Bhakti - Krishna's answer -By Dr. Komal Prasad
Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Om shri gurubhyo namaha
From verse No.30 to 34 of chapter 9; Krishna completes his teaching by glorifying bhakthi and teaching us about the greatness of bhakthi. Bhakti can transform a person.
Bhakthi has got several layers, it is like a flight of stairs/step, it is like ladder, Begin from the lowest rung of the ladder, karma lakṣaṇa bhakthi; then upāsana lakṣaṇa bhakthi; and then jñāna lakṣaṇa;
Since it has many rungs, anybody can start bhakthi; according to his level; Not that
you must study nirguṇam Brahma; you need not start there; Start with karma
yōga; which is easy; even you can practice sakāma karma; but dedicate it to the Lord, so anybody can start bhakthi; whatever be the level.
If it is so easy, why do we suffer or hesitate to go further?
The obstacles to climb up are -guilt about our past and the thoughts about our inherent limitations.
And Krishna clearly says here, even if a person has been a very corrupt
person, taking to all kinds of negative activities, even that person need not entertain
guilt; because guilt is one of the most powerful obstacles; because guilt leads to
diffidence: lack of self-confidence; and diffidence is the greatest obstacle because if I am diffident; even if all others are confident; and circumstances are favourable, no use; on the other hand, if I am confident, even if all others are diffident, even if circumstances are difficult, it will work; and therefore, spiritual sadhana requires self-confidence;
Therefore Krishna says never have guilt, once you have understood that your
lifestyle has been unhealthy; decide to change, once you turn over a new leaf;
and decided to change, once such a resolution is made, the very decision makes you a saint.
api cēt sudurācārō bhajatē māmananyabhāk|
sādhurēva sa mantavyaḥ samyagvyavasitō hi saḥ|| 9.30 ||
And not only that, as we see in the picture above, even inherent disadvantages does not matter, there may be some people who have got disadvantages because
of their very birth; because of their parentage; because of their location, etc.
There can be people with inherent disadvantages but even those disadvantaged people can practice bhakthi and attain liberation. It is like various pawns in the game of chess- queen, bishop, knight, king, rook, pawns- each with their own capabilities and limitations, which may be inherent or which may be because of the position they are in. But those limitations are pertaining to the game- on the chequered board of black and white squares.
For spiritual sadhana, where the goal is to transcend the realm of black and white, nama and rupa, beyond the realm of good and bad, one needs to just get on the ladder to ascend - to reach the infinite.
So, Start. Get on the ladder. Ascend. Be a bhakta.
And therefore Arjuna: be a bhaktha
and how to be a bhaktha, is detailed in this verse 9.30;
<> The definition of a bhaktha, is beautifully presented in verse 9.34 .
First stage, madbhaktā bhava;
first you learn to love Me, at least for the sake of worldly goals; does not matter;
Then in due course, learn to love Me as the very goal itself. We have to understand the difference between these two stages.
In the first stage, Bhagavān is not the goal; through Bhagavān as means, I want to achieve worldly ends;
Next stage is madparaayanaha - keep Me as the goal;
Then the third stage is manmanā bhava - never forget this goal;
The fourth stage is madyājī bhava - convert your very life into a form of worship, taking you towards the goal;
And then Mām namaskuru; the crucial final factor is even when you are progressing, remember the grace of the Lord is required; therefore be humble; Never become arrogant because of your spiritual progress; Then like in a snake and ladder game, the snake will take you down;therefore be humble; seek the grace of the Lord.
If these five factors are taken care of, you are My bhaktha; and sooner or later, you
will certainly attain Me; mām ēva iṣyasi. So with this glorification of bhakthi, Krishna
concludes the 9th chapter.
Based on Swami Paramarthananda's talks