोचतिनकाङ्क्षति।
शुभाशुभपरित्यागीभक्ितमान्यःसमेप्रियः।।12.17।।

He who neither rejoices nor hates, neither grieves nor desires, and who has renounced good and evil, he who is thus devoted, is dear to Me. (XII-17)

This is self explanatory. This can be achieved little by little. It is all that is worthy.

समःशत्रौचमित्रेचतथामानापमानयोः।
शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषुसमःसङ्गविवर्जितः।।12.18।।
तुल्यनिन्दास्तुतिर्मौनीसन्तुष्टोयेनकेनचित्।
अनिकेतःस्थिरमतिर्भक्ितमान्मेप्रियोनरः।।12.19।।

He who is alike to foe and friend, also in honor and dishonor, who is alike in cold and heat, in pleasures and pain, who is free from attachment, who holds blame and praise equal, who is thoughtful, content with any thing, who has no fixed abode and is firm in mind, that man full of devotion is dear to me. (XII-18, 19)

येतुधर्म्यामृतमिदंयथोक्तंपर्युपासते।
श्रद्दधानामत्परमाभक्तास्तेऽतीवमेप्रियाः।।12.20।।

Those who with faith, holding Me as their supreme goal, follow this nectar of wisdom (law or doctrine), those devotees are exceedingly dear to Me. (XII-20)

The above is self-evident. It must be understood that ‘Me’ stands for the core of the universe from which all natural laws spring forth and form the universe.

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Final Comment

Underlying this infinite attributes of this universe we encounter fewer but broader attributes as we dive deeper into the abstraction of the natural laws. That is the direction of approaching the Unmanifested, the “Me” of the Bhagavad Gita.

The Unmanifested may be approached in various ways. The most difficult method of approaching the Unmanifested is through the knowledge of the natural laws. Less difficult is to simply meditate to gradually resolve anomalies by simply concentrating on dharma. Still simpler is to perform actions with an equanimity of mind without thinking of the results. With such renunciation Supreme Peace follows.

A Yogi is one who simply stands apart from the world of judgment. He approaches this state gradually with great perseverance.

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Comments

  • Chris Thompson  On April 7, 2021 at 12:22 PM

    Sometimes I think that aged religious texts are our best peak into our historical political past. The more things change, the more things stay the same. Welcome to my Tautological Universe (TU).

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