The Twelfth Teaching
The Way of Love and Devotion
Who understands the discipline deeply?
The man who worships you with pure devotion or the man who loves the Imperishable, Unmanifest?
Those men who love and worship me with true faith, entrusting their minds on me are perfect in yoga.
But the men who love and worship Imperishable, Ineffable, Unmanifest, Omnipresent, Inconceivable, and Immutable at the summit of existence, rejoicing in the welfare of all beings-they too will reach me at last.
But their path is much more arduous when they cling to my unmanifest nature; for embodies beings, the unmanifest is hard to attain.
But those men intent on me, who renounce all actions to me and worship me, meditating with singular discipline,
when they entrust their minds to me, Arjuna, I soon arise to rescue them from the ocean of death and rebirth.
Focus your mind on me, let your understanding enter me; then you will dwell in me without doubt.
If you cannot concentrate your thought firmly on me, then seek to reach me, Arjuna, by practice of concentration.
Even if you fail in practice, dedicate yourself to action; performing actions for my sake, you will achieve success.
If you are powerless to do even this, follow my basic teaching, always act without attachment, and surrender all fruit of action.
Knowledge is better than practice, meditation is better than knowledge, and best of all is which brings peace.
He who bears no hate, is kind and compassionate, is always serene, unmoved by suffering and joy.
Free of the “I” and “mine”, self-controlled, firm and patient, his mind focused on me, he is dear to me.
The world does not flee from him, nor does he flee from the world;
Free of delight, rage, fear, envy, hatred, grief, desire and disgust, he is dear to me.
He who is pure, impartial, skilled, unworried, untroubled, selfless in all undertakings, that man is he dear to me.
He who, devoted to me does not rejoice or hate, grieve or feel desire, relinquishing fortune and misfortune-he is the one dear to me.
Impartial to foe and friend, the same in honor and contempt, cold and heat, joy and suffering, he is free from attachment.
Neutral to blame and praise, silent, content with his fate, unsheltered, firm in thought-he is dear to me.
Even dearer to me are devotees who realize the essence of sacred duty as I have taught it and surrender their lives to me-I love them with great love.
As I Understand It
According to the Gita personal devotion is the most powerful motivation in spiritual life. Certainly, millions of men and women find spiritual fulfillment in love and devotion. The Upanishadic teachings of Hinduism, however, emphasize the path of knowledge. The Upanishads stress the efficacy of knowledge and wisdom with the same force as the Gita stresses on devotion.
According to the teachings of Upanishads seeking knowledge of the true Self, Atman, is the consummation of the spiritual wisdom. The Gita avoids such an approach. For Krishna seeking identification with Brahman is beyond the reach of embodies beings such as humans. For him, experiencing Brahman is not within the reach of ordinary people. It is much easier to love God in his human manifestation as a teacher, a lover, Father, Mother, or child.
Those who struggle to focus on devotion and love, Krishna suggests, should meditate. He teaches that if your personality is such that devotion and love does not easily flow, they can be cultivated through the practice of meditation.
The Bhagavad Gita, Translated for the Modern Reader with general introduction by Eknath Easwaran, chapter introductions by Diana Morrison. Nilgiri Press, Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, California.1996 (1st Pub. 1985).
The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna Counsel in Time of War, Translation and Introduction by Barbara Stoler Miller. Bantam Doubleday Dell Group, Inc. New York. Bantam Books, 1986.
Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation, Stephen Mitchell, Three Rivers Press, New York, 2000.