Qualities of Bhakta Who Is Blessed By Moksha (106)


Lesson 106 shows that with devotion alone the mind can capture the multifaceted nature of reality. But obstacle to devotion is notion of “me” and “mine”. They are reduced with viveka (discernment) and vairagya (seeing the 4 defects of any experience/object).

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11: Verse 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55


  • Arjuna’s mind lacked necessary qualifications, which denied him permanently holding the vision of viśva-rūpa in the mind.
    • What are the general qualifications: (sādhana-catuṣṭaya)
      • Viveka (discrimination of nitya/anitya):
        • The ONE Brahman alone is nitya (permanent).
        • Everything else (other then that) is anitya (impermanent).
      • Vairagaḥ (Dispassion, which wasn’t issue for Arjuna):
        • iha svarga bhogeṣu icchā rāhityam: Absence of desire for enjoyment in present (world) and future (heaven).
        • Objectivity: Understand the world according to the knowledge in śāstra, and not biases.
  • Without qualifications, an enthusiastic mind in honeymoon, quickly recedes back to habituated ways of seeing the world. Meaning the mind quickly loses interest in the object which was initially giving it honeymoon.
    • In Arjuna’s case, he lost interest for viśva-rūpa, because he didn’t come in terms with death/decay before being given divya-cakṣuḥ.
  • Because of Arjuna’s unpreparedness, he asked Krishna to withdraw the vision, back to comfortable eka-rūpa/iṣṭa-devata.
  • Let’s see what happens…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 48

na veda-yajña-adhyayanaiḥ na dānaiḥ | na ca kriyābhiḥ na tapobhiḥ ugraiḥ
evam rūpaḥ śakyaḥ aham nṛ-loke | draṣṭum tvat anyena kuru-pravīra
Neither by the study of the Vēdas and yajñas, nor by charity, nor by rituals, nor by severe austerities can I be seen in this form in the world of mortals by anyone other than you, Oh Arjuna!

  • Krishna is pointing out that bhakti is the sādhana which ultimately leads to permanent viśva-rūpa appreciation.
  • To bring out the effectiveness of bhakti, it seems Krishna is doing it at expense of calling other sādhanas inferior (EG: Not by yajñas, austerities, charity).
    • However statement is in context of what Arjuna has already heard in previous chapters.
    • In reality, all sādhanās are equally significant at various stages of life.
      • EG: In CH4, 12 yajñas as given by Krishna.
        • Vrata yajña: Involves taking up special vows which help sharpen one’s mind and senses.
        • Svādhyāya yajña: Reading and/or studying scriptures, repetition of a mantra (japa), introspection.
        • prāṇāyāma yajña: Control of inhalation, exhalation.
        • āhāra yajña: Offering right food in the right quantity for the digestive fire.
        • Yoga yajña: 8-fold path of: yama, niyama, asana, prananyama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samādhi.
        • Dravya yajña: Social work and charity.
  • Also in Taittariya Upanishad, it says most effective sādhana for spiritual growth is Svādhyāya pravacanam (study and share scriptural knowledge).
    • But here Krishna is seemingly saying “All sādhanas are useless in blessing viśva-rūpa, except bhakti”.
    • How to reconcile? To bring importance to a particular subject-matter, you contrast it with others.
  • QUESTION: What is bhakti referring to? Jijñāsu bhakta.
    • In CH7 (V14-16), 4 types of bhaktas:
      • Ārtaḥ bhakta:
        • Only has bhakti when in crises.
        • EG: If person wants to become a better speaker, uninterested in viśva-rūpa-darśanam.
      • Arthārthī bhakta:
        • Commercial bhakti. I will donate, as long as God ___.
      • Jijñāsu bhakta:
        • Sole desire is eka-rūpa Īśvara darśanam > which leads to viśva-rūpa (aneka-rūpa).
      • Jñāni: Will cover in verse 54.
  • Summary: No amount of sophisticated Vedic rituals, no matter how much punya they’re meant to provide… will not give viśva-rūpa.
    • Because they also need vicāra (reflection, ponder, contemplation, inquiry, consideration).

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 49

mā te vyathā mā ca vimūḍha-bhāvaḥ |  dṛṣṭvā rūpam ghoram īdṛk mama idam
vyapeta-bhīḥ prīta-manāḥ punaḥ tvam | tat eva me rūpam idam prapaśya
Seeing such a frightening form of mine, may you have neither fear nor delusion. With a pleased mind free from fear, see again that very same form of Mine.

  • SUMMARY: Krishna withdraws his form because Arjuna wants the relatable iṣṭa-deva Kṛṣṇa.
  • Meaning lack of qualification manifests in two ways:
    • The clarity/epiphany is subject to coming/going. Lights turn on/off.
      • With persistence, lights stay on.
    • (Arjuna’s case) Doesn’t fully understand meaning of advaitam. Often produces fear. EG:
      • It means I will no longer be interested in this world, since everything will be the same.
        • But can’t abandon my family who need me.
      • I won’t have connection/memory to my prior life, since false person has “died”.
      • I’ll lose all friends.
      • Ego death.
      • Paramarthānanda subject: If I get mokṣa, I won’t get chance to visit svarga-loka. Thus I’ll put mokṣa
  • What does Vedānta say to such unqualified minds?
    • Do your duties legitimately. Take all results as Īśvara-prasāda. This over time will habituate mind to think of Lord (eventually asking, “What is God?”, which leads into knowledge).
  • Hence Arjuna, worry not. There’s 7 more chapters for opportunity of qualifications.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 50

sañjayaḥ uvāca
iti arjunam vāsudevaḥ tathā uktvā | svakam rūpam darśayāmāsa bhūyaḥ |
āśvāsayāmāsa ca bhītam enam | bhūtvā punaḥ saumya-vapuḥ mahātmā ||
Sanjaya said – Having said thus to Arjuna, Lord Krishna showed again His own form. And having assumed the pleasing form once again, the great Lord consoled that frightened Arjuna.

  • Bhagavān has withdrawn his form from viśva-rūpa (aneka-rūpa) to related avatāra form (eka-rūpa).
  • What do we mean by withdrawing viśva-rūpa?
    • Viśva-rūpa = universe. No question of arrival/departure. Else world would disappear, and there would be no CH12.
    • Thus it means Krishna withdrew divya-cakṣuḥ from Arjuna’s antaḥkaraṇa, because mind wasn’t ready.
      • Just as grade 2 math student quietly withdraws himself from grade 10 math class.
        • What is helplessly causing him to withdraw? Unprepared mind.
  • What exactly is divya-cakṣuḥ?
    • Mind which isn’t overpowered by notion of “me” and “mine”.
    • The higher proportion of me/mine, the more narrow-minded is perception of the WHOLE. EG:
      • Suppose your relative is standing infront of mountain. If focus camera lens on “MY relative”, entire mountain gets defocused.
        • And if focus is on “MY understanding that big-picture is more significant”, then lose sight of individual people/objects.
      • In school, children are involved in theater drama programs.
        • Often parents come only to see “MY child playing a section”. Soon as “MY child” is off the stage, parents leave.
        • Meaning parent misses viśva-rūpa-darśanam of the TOTAL program, because of “MY son”, “MY daughter”.
      • Ocean in-front of me, I’m lying down and thinking about “MY life”. Hence oblivious to entire ocean.
  • Meaning, long as we are holding onto sense of “mine”, the mind continues living in a private finite world. It’s unavailable to accommodate a larger vision.
    • Thus person experiences finite cheerfulness.
    • That’s why kids are naturally cheerful. Because “mine” notion is still weak.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 51

dṛṣṭvā idam mānuṣam rūpam tava saumyam janārdana |
idānīm asmi saṃvṛttaḥ sacetāḥ prakṛtim gataḥ ||
Arjuna said – oh Krishna! Seeing this pleasing human form of yours, I have now become peaceful, I have come to normalcy.

  • Verse reminds us the inevitable outcome if attempt to spiritually bypass, or not address the relative person.
    • Because even if Arjuna received a rare blessing, it was his own lack of prior self-growth that took it away.
    • What’s more, even if Krishna’s gift were to remain with Arjuna, it won’t be enjoyable.
    • Meaning, natural process of evolution, can’t be cheated. Any shortcut leads to disappointment.
  • SUMMARY: Back to anuṣṭup meter. Arjuna speaks of his cheer for seeing Krishna back.


Summing up chapter, Bhagavan speaks:

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 52

sudurdarśam idam rūpam dṛṣṭavān asi yat mama |
devāḥ api asya rūpasya nityam darśana-kāṅkṣiṇaḥ ||

The Lord said – This form of Mine which you have seen is very difficult to see. Even Gods are always craving for the vision of this form.

  • Arjuna, what you received wasn’t because you deserve it, nor because you’re qualified. But because of my grace, which came from your sincerity to know Me.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 53

na aham vedaiḥ na tapasā na dānena na ca ijyayā ।
śakyaḥ evam-vidhaḥ draṣṭum dṛṣṭavān asi mām yathā ॥

Neither by the study of the Vēdas, nor by austerity, nor by charity, nor by worship can I be seen in this form as you have seen Me.

  • Question is why can’t mere study of Vedas, austerities, charity, worship provide complete understanding of non-dual reality?
    • Can mother’s love be purchased? No.
    • Does child need to worship her, do austerities, read Vedas infront of her… to gain her love? No.
      • Meaning, what is priceless, cannot be attained by any finite action like: sacrifices, charity, austerities, yajñās (because they’re meant to purchase something which comes at a cost).
    • In same way, Bhagavān’s priceless viśva-rūpa cannot be purchased by any One particular action.
      • Which is why bhakti which leads to viśva-rūpa is not One particular sādhana. (Will see in 54/55).
  • QUESTION: If viśva-rūpa-darśanam is rare (per V52), then what is the means of being blessed by it? Krishna will give means in V54-55.
  • SUMMARY: Again, God can’t be seen by study of four vedas, ascetic practices, charity, rituals. Verse repeated to provoke a question. If vision isn’t attainable by these practices, then what’s left to give vision of Lord?

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 54

bhaktyā tu ananyayā śakyaḥ aham evam-vidhaḥ arjuna ।
jñātum draṣṭum ca tattvena praveṣṭum ca parantapa ॥

Oh Arjuna! However, by undivided devotion I can be seen in this form, known truly, and merged into Oh Arjuna!

  • Krishna points out the means to viśva-rūpa-darśanam (prerequisite to mokṣa) is ananya-bhakti.
  • What is ananya-bhakti?
    • As mentioned in V48, CH7 mentioned 4 levels of bhakti: Ārtaḥ, Arthārthī, Jijñāsu, Jñāni.
    • We can further classify into them 3 stages:
      • Stage 1: Ārtaḥ, Arthārthī.
        • Everyone starts here.
        • Devotion & worship of Lord for seeking worldly benefits (dharma, artha, kāma).
        • Lord is the means. Experiences/objects are the end.
        • Called in:
          • Upaniṣad: preyaḥ.
          • Bhagavad Gītā: sakāma-bhakti.
      • Stage 2: Jijñāsu.
        • Called in:
          • Upaniṣad: śreyaḥ.
          • Bhagavad Gītā: niṣkāma-bhakti, ananya-bhakti (CH11)
        • Through course of time in Stage 1, eventually jīva’s viveka sharpens, and notices worldly things are subject to 4 doṣas (defects):
          • duḥkha miśritattvam: Experiences are mixed with sorrow/disappointment/pain.
          • atṛptikaratvam: Dissatisfaction, because fancy wears out. Leads to asking for more!
          • anityatvam: No object leads to lasting fulfillment.
          • bandhakathvam: I get addicted/enslaved, dependent on objects presence.
        • Acknowledging the 4 doṣas, there is reversal in perception.
          • World is no longer end, it becomes the means. While God becomes end.
          • Meaning, purpose of life changes from solving ongoing daily situations, to simplifying life, so more time can go on vicāra (inquiry) pertaining to jīva, jagat, Parameśvaraḥ.
            • This is called: ananya-bhakti / mumukṣutva-bhakti.
          • Indirect VS Direct:
            • Ananya-bhakti starts out as indirect knowledge (parokṣa-jñāna): “There is an Īśvara, which is the cause of the universe”.
            • Then through time, changes to direct-immediate knowledge (aparokṣa-jñānam): “The essence of self and Īśvara is not-two. There is only an apparent difference on name-form level”. This is stage 3.
      • Stage 3: Jñāni.
        • Parameśvara is neither means nor end. Because as long as He is either, the He is apart from myself (the knower of Him). IE: Dvaitam.
        • Stage 3 is direct knowledge (aparokṣa), that Īśvara is not the sought. But Īśvara is the very seeker, self (ātmā).
        • This removal of notion that I am different from Īśvara is called “yoga”, merger. It’s a cognitive process within antaḥkaraṇa.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 55

mat-karma-kṛt mat-paramaḥ mat-bhaktaḥ saṅga-varjitaḥ ।
nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ saḥ mām eti pāṇḍava ॥

He who does works for Me, who is My devotee, who keeps Me as the supreme goal! who is free from attachment, and who is free from hatred towards all, reaches me, Oh Arjuna !

  • Seed verse for Chapter 12, where definition and how-to of bhakti is thoroughly expounded.
  • Brief teaser into Chapter 12:
    • Firstly what is bhakti? It a mental attitude.
      • Born out of what? Understanding. 
      • Of what? Presence of Īśvara is everywhere in form of time-space-objects, laws-orders… which are always evident.
    • Also, Bhakti is not one specific sādhana. It is range of sādhanās.
    • In Vedās, bhakti is divided into 3 categories:
      • Karma Yoga, Upāsana, Jñāna-Yoga.
      • In CH12, these 3 categories are classified into 5 categories, for more specificity.
  • 3 Categories are:
    • Karma-Yoga:
      • Who is Karma-Yoga for?
        • One who assumes “I am a doer (cause). Meaning I must also be enjoyer/sufferer (effect)”.
          • I am a cause-effect within my private world.
        • To understand karma-yoga, follow this logic…
          • Step 1: When I do an action (karma), a result (karma-phalam) is generated (now/future).
          • Step 2: What made that result possible? Cause-effect, time, other people, many laws-orders.
          • Step 3: What One principle connected all these variables? Presence of all-knowledge-power (Īśvara).
          • Step 4: Therefore, I dedicate all actions to feet of the Lord.
            • And whatever results come (favourable/unfavourable), they are also because of presence of Lord.
              • Thus results are taken as: Īśvara prasāda (I understand that THIS-result is one possibility within the grand order).
        • This 4 step understanding is form of bhakti, because it modifies your responses/attitude to events.
    • Upāsana:
      • What is upāsana?
        • Various forms of mental meditations (dhyāna).
          • EG: Kriyā-Yoga, Tantra, Rāja-Yoga, Kashmir Shaivism, Asthanga-Yoga, Hatha-Yoga.
      • Where is context of upāsana?
        • Karma-Yoga is suitable for extroverted minds (looking outwards). Too impatient or undisciplined to look inwards.
          • Busy interacting with world.
        • Ultimately, karma-yogī realizes that God can’t be found outside. He is within self.
        • Thus personality gradually converts from extrovert to introvert.
        • Person becomes detective not of outside events, but of inside mental processes. Starts managing them using techniques.
          • Spiritual world of techniques to do (cultivating/channeling/convert energy).
    • Jñāna-Yoga (final stage):
      • This involves study and contemplation of śāstra under guidance of ācārya.
      • It’s objective is to reconcile contradictions about reality.
  • All these 3 forms of bhakti are investigated in Chapter 12.
  • Moving onto Verse 55. Devotee who reaches Me, has certain qualities. What are they?…
  • mat-karma-kṛt: Perform actions for sake of the Lord. Karma-Yogī.
    • What does this mean to “perform actions for sake of the Lord”?
      • Perspective 1:
        • It means, your actions are keeping with dharma. Because dharma is the moral code of God.
        • This means you suspend your personal biases, and do what is right for the greater good. EG:
          • Judge suspends his emotional attachment for son in court, and makes order for prison.
          • Parent provides appropriate punishment for son’s irresponsible behaviour, instead of submitting to “his/her love for him”.
            • Knowing if behavior is left unchecked, son will advertise immorality as adult.
          • Each example is called: svadharma (everyday thoughts/actions are in name of ethics, decency, consideration, fairness for all).
            • This means attachment is not an issue, as long as your conduct (likes/dislikes) is keeping with dharma.
      • Perspective 2:
        • Knowing all time-bound experiences resolve into one Cause, for this reason I convert all preyaḥ (sakāma-bhakti: arthā/kāma) to śreyaḥ (ananya-bhakti).
          • Because just like the decorated-beautiful cardboard chair… do anything with it, except don’t sit on it.
          • Similarly, enjoy the decorated-world, except don’t sit on it (thinking it’s a reliable foundation).
            • Instead, find reliable joy in presence of Bhagavān.
  • mat-paramaḥ: Bhakta refuses to get too-involved in experiences. Knowing they are bound to carry trails of related thoughts. These thoughts will force mind to contemplate on them.
    • Therefore bhakta protects his/her mind, so that more time-energy can channel towards the One Goal (after which there’s nothing else to accomplish).
  • mat-bhaktaḥ: Bhakta is devoted to Me alone, which is indicated in his/her enthusiasm in relation to scriptures.
    • The more you have knowledge about something, the more you’re enthusiastic about it. Meaning enthusiasm is indicator how firm is your self-knowledge.
    • Thus, the firmer the knowledge, the more enthusiastic the bhakti.
  • saṅga-varjitaḥ: Bhakta’s mind is relaxed about objects/people.
    • Bhakta refuses to place excessive meaning onto things. How? By looking deeper into their nature, rather then surface level.
      • IE: Less attached to certain outcomes, less need to please people.
    • This is natural because the more you immerse yourself in Vedānta, the smaller the world becomes.
      • General gauge:
        • The less I know where I stand in reference to big picture = world is big.
        • The more I know where I stand/what my role is = world is small.
  • nirvairaḥ: Bhakta’s personality is free from hostility towards animals, insects, humans.
    • How to be free of hostility towards unethical acts of others?
      • Everyone follows their nature.
        • Mosquito helplessly bites.
        • Human’s saṃskārās helplessly makes him like THIS.
        • If you came from same background, you likely do the same.
    • Therefore, true compassion arises from your knowledge of the nature of the object.
  • sa mām eti: Such a person surely attains Me. I grace him/her with the guru who provides jñānam.
    • Because unless Lord graces, the seeker won’t know whether person has jñānam or not.
      • Everyone either looks worthy of listening to, or suspicious.
  • Nutshell: What to do to invoke His grace (which leads to mokṣa)?
    • Consider Īśvara as supreme goal (mat-parama), love wholeheartedly (mat-bhakta), serve enthusiastically through all actions (mat-karma-kṛt).
    • Refuse to categorize experiences into favourable/unfavourable, because:
      • Categorization constricts flow of love towards Īśvara (world).
        • Instead attempt to inquire into the nature of the person/object.
          • EG: Instead of saying “What a power-hungry politician”, rather say “I wonder what kind of childhood he had that makes him think like this”.
      • Likes/dislikes can only be towards finite objects. Therefore take thinking away from the infinite Goal.
    • By not letting your biases color in the world, you cultivate a heart free of attachments (saṅga-varjita), and hatred (nirvaira).


Keywords: acarya, ahara, antahkarana, aparoksa, aparoksha, artah, artha, artharthi, atma, atrptikaratvam, avatara, bhagavan, cakshu, caksu, catushtaya, catustaya, darsanam, darshana, dhyana, dosas, doshas, duhkha, ishvara, istha, isvara, iṣṭa, jijnāsu, jiva, jnana-yoga, jnani, kriya, krsna, kāma, mat-karma-krt, mishritattvam, moksa, moksha, mumukshutva, mumuksutva, nishkama, niskama, paramarthananda , parameshvara, paramesvara , paroksa-jnana, paroksha, prasada, preya, raja, rupa, sadhana , sakama-bhakti, samadhi, samskaras, sanga-varjita, sastra, shastra, shreya, sreya, svadhyaya, upasana, vairaga, vedanta , vedas, vicara, visva vishva rupa, yajnas

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 15 Dec, 2020


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