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Ch 12. Bhakti Yoga

The Yoga of Pure Devotional Service

This chapter explains that Svayam Bhagavan Shri Krishna is the Supreme Reality, and that He is the topmost object of the jiva's exlusive worship. Bhaktas who are endowed with ekantika bhakti are most dear to Him, and one can easily attain Bhagavan by suddha bhakti. Nirvisesa brahmavadis receive only misery.

The Glories of Chapter Twelve (Mahatmya)

Lord Siva said, “I will recite the wonderful glories of the twelfth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita before you, dear Parvati.”

In the South there is an important holy place by the name of Kolbapur, where the temple of the Lord’s divine consort Maha Lakshmi, is situated. Maha Lakshmi is continuously worshipped by all of the demigods. That place is the fulfiller of all desires. Rudragaya is also situated there. One day, one young prince arrived there. His body was the color of gold. His eyes were very beautiful. His shoulders were very strong and his chest was broad. His arms were long and strong. When he arrived in Kohlapur, he first went to the lake known as Manikanth-tirth, where he took bath and offered worship to his ancestors. And then he went to the temple of Maha Lakshmi, where he offered his obeisances, and then started to pray, “Oh Devi, Whose heart is full of mercy, Who is worshipped throughout the three worlds and is the giver of all fortune and the Mother of Creation. All glories to You, Oh shelter of all living entities. Oh fulfiller of all desires. You are the wonderful energy of Lord Achyuta, Who is maintaining the three worlds. You are the Supreme Goddess. Oh protector of the devotees. All glories to You. Oh Devi, it is You who fulfills the desires of the devotees, and it is You, who engages them in the service of Lord Achyuta. You are eternal and deliverer of all fallen souls. All glories unto You. Oh Devi, for the welfare and protection of the three worlds, You take on many forms such as Ambika, Brahmi, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Varahi Maha-Lakshmi, Narasimhi, Indri, Kumari, Chandika, Lakshmi, Savitri, Chandrakala, Rohini, Parameshwari. All glories unto You, whose glories are unlimited. Kindly be merciful upon me.”

When Maha Lakshmi heard those prayers, She became very pleased and said to the prince, “Oh prince, I am very happy with you, please request any benediction according to your heart’s desire from me.”

That prince said, “Oh Mother of the three worlds, my father; King Brahadrathy was performing the famous sacrifice known as Ashwamedha. But before having completed that yajna, he dies due to disease. And before I was able to complete that Ashwamedha yajna, someone stole the horse that had traveled all over the world and had been purified for sacrifice in that Ashwamedha, I sent persons in all directions in search of that horse, but they were unable to find it. Then I took permission from the priest to come and pray for Your help. And, if You are pleased with me, then kindly let me know, how I can get back that horse and complete the fire sacrifice and thus fulfill my father’s desire.”

Maha-Lakshmi said, “Oh noble prince, by the gate of my temple one highly elevated Brahmana lives, who is known by the name of Siddha-Samadhi. He will be able to fulfill your desire.”

When the prince heard these words of Maha-Lakshmi, he went to the place, where Siddha-Samadhi lived and offered obeisances to him. After having offered obeisances, he stood before Siddha-Samadhi silently with fold hands. Siddha Samadhi then said, “You have been sent here by mother Maha Lakshmi, so I will fulfill your desire.”

Then chanting some mantras, Siddha-Samadhi brought all of the demigods before him. The prince at that time saw all of the demigods standing before Siddha Samadhi, awaiting his instructions. Then Siddha-Samadhi said to those demigods, “Oh devas, this prince’s horse, which he had kept ready for his sacrifice, was stolen at night by Lord Indra. Kindly bring that horse back now.”

Immediately those demigods brought that horse before him, after which Siddha-Samadhi dismissed them. When the prince saw all these wonderful happenings, he fell at the feet of Siddha-Samadhi, and inquired from him. “How have you attained such power, which I have not seen or heard of any one else possessing? Oh great sage, kindly hear my request.
My father, king Brahadratha while beginning the Ashwamedha-sacrifice, died unexpectedly. And thus I kept his body in pure boiled oil. Kindly, if you desire, please bring him back to life.”

Hearing this, Siddha-Samadhi gave a little chuckle, and said, “Let us go to that place, where you have kept your father’s body.” When they reached that place, Siddha-Samadhi took some water in his hand and while chanting some mantras, he sprinkled the water onto the head of the dead body of King Brahadratha. As soon as that water touched his head, the King sat up and inquired from Siddha- Samadhi, “Oh, great devotee, who are you?” The prince immediately informed his father of all the events, which had taken place. When the King heard that narration, he again and again offered his obeisances to Siddha-Samadhi, and inquired from him, What austerities he had performed to attain such divine powers. Hearing the King’s inquiry, Siddha-Samadhi replied “My dear king Brahadratha, daily I recite the Twelfth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita.”

Hearing those words of that great devotee, the king learnt from Siddha-Samadhi the Twelfth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita. In the course of time, boyh the king and his son attained the lotus-feet of Lord Krishna. Many other persons have achieved the topmost goal, devotion to Lord Krishna’s lotus-feet, by reciting the Twelfth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita daily.


arjuna uvaca
evam satata-yukta ye / bhaktas tvam paryupasate
ye capy aksharam avyaktam / tesham ke yoga-vittamah

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arjunah uvaca---Arjuna said; (there are) bhaktah---the bhaktas; ye---who; (are) satata-yuktah---always engaged; evam---in this way; ca---and; api---also; (there are those) ye---who; paryupasate--- worship; tvam---You; (as) aksharam---the imperishable; avyaktam---un-manifest; ke---which?; tesham---of them; (are) yoga-vittamah---the best knowers of yoga.

Arjuna said: According to Your earlier explanation, there are bhaktas endowed with nishtha, who continuously engage in bhajana to Your Shyamasundara form, and there are also those who worship nirvishesha-aksharabrahma. Of these two, who is the best type of yogi?


In this Twelfth Chapter, Shri Bhagavan confirms the superiority of all types of bhaktas over the jnanis. And among the bhaktas, only those who possess qualities such as non-enviousness are glorified.

When the subject of bhakti was introduced, Arjuna heard that those who are endowed with shraddha, who engage in bhajana to Shri Bhagavan with their hearts devoted to Him, are yuktatama, the best among all types of yogis. This is the opinion of Shri Bhagavan (Gita 6.47). Arjuna heard about the supremacy of the bhaktas in introductory statements such as these, and as this section concludes, he inquires further, being desirous to hear more about that supremacy. "You explained that the word satata-yuktah means those who are devoted to performing work for You. Those who are endowed with the symptoms You previously described engage in the service of Your Shyamasundara form. Others worship nirvishesha (featureless), akshara (imperishable) brahma, which is described in the Brihad-aranyaka shruti: "O Gargi, the brahmanas know this akshara-brahma as asthula (that which is not gross), asukshma (that which is not subtle), ahrasva (that which is not small), and so forth." Of these two types of persons who know yoga, who is superior? In other words, who is acquainted with the better means to know and achieve You?. Here, in the original shloka, the word yoga-vittamah has been used. The word yoga-vittara is generally used to compare two types of worshippers, whereas the word yoga-vittamah indicates the superlative degree, and is used to decide who is the best among all types of people who perform worship. By using this word, Arjuna not only compares the two, but wants to know who is the best.


Of the various types of sadhana practised to quickly attain Bhagavan, shuddha-bhakti is the simplest, easiest and most natural to perform. Its influence is unfailing. In this chapter, vishuddha-bhakti is exclusively established as superior. Arjuna has been hearing Bhagavan Shri Krishna's instructions with great attention. In the Sixth Chapter, in the shloka: yoginam api sarvesham (Gita 6.47), Shri Krishna said that of all yogis (such as the karma-yogi, the dhyana-yogi and the tapayog i) the bhakti-yogi is superior. In the Seventh Chapter, in the shloka, mayy asakta-manah (Gita 7.1), He said that to take shelter of bhakti-yoga is best. In the Eighth Chapter, in the shloka, prayana-kale manasacalena (Gita 8.10), He described the glory of yoga-bala, the power of yoga. In the Ninth Chapter, in the shloka, jnana-yajnena capy anye (Gita 9.15), He talked about jnana-yoga and at the end of the Eleventh Chapter, in the shloka, mat-karma-krin mat-paramo (Gita 11.55), He again described the excellence of bhakti-yoga. After hearing about these various types of yoga, Arjuna was unable to ascertain whether it is better to worship the savishesha-svarupa (the personal form) of Yashoda-nandana Shyamasundara Shri Krishna, or brahma, which is nihshaktika (devoid of energy), nirakara (formless), avyakta-svarupa (unmanifest) and nirvishesha (featureless). Of these two types of yogis, who has the superior knowledge of yoga? By saying yogavittam ah, Arjuna is inquiring about who is the best of all yogis.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Arjuna as saying, "O Krishna! From all the instructions You have given so far, I have understood that there are two types of yogis. One type worships You by performing all bodily and social activities under the control of Your supreme ananya-bhakti. The other type of yogi accepts bodily and social activities only according to his needs by following the principles of nishkama-karma! yoga, and takes shelter of Your imperishable and unmanifest feature through adhyatmika-yoga (yoga related to brahma). Of these two types of yogis, who is superior?.


shri bhagavan uvaca
mayy aveshya mano ye mam / nitya-yukta upasate
shraddhaya parayopetas / te me yuktatama matah

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shri bhagavan uvaca---the all-opulent Lord said; te---those; ye--- who; (are) nitya-yuktah---always connected (with Me); upetah--- engaged; paraya---with transcendental; shraddhaya---faith; aveshya---absorbing; (their) manah---minds; mayi---within Me; (and) upasate---worship; mam---Me; matah---are considered; me---by Me; (to be) yuktatamah---the best connected.

Shri Bhagavan said: Those yogis, who with transcendental faith fix their mind on My Shyamasundara form, and constantly worship Me with ananya-bhakti. are the best among those who know yoga. This is My opinion.


Shri Bhagavan responds to Arjuna's question in the previous shloka by saying, "My bhaktas are the best who, with nirguna-shraddha (faith which is free from the influence of the modes), fix their minds on My Shyamasundara form, being ever-desirous of union with Me." As it is said in Shrimad- Bhagavatam (11.25.27), "Shraddha which has the atma (self) as its focus is in sattva-guna; shraddha which has karma (action) as its focus is in rajo-guna, and shraddha which has irreligious activities as its focus is in tamo-guna. But that shraddha whose object and focus is service to Me is nirguna." In the present shloka it is said, "My ananya-bhaktas are yuktatamah, or yoga-vittamah, the best of yogis." From this it can be concluded that, compared to ananya-bhaktas, others, such as those whose bhakti is mixed with jnana or karma, are yoga-vittara, but not yoga-vittamah (the best knowers of yoga). Thus, bhakti is superior to jnana and, within bhakti, ananya-bhakti is supreme. This has been established here.


After hearing Arjuna's question, Bhagavan Shri Krishna was very much pleased and said, "I consider only those bhaktas who constantly worship Me with nirguna-shraddha and unalloyed devotion, fixing their minds on My Shyamasundara form, to be the best of yogis." Such unalloyed devotees are in reality the topmost yogis. A yogi whose bhakti is mixed with jnana and karma is a little inferior. Bhakti-yoga is therefore superior to jnana-yoga because it is by this yoga alone that one performs pure ananya-bhakti. The word shraddha mentioned in the original shloka means staunch faith in the statements of shastra, guru and Bhagavan. As it is said in Chaitanyacarit amrita (Madhya-lila 22.62):

shraddha'-shabde'vishvasa kahe sudridha nishcaya
krishne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krita haya

The determined faith, that merely by the performance of bhakti to Shri Krishna all activities are performed, is called shraddha. Elsewhere it is also said: shraddha tv anyopaya-varjam krishnonmukhi citta-vritti-visheshah. "The citta-vritti, tendency of the heart, which is directed only towards Krishna, and which is free from any desire to follow other processes, is called shraddha." Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.25.27) describes four types of faith:

sattviky adhyatmiki shraddha / karma-shraddha tu rajasi
tamasy adharme ya shraddha / mat-sevayam tu nirguna

Faith in shastra which deals with the science of the self is sattvika; faith related to fruitive activities is rajasika; faith in adharmika acts is tamasika, and faith in My service is nirguna. Here it should be understood that the word nirguna means transcendental and beyond material qualities (aprakrita). It does not mean bereft of all qualities. Hence, a bhakti-yogi endowed with nirguna-shraddha is best. Bhagavan Shri Krishna's intention is to give this understanding.


ye tv aksharam anirdeshyam / avyaktam paryupasate
sarvatra-gam acintyan ca / kutastham acalam dhruvam

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sanniyamyendriya-gramam / sarvatra sama-buddhayah
te prapnuvanti mam eva / sarva-bhuta-hite ratah

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tu---but; eva---certainly; ye---those who; paryupasate---worship; aksharam---the imperishable; anirdeshyam---undefinable; avyaktam---unmanifest; sarvatra-gam---all-pervading; acintyam---inconceivable; ca---and; kuta-stham---uniform; acalam---non-moving; dhruvam---fixed; sanniyamya---controlling; indriya-gramam---the group of senses; (and) samabuddhaya h---being equally disposed; sarvatra---in all situations; ratah---being attached; hite---to the welfare; sarva-bhuta---of all beings; eva---certainly; prapnuvanti---obtains; mam---Me.

But those who worship My indescribable, unmanifest, all-pervading, inconceivable, immutable, eternal and featureless brahma-svarupa while controlling their senses, maintaining equal vision everywhere and engaging in activities for the welfare of all beings, also attain Me alone.


"Those who worship My nirvishesha-brahma-svarupa remain distressed; therefore, they are inferior to My bhaktas." In order to establish this principle, Shri Bhagavan speaks these two shlokas beginning with ye tu. Akshara means that brahma cannot be described in words, because it is unmanifest, formless (avyaktam), all-pervading (sarvatra-ga) and eternal (dhruvam). It is not subject to transformation (acalam), but exists uniformly at all times (kuta-stham), and it cannot be comprehended by logic (acintya). The phrase mam eva means, "They attain Me alone. In other words, there is no difference between that imperishable (akshara) brahma and Me."


Shri Bhagavan says, "Those who with controlled senses and equal vision engage in activities for the welfare of all jivas and worship My akshara (imperishable), anirdeshya (indescribable) and avyakta (unmanifest) nirvishesha-brahma-svarupa, ultimately attain Me only after performing troublesome sadhana. From the shloka, brahmano hi pratishthaham (Gita 14.27), it is understood that Shri Krishna is the ashraya (shelter) of nirvishesha-tattva. Therefore, the worshippers of nirvisheshabrahma are also indirectly dependent on Shri Krishna. Shri Krishna is the shelter of all upasya-tattva (worshipable realities), and is Himself the supreme worshipable object. Upasya-tattva includes Shri Ramacandra, Shri Narayana, Shri Nrisimhadeva and nirvishesha-brahma, who all depend on Krishna. Those wor-shippers who have taken shelter of upasya-tattva are certainly under the shelter of Krishna. All upasya-tattva is dependent on krishna-tattva as their origin. Among upasya-tattva, the first three svarupas are tad-ekatma-rupa (one in tattva), but from the perspective of rasa, there is a gradation. Similarly, there is also a gradation among those worshippers who have taken shelter of these realities. Brahma is the effulgence of Shri Krishna's limbs, an incomplete manifestation of Krishna's cida msha (internal self-conscious potency). Therefore, those who achieve nirvishesha-brahma or sayujya-mukti are indirectly dependent on Shri Krishna alone. However, they do not experience the bliss of loving seva, etc. For this reason, even if Shri Krishna offers His bhaktas the various types of mukti such as sayujya, they do not accept them, as stated in Shrimad- Bhagavatam (3.29.13):

salokya-sarshti-samipya- / sarupyaikatvam apy uta
diyamanam na grihnanti / vina mat-sevanam janah

A pure devotee does not accept any kind of liberation: salokya, sarshti, samipya, sarupya or ekatvam (sayujya), even though they may be offered to him.

Some consider worship of akshara-brahma to be superior to the worship of the sac-cid-ananda-murti of Shyamasundara Shri Krishna. However, Bhagavan Shri Krishna is Himself very clearly explaining the superiority of His ananya-bhaktas over those who worship nirakara (formless) nirvishesha-brahma. Furthermore, some persons think, "Why would worship of brahma not be superior, since it is full of difficulty and perfected over a long period of time?. They consider that of the two types of brahma, saguna and nirguna, nirguna-nirakara-brahma is the original and superior tattva. They think that common people are unable to perform worship of nirguna-brahma because it is trouble some, whereas the worship of saguna sakara, personal brahma, is easily performed since anyone can do it. Here it is necessary to understand that these conceptions are false. Krishna alone is the original tattva. Brahma-tattva is dependent on Him, and is simply the effulgence of His bodily limbs. In Gita (15.18), Shri Krishna Himself has declared that as purushottama-svarupa, He is superior to akshara (imperishable) and kuta-stha (unchanging) brahma. Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana and other commentators on the Gita explain akshara-svarupa to mean jiva-svarupa, whereas Shri Ramanujacarya explains it to mean pratyag-atma (the allpervading) svarupa.

Here the word akshara does not mean parabrahma. The Supreme Person, parabrahma, has been clearly described as different from and superior to that brahma, which is akshara and kuta-stha. In this regard, one should refer to Gita (15.16-17): kuta-stho 'kshara ucyate and uttamah purushas tv anyah.

Moreover, worshippers of brahma also consider the jiva alone to be brahma: jivo brahmaiva naparah. They say that when the ignorance of the jiva is dispelled, the brahma-jnani becomes brahma. Even if the jiva attains the stage of brahma, it is not stated in any shastra that he attains the nature of parabrahma. Shri Krishna alone is parabrahma. This has been established in various statements from shruti and smriti. In the Vedanta also it is stated that the jiva never attains the stage of parabrahma. One should always keep in mind that the attributes of Bhagavan described in shastra, such as saguna, sakara and savishesha, are transcendental and fully conscious. Therefore, Shri Bhagavan is simultaneously both saguna and nirguna. Saguna and nirguna are not two separate tattvas, but two aspects of the same tattva.


klesho'dhikataras tesham / avyaktasakta-cetasam
avyakta hi gatir duhkham / dehavadbhir avapyate

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tesham---for those; cetasam---whose minds; avyakta-asakta---are attached to the unmanifest; (there is) adhikatarah---more; kleshah---trouble; hi---because; avyakta---the unmanifest; gatih--- state; avapyate---is obtained; duhkham---with difficulty; dehavadbhih---by those who are embodied.

Those whose minds are attached to the nirvishesha-brahmasvar upa experience great difficulty, for it is troublesome for the embodied jivas to attain steadiness in that which is unmanifest.


"How then, are the jnanis inferior?" In response to Arjuna's question, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the words klesho "dhikataras tesham" .Those who desire the experience of brahma which is avyakta (unmanifest) must undergo extreme difficulty in attaining it. The senses are only able to experience that which has attributes (vishesha) that pertain to the respective senses, such as sound. They are unable to experience that which is devoid of qualities or attributes (nirvishesha)."

It is essential for those who desire nirvishesha-jnana to control the senses, but to do so is as difficult as controlling the flow of a river. As Sanat Kumara says to Prithu Maharaja in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (4.22.39), "The bhaktas can easily cut the hridya-granthi (knot of the heart), which consists of karmav asana (fruitive desires) by remembering with devotion the effulgence of the toes of the lotus petal-like feet of Bhagavan. The yogis, however, who are bereft of bhakti, are not able to cut the knot of the heart as bhaktas can, even though they are free from any mundane enjoying propensity and can control their senses. Therefore, give up the endeavour to control the senses and so forth and engage in the bhajana of Shri Vasudeva. Those who practise the processes of yoga, etc., with a desire to cross this ocean of material existence, which is full of crocodiles in the form of the senses, have to face extreme difficulties if they fail to take shelter of Bhagavan, who is likened to a boat. Therefore, O King, you should also accept the lotus feet of the most worshipable Bhagavan as the boat in which to cross this ocean, which is insurmountable and full of obstacles."

Even if the destination of nirvishesha-brahma is achieved after much trouble, it happens only with the help of bhakti. Without bhakti for Bhagavan, the worshipper of brahma not only undergoes misery, but also fails to attain brahma. As Lord Brahma said, "The only gain of a person who beats a husk from which the rice has been taken is the trouble they took to beat it. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.4)"


Worshippers of nirvishesha-brahma face misery both during sadhana and siddha. No sadhana can give perfection without the help of bhakti. Taking support of bhakti as a secondary process, those who worship nirvishesha-brahma strive to achieve brahma-jnana. In turn, Bhakti-devi awards them the secondary result, which is brahma-jnana, and then disappears. Such persons who worship brahma, thus, remain bereft of relishing the supremely beneficial name, form, pastimes and qualities of Shri Krishna. They eternally submerge themselves in an ocean of great misery in the form of sayujya- mukti. This is self-destructive. For this reason Shrimad- Bhagavatam (10.14.4) states: shreyah-sritim bhaktim udasya te vibho.

"My dear Lord, bhajana unto You is the most superior path for realisation of the self. If someone gives up that path and engages in cultivating speculative knowledge, he will simply undergo a troublesome process and will not achieve his desired ends. As a person who beats an empty husk of wheat cannot get grain, one who simply speculates cannot achieve self-realisation. His only gain is trouble."

The stages of both sadhana (practice) and sadhya (perfection) are described as troublesome for the nirvishesha-jnanis. On the other hand, bhakti is supremely pleasurable and auspicious in both stages. sadhana and sadhya. Shrimad- Bhagavatam (4.22.39) states:

karmashayam grathitam udgrathayanti santah
tadvan na rikta-matayo yatayo 'pi ruddhasroto-
ganas tam aranam bhaja vasudevam

The bhaktas,who are always engaged in the service of the toes of the lotus feet of Shri Bhagavan, can very easily overcome the hard knot of desires for fruitive activities. Because this is very difficult, the non-devotees, jnanis and yogis who endeavour to stop the waves of sense gratification, are unable to do so. Therefore, you are advised to engage in the bhajana of Krishna, the son of Vasudeva.

And furthermore, in 12.4.40:

samsara-sindhum ati-dustaram uttitirshor
nanyah plavo bhagavatah purushottamasya
lila-katha-rasa-nishevanam antarena
pumso bhaved vividha-duhkha-davarditasya

For those who are scorching in the forest fire that generates various types of miseries, and who desire to cross over the insurmountable ocean of material existence, there is no other boat than serving and relishing the nectar of the lila-katha of Purushottama Bhagavan Shri Hari.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "The difference between a jnani-yogi and a bhakti-yogi is that in the stage of sadhana a bhakti-yogi can easily cultivate the process to achieve the supreme objective, Bhagavan, and attains the sadhya (stage of perfection) without fear of self-destruction. On the other hand, during a jnana-yogi's sadhana, he becomes fixed in avyakta-tattva (the unmanifest reality) and has to suffer the trouble of practising vyatireka-cinta, the conception of negation, always thinking,"Not this, not this." The vyatireka-cinta (negative process) means to think in a way that is opposite to the natural aptitude or constitutional function of the jiva, so it is very troublesome for the living entities. The stage of sadhana is also not free from fear because the nitya-svarupa of Bhagavan has not been realised before completion of the sadhana stage. Hence, the jnanayog i's supreme destination is also miserable. The jiva is an eternal conscious entity (nitya-chinmaya-vastu). If the jiva becomes merged in the unmanifest state, which is suicidal for him, his constitutional and purposeful quality of krishnad asya is destroyed. He has cultivated very deep impressions (samskaras) of ahan-graha-buddhih (considering oneself as supreme) by identifying himself with brahma, so it is very difficult for him to give up this conditioned consciousness. even if he comes to understand that his own svarupa is individual and has the constitutional nature of service. "For the embodied jiva, embarking upon meditation on the unmanifest only results in misery, both as the means (sadhana) and as the objective (sadhya). In reality, the jiva is chaitanya-svarupa, conscious by nature, and has a spiritual body. Therefore, this unmanifest or impersonal meditation is contrary to the jiva's own svarupa and is simply a source of misery. Bhakti-yoga alone is the source of eternal auspiciousness for the jiva. Jnana-yoga, when bereft of bhakti and practised independently, always becomes a source of inauspiciousness. Therefore, adhyatma-yoga, the process of self-realisation which is performed by worshipping the nirakara, nirvikara, sarva-vyapi (all-pervading) nirvisheshasvar upa is not praiseworthy and does not guarantee attainment of the ultimate destination."


ye tu sarvani karmani / mayi sannyasya mat-parah
ananyenaiva yogena / mam dhyayanta upasate

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tesham aham samuddharta / mrityu-samsara-sagarat
bhavami na cirat partha / mayy aveshita-cetasam

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tu---but; eva ye---they; mat-parah---who are dedicated to achieve Me; sannyasya---renouncing; sarvani---all; karmani---activities; mayi---unto Me; ananyena---with unwavering; yogena---connection; dhyayantah---meditate on; (and) upasate---worship; mam---Me; partha---O Partha; tesham---for those; aveshitacetas am---whose minds are absorbed; mayi---in Me; na cirat--- before long; aham---I; bhavami---become; samuddharta---the deliverer; sagarat---from the ocean; mrityu-samsara---of death and rebirth.

But to those loving bhaktas who perform all their actions with the goal of attaining Me, O Partha, and who absorb themselves exclusively in My bhajana with unalloyed devotion, I give swift deliverance from this ocean of birth and death.


Shri Bhagavan says, "Without jnana, simply by bhakti alone, My bhaktas are easily and blissfully freed from this material existence. Here the word sannyasa means tyaga (to give up). Becoming free from karma, jnana, tapasya and other processes, My bhaktas give up all other activities for My sake and engage in worship of Me with ananya-bhakti for the purpose of achieving Me. Thus, they are easily and happily freed from the material world." As it is said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.20.32-33), "Whatever result one achieves by the performance of karma, tapasya, jnana and vairagya, and also whatever My bhakta desires, be it Svarga, moksha, or even residence in My dhama, can all be easily attained by performance of My bhakti-yoga."

It is also said in the Narayaniya-moksha-dharma, "The fruits one receives from performing sadhana to attain the four types of human goals (catuh purushartha), are attained by a person who has taken refuge in Shri Narayana without performing any such sadhana."

"If one asks, "By which sadhana do they cross over this material world?" then listen. This question is irrelevant, because I Myself deliver them, even if they do not perform any sadhana." From this statement it is understood that Bhagavan only exhibits His vatsalya-bhava for His bhaktas and not for the jnanis.


In the previous two shlokas, Shri Bhagavan is explaining the glories of His ananya-bhakti and His ananya-bhakta. By performing this ananya-bhakti and by the mercy of Bhagavan, an ananya-bhakta can very easily cross over the ocean of material existence and attain supremely blissful prema-seva to Shri Bhagavan.

Krishna Himself is the shelter or pratishtha of brahma. This Krishna, Svayam Bhagavan, is the source of Paramatma and all other avataras. A bhakta who knows the reality of this svarupa of Bhagavan takes shelter of kevala-bhakti in the association of bhaktas. He does not have to undergo the difficulties experienced in the sadhana and sadhya stages as do those who worship nirvishesha nirakara-brahma described above. In a very short time, he easily attains prema-mayi seva to Shri Bhagavan.

In introducing the bhaktas who take shelter of such kevalabhakti, Shri Bhagavan says, "Such one-pointed bhaktas consider their prescribed duties of varna and ashrama to be obstacles to bhakti, and completely give them up. They consider My prema-mayi seva to be the one and only goal to be attained, and with ananya-bhakti engage in My worship by hearing, chanting and remembering My nama, rupa, guna and lila. They even become absorbed in Me during the sadhana stage, while performing shravanam, kirtanam and so forth. I very quickly deliver such bhaktas, whose hearts are attached to Me and who are fully absorbed in Me, from this ocean of material existence, which is very difficult to cross. They need not be in anxiety about crossing over it, unlike the jnanis and yogis. Furthermore, they are unable to tolerate any delay in achieving Me. Placing them on the back of Garuda, I very quickly carry them to My abode. They do not attain gradual mukti through the paths of Arci (light) and so forth, as followed by jnanis and yogis. By My own will, I free them from this illusory world, bring them to My abode, and engage them in My prema-mayi seva."

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "I very quickly deliver from the ocean of material existence, characterised by birth and death, those who take shelter of My bhagavat-svarupa (personal feature). Making all bodily and social activities completely subordinate to My bhakti, and always meditating upon and worshipping My nitya-shri- vigraha, the eternal, beautiful human-like form of Krishna, by the process of My ananya-bhakti, their hearts, thus, become completely absorbed in Me. In other words, in their conditioned state, I give them liberation from the bondage of this illusory material existence. After their bondage of maya has been cut, I protect them from the suicidal attempt of adopting the conception of oneness. This self-destructive conception of oneness in people whose minds are attached to the unmanifest is the cause of inauspiciousness for them. My vow is: ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham (Gita 4.11). From this it is understood that those who meditate on the avyakta (unmanifest) become merged in the avyakta-svarupa. What is My loss in this? Having attained such a destination, the jivas who have the suicidal conception of oneness lose the importance or utility of their own svarupa. In other words, they become deprived of the eternal bliss of My loving service."


mayy eva mana adhatsva / mayi buddhim niveshaya
nivasishyasi mayy eva / ata urddhvam na samshayah

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adhatsva---fix; (your) manah---mind; eva---only; mayi---on Me; (and) niveshaya---repose; (your) buddhim---intelligence; mayi--- in Me; atah urddhvam---thus at the last moment of quitting the body; eva nivasishyasi---you shall certainly reside; mayi---in Me; na samshayah---there is no doubt.

Fix your mind exclusively on My Shyamasundara form, and engage your intelligence fully in Me. Thus, upon leaving your body, you shall certainly come to reside with Me. Of this there is no doubt.


"Since My bhakti is the topmost process, you should perform bhakti only." To instruct Arjuna in this way, Shri Bhagavan is speaking three shlokas beginning here with mayy eva. Worship of the nirvishesha-svarupa has been prohibited by use of the word eva. Shri Bhagavan says mayi, meaning "upon Me." "You should fix your mind exclusively on My Shyamasundara form, which is decorated with yellow garments (pitambara-dhari) and a beautiful forest garland (vana-mala). In other words, remember Me and engage your pure intelligence in Me, that is, think of Me alone. This thinking should be in accordance with the statements of shastra that establish dhyana (meditation). Then you will live only with Me, who am described in the Vedas."


Here in these few shlokas Shri Krishna is explaining the sadhanapra nali, or the process of practice adopted by His ananyabhaktas. First of all He said to Arjuna, "O Arjuna, I very quickly deliver from the ocean of birth and death, My ananyabhakta who surrenders to Me and who has given up varnashrama-dharma, and bestow upon him My prema-mayi seva. Therefore, you should fix your mind exclusively on Me, parabrahma, the Supreme Transcendental Reality. Removing all desires for sense gratification from your citta (thoughts), absorb your citta in Me alone." The mind has the tendencies of accepting (sankalpa) and rejecting (vikalpa), so to fix it in objects related with Bhagavan, it is necessary to surrender one's intelligence to Him after disengaging the mind from all sense objects. Acquiring knowledge of Bhagavan's svarupa with one's vyavasayatmika buddhi (resolute intelligence), know Him alone to be the supreme worshipable reality. Direct the functions of the pure intelligence towards Him, by performing sadhana such as shravanam, kirtanam and smaranam. By doing so, the mind will be under the control of such resolute intelligence and will automatically become absorbed in thoughts of Him. In such a state, you will always live near Him. Therefore, by making Arjuna His instrument, Shri Bhagavan is instructing us all that bhakti alone is the best sadhana and the best sadhya. Thus it is imperative to constantly remember the nitya-svarupa of Shyamasundara by fixing the mind on Him and surrendering one's intelligence exclusively to Him. When this is done, one will attain the highest fruit of sadhana-bhakti and become His associate, attaining nirupadhika-prema (unalloyed love). There is no doubt about this. Thus, it is explained that the destination achieved by bhakti-yoga is superior to all others.


atha cittam samadhatum / na shaknoshi mayi sthiram
abhyasa-yogena tato / mam icchaptum dhananjaya

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dhananjaya---O winner of wealth; atha---and if; na shaknoshi---you are unable; samadhatum---to fix; cittam---the mind; sthiram---steadily; mayi---on Me; tatah---then; iccha---you should desire; aptum---to attain; mam---Me; abhyasa-yogena---through abhyasa-yoga. O Dhananjaya, if you are unable to fix your mind steadily on Me, then try to seek Me by abhyasayoga, the practice of fixing the mind on Me while constantly restraining it from worldly affairs.


For the benefit of those who cannot directly remember Him, Shri Bhagavan explains the means whereby perfection of such remembrance can be achieved. He says, "By time and again controlling the mind, which runs from one place to another, one should practise concentrating it exclusively on My form. This is yoga. One should gradually fix the mind's course on My most beautiful form, qualities and so forth, by this practice of completely checking the flow of the mind which flows like a river towards abominable mundane sense objects, such as form and taste."

The present shloka emphasises the word Dhananjaya. Just as Arjuna has accumulated a lot of dhana (wealth) by conquering many enemies, in the same way, he is also able to achieve the wealth of dhyana (meditation on Bhagavan) by conquering and controlling his mind.


In the previous shloka, Shri Bhagavan instructs everyone to become one-pointedly devoted to Him by exclusively fixing their minds and intelligence on Him. Thus, the following question may be raised: Just as the Ganga flows towards the ocean, those whose mano-vritti (attitude or flow of mind) is always running with great speed towards Shri Bhagavan can very quickly attain Him; of this there is no doubt. By what means, however, can Bhagavan be achieved by those who do not have such strong citta-vritti (flow of thoughts or feelings) towards Him? In response to this, Shri Bhagavan has given a second option. "Those who are unable to firmly and steadily fix their mind on Me by the previously stated means should try to achieve Me by abhyasa-yoga. This means that they should try to fix the mind on Me by gradually curbing the tendency of the mind to become attracted to various sense objects. Such endeavour is called abhyasa-yoga. By this abhyasa-yoga, the mind slowly becomes attached to Me, after which attaining Me becomes easy."

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "That previously mentioned nirupadhika-prema is the eternal function of a mind devoted to Me. To achieve this, one needs to perform abhyasa, constant practice. If you are unable to steadily fix your mind on Me, then it is better for you to engage in abhyasa-yoga."


abhyase 'py asamartho'si / mat-karma-paramo bhava
mad-artham api karmani / kurvan siddhim avapsyasi

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api---if, however; asi---you are; api---also; asamarthah---unable; abhyase---to perform the practice of sadhana-bhakti; bhava---just be; paramah---devoted; mat-karma---to My work; kurvan--- through performing; karmani---activities; mad-artham---for My sake; avapsyasi---you will obtain; siddhim---perfection.

If you are unable to engage in abhyasa- yoga, just devote yourself to acting for Me alone, because by performing activities such as shravanam and kirtanam for My pleasure, you will certainly attain perfection.


"O Arjuna, just as a person whose tongue is affected by jaundice does not desire to taste mishri, in the same way a mind that is polluted by avidya does not accept the sweetness of My form. Consequently, if you think that you are unable to engage in abhyasa because you cannot fight with this very powerful, formidable mind, then listen. By performing virtuous and blessed activities for My pleasure, such as hearing and chanting about My pastimes, praying, worshipping, cleaning My temple, watering Tulasi, collecting flowers and various other services, you will achieve the perfection of becoming My loving associate, even without smaranam of Me."


In the previous shloka, Shri Krishna instructed Arjuna to adopt abhyasa-yoga, but with great humility Arjuna said, "O Prabhu, because the mind is more flickering than the wind and very difficult to control, I will not have the strength to restrict it from sense objects by the practice of abhyasa-yoga. I have previously submitted the same opinion at Your lotus feet (in the shloka: cancalam hi manah krishna pramathi balavad dridham, Gita ( 6.34). Therefore, what shall I do?"

Shri Krishna, smiling, gave a third option. "If one is even unable to engage in abhyasa-yoga, then he should perform activities that are favourable to bhakti." By the influence of activities performed in the service of Shri Bhagavan, to His Deity and His temple, such as building, maintaining and cleaning temples or making a flower-garden and caring for Tulasi, which can be done with very little effort, the mind easily becomes controlled and fixed in meditating on activities which are related to Bhagavan. Then, by practising the limbs of shuddha-bhakti such as shravanam, kirtanam and smaranam under the guidance of pure Vaishnavas, one gradually attains the perfection of bhagavat-seva.

In this regard, it is said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.11.34-41), "O Uddhava, a sadhaka gradually attains the fruit of bhagavat-prema, which is to become My associate, by engaging with shraddha in activities such as taking darshana of, touching, worshipping, serving, glorifying and paying obeisances to My shri-vigraha, as well as My bhaktas, and always chanting about their qualities and activities. That fruit is also attained by always hearing about and meditating upon Me, offering one's possessions to Me, performing atma-nivedana (surrendering one's very self) to Me in the mood of dasyabh ava (servitorship), taking initiation according to the processes mentioned in the Vedas and other shastras, observing vratas for Me, giving Me flowers and fruits, cleaning and decorating My temple, watering the Tulasi garden, and so forth. One should not doubt that these sadhanas are related to shuddha-bhakti. These instructions provide a simple means for persons of a specific adhikara."


athaitad apy ashakto 'si / karttum mad-yogam ashritah
sarva-karma-phala-tyagam / tatah kuru yatatmavan

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atha api---if, however; asi---you are; ashaktah---unable; karttum--- to perform; etat---this; (then) ashritah---taking shelter of; matyogam ---My bhakti-yoga; tatah---then; yata-atmavan---with a controlled mind; kuru---perform; phala-tyagam---renunciation of the fruits; sarva-karma---of all your activities.

If, however, you are unable to work for Me in this way, then take shelter of My bhakti-yoga by renouncing the results of all your actions and, with a controlled mind, offer them to Me.


Shri Bhagavan says, "If you are unable to do this, then take shelter of My bhakti-yoga and renounce the results of all actions by offering them to Me. (as described in the first six chapters).

The first six chapters explain nishkama-karma-yoga, activities offered to Bhagavan, as the means to attain moksha. The second six chapters describe bhakti-yoga as the means to attain Bhagavan. This bhakti-yoga is of two types: 1) the actions of the internal senses which are steadily fixed on Bhagavan, and (2) the activities of the external senses. The first type of bhakti-yoga is further divided into three categories: (1) smarana (remembrance), (2) manana (meditation) and (3) abhyasa, the practice of those who are unable to constantly remember but who are attached to attaining such a stage. These three practices are indeed very difficult for those who are less intelligent, but they are easy for those who are free from offences and devoted to pure intelligence. However, the second type of bhakti-yoga, which engages the activities of the external senses (as previously described) in hearing, chanting and so forth, is an easy means for everyone. Those who are engaged in either of these two types of bhakti-yoga are superior to all others. This is described in the second six chapters of Bhagavad-gita. Those who are unable to perform either of these, and who cannot worship Shri Bhagavan faithfully by controlling their senses and minds, are qualified to perform nishkama-karma-yoga offered to Bhagavan, as described in the first six chapters. They are inferior to the above two types of bhakti-yogis.


In the previous shloka, in the statement mat-karma-paramo bhava, Shri Krishna gave instructions to clean His temple, water Tulasi and the flower-gardens, and so forth. After hearing this, Arjuna wondered what should someone do who considers these services to Bhagavan, which are simple, easy and happily performed, to be insignificant and is unwilling to perform them on account of having taken birth in a high family or being a respected person in society. In the present shloka, Bhagavan Shri Krishna, understanding Arjuna's manobh ava (mind), gives the fourth option. "If one is unable to perform such simple services for Shri Bhagavan, then the only means is to adopt the process of bhagavad-arpita nishkamakarma- yoga, selfless work offered to Bhagavan." However, it is not proper to avoid the performance of services such as cleaning the temple because of one's material false ego. Although King Ambarisha was the lord of the earth's seven islands, he constantly remained engaged in the service of Shri Bhagavan by cleaning the temple with his own hands and performing other services. According to Shri Chaitanyacarit amrita, King Prataparudra would sweep in front of Shri Jagannatha Deva's chariot during the Rathayatra festival in Jagannatha Puri. Upon seeing such a service attitude, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became very pleased with him.

Therefore, according to the instructions of our guru-varga, to perform even an insignificant service to Shri Bhagavan is most auspicious for us. To think seva, such as cleaning the temple, is insignificant, and to consider oneself superior because of material false ego, causes falldown from pursuance of the transcendental goal.

If, because of such a superiority complex, one is unable to engage in seva as instructed by Bhagavan, then for him the most compassionate Bhagavan Shri Krishna is giving another option. He should perform his prescribed duties according to varnashrama-dharma, without desiring to enjoy the fruits of his karma, and he should offer the results to Bhagavan. Shri Bhagavan has given four sequential options in descending order for persons possessing four types of adhikara: 1) By fixing one's mind on the svarupa of Bhagavan, one should try to achieve nirupadhika-prema through the process of shravana, kirtana and smarana of the nama, rupa, guna and lila of Bhagavan. This is the path of raganuga-bhakti, natural attachment.

2) For those who are unable to absorb the mind in Bhagavan through the path of attachment, it is better to take shelter of abhyasa-yoga by following the path of vaidhi-bhakti. 3) For those who are unable to perform even this abhyasayoga in the form of vaidhi-bhakti, it is necessary to become devoted to performing work (service) for Bhagavan. In this way, while being devoted to working for Bhagavan, they will gradually attain perfection in abhyasa-yoga, and eventually the mind will become fixed at the lotus feet of Shri Bhagavan. 4) For those who are unable to even perform karma (action) in service to Shri Bhagavan, it is better to become surrendered to Him and perform that karma prescribed in the Vedas, offering Him the fruits of all their actions. As a result of such actions, one will gradually (step by step) attain the path leading to para bhakti, which imparts knowledge of one's own svarupa and that of Bhagavan.


shreyo hi jnanam abhyasaj / jnanad dhyanam vishishyate
dhyanat karma-phala-tyagas / tyagac chantir anantaram

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shreyah---better; abhyasat---than the practice of sadhana; (is) jnanam---transcendental knowledge; dhyanam---remembrance of Me; vishishyate---is better; jnanat---than knowledge; karma phala-tyagah---renunciation of the fruits of action is better; dhyanat---than remembrance; hi---because; anantaram---after; tyagat---such renunciation; (there is) shantih---cessation (of the search by the senses for any object other than Me).

Better than abhyasa is the jnana that gives rise to contem-plation upon Me. Superior to jnana is dhyana, that meditation by which I am constantly remembered. Such dhyana then leads to renunciation of the fruits of one's actions, whereby one becomes freed from the desires to enjoy Svarga and attain moksha, and thus achieves peace of mind.


Now, while explaining the gradation of abhyasa, manana and smarana in ascending order, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with shreyah. "Jnana means to absorb your intelligence in Me, because such manana (contemplation) of Me is superior to abhyasa." In abhyasa, dhyana (meditation) requires endeavour and is troublesome, as there are obstacles, but when one reaches the stage of manana, dhyana becomes easy. This is the superiority of jnana. Superior to jnana, however, is dhyana. If one asks why, the answer is that dhyana leads to karma-phala-tyaga, that is, it even dispells the desires for the results of actions, such as the pleasures of Svarga and attainment of the result of nishkamakarma (moksha). Even if they become available of their own accord, one neglects them. Bhaktas who have not achieved stablility in dhyana, in whose hearts rati has not been aroused, desire to give up the pursuit of liberation (mokshaty aga). However, those who have attained stability in dhyana do not even have the desire to give up moksha, because they disregard it naturally. Only bhakti of this type is called moksha-laghuta-karini (that which derides even moksha). It has been described in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.12), in the shloka beginning with the four words klesha-ghni shubha-da, "Devotional service destroys miseries and bestows auspiciousness."

It is also said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.14):
na parameshthyam na mahendra-dhishnyam
na sarvabhaumam na rasadhipatyam
na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va
mayy arpitatmecchati mad vinanyat

Those who have surrendered their hearts to Me do not desire the positions of Brahma or Indra, sovereignty over the whole earth, the kingdom of the lower planets, mystic perfections such as anima, or even the state of liberation. They desire nothing but Me. The phrase mayy arpitatmecchati in the above quoted Bhagavatam shloka means, "To be steadfast in My dhyana." The word tyagat in the present shloka means, "One becomes peaceful only when he is free from material desires. This means that besides being attracted to My form, qualities and so on, one's senses become detached from all other sense objects."


Within these three types of bhakti-namely smarana (remembrance), manana (contemplation) and abhyasa (practice) -jnana in the form of manana (placing one's intelligence in Shri Bhagavan), is superior to abhyasa.

Superior to jnana in the form of manana is dhyana, which is characterised by smarana (rememberance). This is because, in that jnana which is characterised by manana, one only achieves dhyana with great endeavour and trouble. But when one becomes perfect in manana, then dhyana (smarana) is achieved easily. When one becomes perfect in dhyana, his desires for the pleasures of Svarga and moksha are dispelled. When desires for sense enjoyment and moksha are dispelled, the mind becomes attached to the form, qualities, etc., of Bhagavan. In such a state, one becomes detached from all other sense objects, and thus one naturally attains peace. But if one has not attained perfection in dhyana, then such a sadhaka who is also unable to perform abhyasa (the practice) of dhyana should engage in nishkama-karma-yoga which is offered to Bhagavan. By this process one can gradually perform bhakti to Bhagavan with a peaceful mind.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "O Arjuna, sadhana-bhakti is the only means to attain nirupadhika-prema (unalloyed love). This bhakti-yoga is of two types: 1) the activities of the internal sense, the mind that is fixed on Bhagavan; and 2) the activities of the external senses. The activities of the internal sense, the mind which is fixed on Bhagavan, is of three types: smarana (remembrance), manana (contemplation) and abhyasa (practice), but for less intelligent people, these three types of activities are very difficult to perform. The second type of bhakti, the actions of the external senses in the form of hearing and chanting, is easily performed by everyone. Therefore, manana, intelligence in relation to Me, is the superior jnana, and is better than abhyasa. Here, jnana does not refer to jnana-yoga. During abhyasa, one performs dhyana with endeavour, but when one achieves the result of abhyasa, which is manana, dhyana is easily performed. Dhyana is superior to mere jnana, because, when dhyana becomes stable, one becomes free from the desire to enjoy either the pleasures of Svarga or the happiness of moksha. When both of these desires are dispelled, one achieves peace in the form of detachment from all sense objects, but not detadetachment from My transcendental form, qualities, etc."


adveshta sarva-bhutanam / maitrah karuna eva ca
nirmamo nirahankarah / sama-duhkha-sukhah kshami

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santushtah satatam yogi / yatatma dridha-nishcayah
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir / yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah

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sah---he; yah---who; (is) adveshta---non-envious; sarvabh utanam---to all living beings; maitrah---friendly to all persons; karunah eva ca---and merciful to lowly persons; (who is) nirmamah---free from possessiveness; (who is) nir-aham-karah. devoid of false ego; sama-duhkha-sukhah---even-minded in happiness and distress (con-sidering them the fruits of prarabdhakarma); kshami---tolerant; satatam---always; santushtah---fully satisfied; yogi---who is linked-up in bhakti-yoga; yata-atma---sensecontrolled; dridha-nishcayah---firmly determined to perform ananya-bhakti; arpita---who has offered; mano-buddhih---mind and intelligence; mayi---to Me; (that) mat-bhaktah---bhakta of Mine; (is) priyah---dear; me---to Me.

My bhakta who is non-envious, compassionate and friendly towards all living beings, free from feelings of possessiveness, devoid of false ego and evenminded in both happiness and distress, who is forgiving, ever-content, endowed with bhakti-yoga, in control of his senses, resolutely determined and dedicated to Me in both mind and intelligence, is very dear to Me.


"What is the nature of the bhaktas who have attained the aforementioned stage of peace?" Expecting this question from Arjuna, Shri Bhagavan is explaining the various qualities of His different types of bhaktas in eight shlokas, the first of which begins with the word adveshta. A person who is not envious of one who envies him, but instead maintains a friendly attitude towards him, is called adveshta. Desiring that such a discontented person should not become degraded or fall down due to his envious attitude, bhaktas feel only compassion for him. If someone questions how, and with what type of discrimination one can show friendship and compassion towards an envious person, the answer is that these moods exist naturally within the bhaktas, who do not discriminate. "Because My bhakta is nirmamah, meaning that he does not have a feeling of possessiveness towards son, wife and so forth, and does not falsely identify with the body, he is free from envy towards anyone." Furthermore, why should he discriminate when, by not doing so, he can avoid the misery arising from envy? One may wonder if he would feel any bodily pain if another person ran at him or beat him with shoes or a fist. In response Bhagavan says: sama-duhkha-sukhah. "He remains evenminded both in happiness and in misery."

As Candrardha Shekhara (Lord Shiva) says in Shrimad- Bhagavatam (6.17.28): nararayana-parah sarve na. "Those who are devoted to Shri Narayana do not fear anyone because they see Svarga, moksha and naraka (hell) as equal." To see happiness and distress as equal is called sama-darshitva. Moreover, they think that any misery coming to them is the result of their prarabdha-karma, it must be faced. Becoming equipoised, they endure all misery with great tolerance. To convey this, Shri Bhagavan says that they are kshami, or forgiving. The root word ksham is used in the sense of tolerance. If the question is raised as to how such bhaktas maintain their lives, the response is santushtah, that is, they remain satisfied with whatever eatables they get by the will of providence or with little endeavour. Arjuna asked, "But earlier You said that they are even-minded both in misery and happiness, satisfied even if they face the hardship of not getting any food, so how can it be that they feel satisfaction when attaining food for themselves? This seems contradictory. " In response Shri Bhagavan says: satatam yogi. "Being endowed with bhakti-yoga, they want to maintain their bodies simply to attain perfection in bhakti." As it is said, "One must endeavour to acquire food to maintain one.s life. Such maintenance of the body is proper, because only by keeping the body healthy can one think of the Absolute, and by specific knowledge of the Absolute, one can attain brahma." If, by the will of providence, they do not get anything to eat, they remain undisturbed (yatatma). And if they have to face a situation that disturbs their minds, they still do not engage in the practice of ashtanga-yoga to pacify it. For this reason, they are known as dridha-nishcayah, that is, they never deviate from their sole purpose of attaining ananya-bhakti to Bhagavan. They remain devoted to remembrance of and contemplation on Bhagavan. "Such bhaktas are dear to Me, as they act in such a way that is pleasing to Me."


In previous shlokas, after explaining the various types of sadhana practised by aikantika (one-pointed) and sa-nishthita (steadfast) bhaktas, Shri Bhagavan is explaining their qualities in the next seven shlokas. Here, the word adveshta means that they do not even envy those who are envious of them. They think that such envy of them is the result of their prarabdha-karma as given by Parameshvara and therefore they envy no one. Rather, considering everyone as the dwelling place of Parameshvara, they maintain a friendly attitude towards all. Upon seeing the misery of others, they try to remove it, whatever the cause may be; therefore, they are compassionate. They consider the body and anything related to the body as transformations of material nature and different from their atma-svarupa (own self); thus they do not even have a feeling of possessiveness toward their own bodies, and while performing their activities, they remain free from false bodily identification. When they have to face material happiness and distress, they become neither elated nor disturbed as they are steady in both. Because they are forgiving, they are also tolerant. Since they remain content in all situations of loss or gain, fame or infamy, victory or defeat, they are yogis and remain steadily fixed in the sadhana given to them by Shri Gurudeva. The word yatatma means one who has control over the senses. Since they cannot be disturbed by any false logic, their determination is firm. In this material world, no misery can deviate them from bhagavad-bhakti. This is the special quality of aikantikabhaktas. They are endowed with the firm faith that, "I am the servant of Bhagavan," and their mind, body and everything else is surrendered unto the lotus feet of Shri Bhagavan. Therefore, such bhaktas are dear to Him. In Shrimad- Bhagavatam (11.11.29-32), Shri Krishna describes these qualities to His devotee Uddhava. They are also described in Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila (22.78-80).


yasman nodvijate loko / lokan nodvijate ca yah
harshamarsha-bhayodvegair / mukto yah sa ca me priyah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 12.15 <>

sah---one; yah---who; yasmat---by whom; lokah---people; na udvijate---are not disturbed; ca---and; yah---who; na udvijate--- is not disturbed; lokat---by (other) people; muktah---liberated; harsha---from elation; amarsha---intolerance; bhaya---fear; ca udvegaih---and anxiety; (is) priyah---dear; me---to Me. The bhakta who neither disturbs anyone, nor is himself disturbed by others, and who is free from mundane happiness, intolerance, fear and anxiety is certainly dear to Me.


Moreover, in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (5.18.12) it is said, "The devas along with all their good qualities only reside fully in those who have akincana-bhakti for Bhagavan." Such statements of Shrimad-Bhagavatam also confirm that all the good qualities which please Shri Bhagavan arise naturally by continuous abhyasa (practice of His bhakti). "Now hear those qualities in five shlokas, the first beginning with yasmat. My bhakta is free from mundane elation, intolerance, etc." While explaining the rarity of qualities like these, Shri Bhagavan further says: yo na hrishyati, etc. (Gita 12.17).


In these shlokas, Bhagavan Shri Krishna is describing other qualities which naturally manifest in the bhaktas by the influence of bhakti. "As I said previously, there is no possibility of My bhaktas. behaviour causing anybody any harm, since they are free from the tendency to be violent towards any living being, and have a friendly and compassionate disposition towards all. They do not create any fear or anxiety in anyone. Nobody can agitate them in any way, because they are even-minded both in happiness and misery. When they attain their desired goal, they do not feel elated; they do not become envious by seeing the superiority or progress of others, and their minds are never disturbed by fear or the anxiety of losing a possession." The import is this: "Those bhaktas who are free from elation, envy, fear and agitation are most dear to Me."


anapekshah shucir daksha / udasino gata-vyathah
sarvarambha-parityagi / yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 12.16 <>

sah---that; mat-bhaktah---bhakta of Mine; yah---who; (is) anapekshah---indifferent; shucih---pure; dakshah---expert; udasinah---aloof; gata-vyathah---free from agitation; (and who) parityagi---has fully renounced; sarva-arambha---all endeavours; (is) priyah---dear; me---to Me.

That bhakta of Mine who is indifferent to all mundane activities, who is internally and externally pure, who is expert, aloof, free from all agitation and careful to avoid any activity unfavourable to bhakti, is dear to Me.


Anapekshah means, "My bhaktas are unconcerned about all mundane affairs." Udasinah means that they remain indifferent in their dealings with society. It becomes a part of their nature to give up the seen (that which they are conscious of) and unseen (that which they are not aware of) fruits of their mundane activities and, if spiritual endeavours such as teaching shastra become unfavourable to their bhakti, they naturally give them up.


Furthermore it is said, "My bhaktas " who are anapeksha (free from the desire for objects that become available of their own accord), who are pure externally and internally, expert in grasping the essence of the Vedic literature, who are unbiased, indifferent, not agitated even when mistreated by others, and who do not make the slightest endeavour to perform any pious or impious work which is unfavourable to their bhagavad-bhakti " are dear to Me."


yo na hrishyati na dveshti / na shocati na kankshati
shubhashubha-parityagi / bhaktiman yah sa me priyah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 12.17 <>

sah bhaktiman---that devoted person; yah---who; na hrishyati--- neither becomes elated; na dveshti---nor grieves; ah---who; na shocati---neither laments; na kankshati---nor hankers; parityagi--- who fully renounces; shubha-ashubha---the results of pious and impious actions; (is) priyah---dear; me---to Me.

He who neither delights in mundane pleasures nor despairs in worldly sorrows, who does not lament for any loss or hanker for any gain, who renounces both pious and impious activities, and who serves Me with loving devotion, is indeed My dear bhakta.


"Those bhaktas who neither become overwhelmed with joy when they have a dear son or get a good disciple, or feel dejected over a wayward son or bad disciple, who do not become absorbed in lamentation at the loss of some lovable object, or desire some pleasing object which they do not have, who do not engage in either pious or sinful activities, and who are devoted unto Me, are dear to Me."


samah shatrau ca mitre ca / tatha manapamanayoh
shitoshna-sukha-duhkheshu / samah sanga-vivarjitah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 12.18 <>

tulya-ninda-stutir mauni / santushto yena kenacit
aniketah sthira-matir / bhaktiman me priyo narah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 12.19 <>

bhaktiman---the devoted; narah---man; (who is) samah---equal; shatrau---towards an enemy; ca---and; mitre---friend; ca tatha---as well as; mana-apamanayoh---in honour and dishonour; samah---equal; shita-ushna---in cold and heat; sukha-duhkheshu---happiness and unhappiness; sanga-vivarjitah---free from attachment to (mundane) association; tulya---equal; ninda-stutih---in blame and praise; mauni---silent; santushtah---fully satisfied; yena kenacit---by whatever necessities for bodily maintenance come to him (by the Lord's grace); aniketah---without attachment to any residence; (and) sthira-matih---whose mind is fixed; (is) priyah---dear; me---to Me.

Being blessed with My bhakti, he who looks equally upon friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honour and dishonour, heat and cold, joy and anguish, praise and criticism; who is free from unfavourable association, who practises silence by controlling his speech, who remains satisfied with whatever comes to him, who is without attachment to his place of residence and whose intelligence is firmly fixed, such a bhakta is naturally dear to Me. 18 - 19


The word aniketah means without attachment to mundane possessions such as a house.


Shri Krishna now concludes His glorification of the natural qualities of His dear bhaktas in the present two shlokas. They behave equally towards enemies and friends, and they remain equipoised in honour and dishonour, heat and cold and happiness and distress. They are not attached to any bad association, and do not feel unhappy when criticised or happy when glorified. They do not speak anything except bhagavat-katha. They remain content with either palatable or unpalatable foodstuffs which are useful for the maintenance of the body and which come by the will of Bhagavan. They do not reside in one place, and their intelligence is fixed and focused on the transcendental goal. Such bhaktas are dear to Him.


ye tu dharmamritam idam / yathoktam paryupasate
shraddadhana mat-parama / bhaktas te'tiva me priyah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 12.20 <>

tu---indeed; te---those; bhaktah---bhaktas; ye---who; (are) shraddadhanah---faithful; mat-paramah---devoted to Me; (and) paryupasate---worship in every way; idam---this; dharmaam ritam---nectarean dharma; yatha---as; uktam---described (by Me); (are) ativa---extremely; priyah---dear; me---to Me. Certainly, those bhaktas who engage in My exclusive bhajana with firm faith and worship this nectarean dharma that I have described are exceedingly dear to Me.


While concluding His description of the characteristics in which His bhaktas are steadily fixed, Shri Bhagavan is explaining the result for those who hear, study or meditate on these instructions with a desire to attain them. These characteristics are all born of bhakti and bring peace. They are not material qualities. It is said: bhaktya tushyati krishno na gunaih. "Krishna is pleased only by bhakti, not by any material qualities. " There are unlimited statements like this in the shastra.

Here the word tu (but) is used to show a different subject. Bhaktas who have the above-stated characteristics are fixed in certain good qualities. But bhakti sadhakas who desire all these qualities are superior to perfected mystics and those who have perfected jnana. The word ativa has been used here to indicate this.

Bhakti is supreme, pleasurable and the most easily achievable among all sadhyas (goals). In this chapter, many such qualities of bhakti have been delineated. Jnana has been described as nimba (a bitter lemon) and bhakti as draksha (sweet grapes). Sadhakas who are greedy for their respective tastes accept a particular one, according to their desires.

Thus ends the Bhavanuvada of the Sarartha-Varshini Tika, by Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, on theTwelfth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, which gives pleasure to the bhaktas and is accepted by all saintly persons.


In concluding this chapter, Bhagavan Shri Krishna says, "Those who are devoted to Me and endowed with faith thoroughly worship this dharmamrita, the nectarean dharma of immortality, as described by Me. Such bhaktas of Mine are very dear to Me." Bhagavan is only pleased by bhakti, not merely by a person's qualities. All good qualities naturally manifest in bhaktas by the influence of bhakti. There is no possibility of good qualities arising in non-devotees who are averse to Hari.

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (5.18.12) says:
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna
manorathenasati dhavato bahih

All the devatas along with their superior qualities become manifest in the body of one who has developed unalloyed bhakti to Shri Bhagavan. On the other hand, a person who is devoid of bhakti and engaged in material activities has no good qualities. He is driven by his own mental speculations, and must submit to the Lord's external potency. How can there be any good qualities in such a man?

Shrila Shridhara Svami has written that the intention of the Twelfth Chapter is to determine which is the superior worship of Shri Bhagavan, nirguna (impersonal) or saguna (personal). Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana writes, "Among the various types of sadhana, only shuddha-bhakti, which is supremely effective and performed without any trouble, quickly bestows attainment of Bhagavan. This is the essence of this chapter." Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "Those who are devoted to Me faithfully worship, hear, study, contemplate and practise this dharmamrita as described by Me from beginning to end. They are, indeed, My bhaktas and therefore are very dear to Me. A jiva attains nirupadhikaprema (pure love free from all motivation) by following this gradual, step-by-step process, as described by Me."