Treating Insecurity and Guilt & Why Moksha is Rare (76)


Lesson 76 compares sakama (selfish actions) & nishkam bhakti (self-less actions) to ensure student doesn't unsuspectingly mix them and hinder one's growth. What to offer to Ishvara during devotion (bhakti)? Do mistakes in worship (puja) matter? Why so few are freed from samsara? Cause of insecurity & guilt.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, CH9 – verse 26, 27, 28, 29, 30


  • Krishna is dealing in V20-29 with 2 types of bhakti (devotion: where is your focus on, most of the time).
    • sakāma-bhakti (concerned improving time/space experience here or hereafter) & niṣkāma-bhakti (concerned with freedom from time/space).
  • Gītā is not against sakāma-bhakti. Because it is not pāpa-karma. Also because it conforms to karma-kāṇḍa of Vedās (sacred texts describing how to live in harmony with the world).
    • In which case sakāma doesn’t regress jīva, but it is an obstacle to spiritual growth.
  • Bhakti-karmās are divided into 3 types:
    1. Sāttvika-karma (Niṣkāma-bhakti): Spiritual progression.
      • Only asks for spiritual desires. Mumukṣu.
      • If asks for material desires, they’re incidental and only for noble causes, which leads to citta śuddhi (purified mind).
      • Barometer: Little to no concern/anxiety for particular result from one’s actions. Because one did best they could (according to śāstra), thus let go on insisting a specific result. Another reason…
      • From doer (kartā) standpoint, bhakta considers everything done as: Offering to Īśvara (Īśvara arpaṇam)
      • From enjoyer (bhoktā) standpoint, bhakta considers everything received as: Graciousness of Īśvara; consideration/kindness (Īśvara prasāda).
        • Karma-Yoga CH3 shares identical definition. Then why 2 different names? Offering to Bhagavān & Grace of Bhagavān from standpoint of:
          • Action: Karma Yoga (actions are sāttvic)
          • Attitude: Niṣkāma-bhakti (purpose of life is for sake of spiritual expansion – all thoughts centered on growth)
    1. Rājasika-karma: Neither progression nor regression. Leads to material expansion but spiritual stagnation. Sakāma-bhakti category. Ups/downs in life are considered normal.
      • Drop gradually and replace by niṣkāma-bhakti. Because gṛhasta-aśrama has duties, hence there's a tendency to use pūjā (worship) for resolving world issues. Must grow out of this ASAP.
    2. Tāmasika-karma: Spiritual regression.
      • Making use of elemental forces including devatās to hurt others. Drop immediately! EG: Cursing others. “I hope he/she suffers one day because of this”. Or wishing others ill-will.
      • Commonly happens in “eka rūpa īśvara” (iṣṭa-devata/personal God) category. EG: One loves Allah, but causes harm to non-Allah-believers. One loves and praises Jesus, but is cruel to animals.
  • What matters most is motive behind the bhakti.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 – Verse 26:

patraṃ puṣpaṃ phalaṃ toyaṃ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati |
tadahaṃ bhaktyupahṛtamaśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ ||

With devotion, whoever offers Me, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, that devout offering of the pure-minded one I accept.


  • Throughout śāstra, both sakāma/niṣkāma rituals are talked about. EG…
    • Niskāma: sandhya vandhanam or Karma-Yoga meant for citta śuddhi > jñāna-yoga
    • Sakāma: putrakāmeṣti-yajña. Meant for putra (son) prāpti (acquire)
  • For sakāma-bhakti, rules/regulations are many and complicated.
    • EG: Chant ‘this' X times, go to certain place, come at certain time, deity to invoke, dress to wear, number of priests, how much dakṣiṇā (reward) expected.
    • If disobey any rule or make mistakes (like mispronouncing words during a mantra), have to perform atonement / propitiation (prāyaścitta karma).
    • Higher benefit they seek, more complicated the ritual.
  • DOUBT: Then infinite benefit must be the most complicated ritual/pūjā of all!
    • Krishna responds: when you want Highest result (nirguṇam), the pūjā is least complicated & simplest. Because in niṣkāma-bhakti, there’s no rules/regulations, and mistakes don’t matter.
      • There is a CONDITION though: Motive should not be on anything finite. ONLY infinite Īśvara.
  • Hence, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ prayacchati; A niṣkāma-bhakta (mumukṣu) who wants Īśvara from the pūjā, can offer anything, without any conditions.
    • Can offer: patram (leaf), puṣpam (flower), phalam (fruit), toyam (water).
  • What is important though, bhaktyā prayacchati; offers to Me with devotion.
    • What type of bhakta is this? In CH7, 4 types were listed: ārtaḥ, arthārthi, jijñāsu, jñāni.
      • ārtaḥ & arthārthi = sakāma-bhakta.
      • Jñāni = Liberated. (niṣṭhā-jñānam, vyaṣṭi-samaṣṭi aikyam)
      • Hence type is: jijñāsu / mumukṣu / niṣkāma-bhakta / karma-yogi. This type is still a ajñāni or saṃsāri. But desires jīvanmuktiḥ / Bhagavān.
  • Prayatāt-manaḥ; such person is one of purified mind (not desirous of finite goals). Citta śuddhi.
  • aham aśnāmi; I receive niṣkāma’s offering, even though it is inferior. Because it’s offered for sake of Īśvara (end), and not worldly benefit (means).
    • If offer love to Lord for sake of gaining worldly ends, then love for God is FAKE, as God becomes means.
    • Nobody loves means more then end. We only love end. EG: We love the pilot and healthy-airplane in the sky, until we reach end destination. Thereafter, everyone forgets the means.
  • Accordingly, Krishna says: I do not care HOW niṣkāma-bhakta is offering to me, or WHAT is offered, because bhakta it’s giving with sincerity to attain Me (caintanya-svarūpam).
    • EG: A youngling doesn’t have to think which mom cheek to kiss, in hopes she will feel max affection. Nor decide which daddy lap to sit on to receive most love as possible.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 – Verse 27:

yat karoṣi yadaśnāsi yajjuhoṣi dadāsi yat |
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva madarpaṇam ||

Oh Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer (as oblation) whatever you give (in charity), undertake – dedicate that as an offering to Me.


  • Suppose bhakta doesn’t have patram, puṣpam, phalam, toyam. Bhakta lives secluded. Then how can such bhakta perform pūjā or offer anything?
  • Krishna says: If don’t have any special object, it doesn’t matter, because you’re always consuming food & drinking water. Meaning, you can offer Me whatever your body-mind is associated with.
    • EG: Because I am inside a shopkeeper, thus offer Me your politeness.
    • I am inside the earth you walk on. Thus acknowledge My presence in it. I am the wind blowing on your face or the sun heat felt on your skin. I am everything! Hence you can never miss Me.
  • In short: Lord being everywhere, one doesn’t require special items. Just invoke by closing eyes Oh Lord, I am grateful for __, I recognize you in __”.
    • Unique to Vedic tradition: Can worship God anywhere, anytime. Whereas, some traditions need specific place/time.
  • yad-aśnāsi; Offer to Lord whatever eat/cook daily. Before gulping, close eyes, and recognize both food AND digestive fire is Lord.
  • yat dadāsi; Whatever charity offered (agenda-less giving), convert it into pūjā (worship). How? Recognize victims are also in form of Īśvara (aparā-prakṛti).
    • Meaning, best kind of bhakti is with attitude change. EG: Convert from selfish thinking “I am working for my paycheck” >TO “This is for Bhagavān alone”, OR “I am only ever contributing to the WHOLE”.
  • yat tapasyasi kaunteya; Whatever tapas performed (austerities, yajña, karma-yoga, upāsana, dhyāna) – acknowledge “I am purifying my mind for Bhagavān sake (end), instead of for my sake.”
    • EG: Inmate is on parole. His motivation for tapas (good behavior/citta śuddhi) arises from knowledge of being watched 24/7. In same way, niṣkāma-bhakta keeps Īśvara in mind during all tapas.
  • tat kuruṣva madarpaṇam; Dedicate all actions to Me, not only via physical means, but also through attitude change. This leads to citta śuddhi > gives way to self-knoweldge > leads to mokṣa. HOW does it lead to freedom? Next śloka….


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 – Verse 28:

śubhāśubhaphalairevaṃ mokṣyase karmabandhanaiḥ |
sannyāsayogayuktātmā vimukto māmupaiṣyasi ||

In this manner you will be freed from all the bonds of actions which cause puṇya and papa. With a mind devoted to Sanyasa and Yoga (you will be) liberated (while living) and will attain Me (after death).


  • What is the result of Niṣkama-bhakti?
    • Every karma or pūjā can give 2 types of puṇyam.
      • Materialistic punyam: material well-being. EG: money, people, house, svarga (heaven).
      • Spiritual puṇyam: born in spiritual family. Get opportunity to study śāstra, or get guru.
    • Thus we have to choose the result we want from pūjā. A Niṣkama bhakta converts all his bhakti to spiritual puṇyam.
  • Śubhāśu-bhaphalair-evaṃ mokṣyase; Arjuna, you will be freed from:
    • puṇyam: Krishna speaks of freedom from materialistic puṇyam.
    • pāpam: Won’t perform future sins because nothing to gain, and bhakta knows of hindering consequences (like developing guilt or need to do it again).
    • Why won’t the bhakta get pāpam? Spoken in V26 (cheek kiss). Ignorance of how to perform a pūjā is not pāpa (sin). Long as mind’s focus is on infinite Īśvara.
  • In this way, karma-bandhanaiḥ; bhakta has gone beyond bondage resulting from past actions. (Nothing to gain from world. Thus no motivation for saṃsāra kindergarten).
    • Order:
      • On beginning, pāpa-karma = bondage. Puṇya-karma = freedom.
      • As mind matures, pāpa-karma = bondage. Puṇya-karma = bondage.
    • Why is puṇya-karma bondage? Punarapi jananam, punarapi maraṇam. Again birth, again death.
  • What is lifestyle of a niṣkāma-bhakta? Sannyāsa-yoga-yuktātmā; One whose mind is devoted to sannyāsa and yoga.
    • Sannyāsa: renunciation of materialistic desires. How is bhakta able to drop material desires?
      • Knows any amount of artha/kāma… won’t remove INSECURITY (I don’t have enough, I am not enough).
        • What causes INSECURITY? Sense of limitation. Misplaced ‘I’ into limited BMI.
        • Solution:
          • STEP 1: “Is there any insecurities in my life? If yes, towards what specifically?” Will reveal all worldly attachments.
          • STEP 2: Then say “Compared to this limited __, what is unlimited?” Bhagavān is.
          • STEP 3: And where is unlimited Bhagavān? Elsewhere OR in this very body-mind?
          • STEP 4: Conclude “If I call myself insecure, and this very BMI is Īśvara, then I’m calling limitless Īśvara as insecure/incomplete. There’s no logic in this thinking”.
        • Hence, niṣkāma-bhakta asks Īśvara to give security by depending on self.
    • Yoga: Worldly action. Family/career duties are performed.
    • Meaning niṣkāma-bhakta has 3 qualities:
      1. Bhakta has renounced worldly attractions. (Through knowledge)
      2. Bhakta attends to actions of caring for family & work.
      3. Bhakta yuktātmā: Focuses mind on inner growth.
    • In short this person is a Karma-Yogi.
  • What will happen to this karma-yogi? Vimuktaḥ; he/she is liberated (avidyā destroyed)
    • Caution: Karma-Yoga itself won’t give liberation; only sattva citta śuddhi. Readying mind for jñāna-yoga (means to aparokṣa-jñānam).
  • What happens next? Mām upaiṣyasi; Bhakta’s mind “merges” into Me. We are not-two.
    • Merger does not mean Īśvara embraces the bhakta, because they were never apart.
    • Merger means: Bhakta drops the false notion that Īśvara is AWAY FROM self.
    • How do you remove a false-notion?
      • EG 1: Moment person is caught lying, thereafter all his false stories are powerless.
      • EG 2: Moment you discover it’s just a cat, and not a thief outside the house, all fear drops immediately.
      • EG 3: Moment I realize pen is on the ear, and not elsewhere, I stop seeking further.
      • I same way, one comes to know Īśvara is CLOSE. Actually closer. Even closer. Closest. Aham brahmāsmi.
    • Summary: Merger means notional distance between vyaṣṭi and samaṣṭi is removed, otherwise called jīvanmuktiḥ / mokṣa. Krishna refers to mokṣa when says “attains Me”.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 – Verse 29:

samo'haṃ sarvabhūteṣu na me dveṣyo'sti na priyaḥ |
ye bhajanti tu māṃ bhaktyā mayi te teṣu cāpyaham ||

I am the same towards all beings. There is no one hateful to Me, nor dear to Me. However, those who worship Me, with devotion are in Me, and I am also in them.


  • Krishna said in previous verse: niṣkāma-bhakta will merge in Me.
    • DOUBT: this means sakāma-bhakta will not merge. Making Bhagavān partial (racist; prejudice belief one race superior). And how come so few get liberation, while most don’t?
  • Answer with a story:
    • Upon a time, highly devoted bhakta was visiting the temple ongoingly. Each time saying “Oh Lord, I want to merge with you”.
      One day priest had enough because bhakta didn’t want to leave when temple closes. Priest next day hid behind the idol, whom bhakta was speaking to.
      Again, bhakta cries “Oh Lord, I want to merge with you”.
      Priest replies in thunderous voice:
      Oh Bhakta, I’m satisfied with your bhakti. I will fulfill your wish tomorrow. When I will take you into Me, and you won’t return back home/work/family again”.
      Next day, bhakta never showed up at temple. (Attached to home/work/family; couldn’t leave).
  • Accordingly, Krishna says: I don’t decide mokṣa for anyone. I am always ready to give.
    • Problem is most people are stubbornly holding on to world or silly notions, preventing readiness. They blabber about divinity and God, while their life revolves around themselves mainly, contributing little to the society.
    • For example, Swami Paramarthananda at a beginners camp, told one student to tell other students: “Swamiji is willing to give mokṣa to you, under one condition, you must stay in the āśram for some time and can't go back home”. Everyone gave an excuse. Nobody stayed. This is a timeless example and you shouldn't be surprised.
      • Most are not interested in permanent freedom. If we were, we'd give up family in an instant, like Buddha did. Meaning most don't desire mokṣa enough as don't understand it's implications, thus we float between spirituality and world attachments.
  • Meaning, samaḥ aham sarvabhūteṣu; I am same with every being. My grace (Īśvarā kṛpā) is available to all. I hate none.
    • Ādi Śaṅkara in Saundarya Lahari says: Moonlight falls everywhere equally, dirty place and beautiful house. Only difference is how much moonlight-grace we are willing to utilize.
    • Eg 2: When building a spacious house, are you concerned with building the space in the rooms, or the walls?
      • After walls are built, do we need to invite space inside the room? No.
      • Similarly, Īśvara kṛpa (grace) is not invited separately because it’s omni-present. Our karma-yoga effort happens ACTIVATE Īśvara- kṛpa. Just like walls of a house, as though, create the space inside the room. If you want to have furniture, you only need to create a room. The space comes included automatically!
  • Does Bhagavān have favorites? na priyaḥ, I have no favorites. All are same.
  • Then how come some get liberation and others don’t? Not caused by Me, but determined by bhakta's will.
    • Mokṣa is NOT God’s-grace, because equal quantity of God’s-grace is ALREADY available to all. If it was God's grace, everyone would be enlightened by now, since Grace is omnipresent.
  • mayi te teṣu cāpyaham; The niṣkāma-bhakta who worships Me (Higher: caintanya svarūpa), exists in Me, and I am existing in him/her. We are not-two.
  • In short: mokṣa is attained through your own choice. HOW? Through jñāna-yoga, involving śravaṇa, manana, nididhyāsana. How long? You can happily stop when body dies.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 – Verse 30:

api cet sudurācāro bhajate māmananyabhāk |
sādhureva sa mantavyaḥ samyagvyavasito hi saḥ ||

Even if someone of highly improper conduct seeks Me without a sense of separation, he is to be considered a good person because he is one whose understanding is clear.


  • Between V20-29, we compared niṣkāma & sakāma-bhakti. Topic is over.
  • In final portion, V30-34, Krishna speaks of glory of bhakti.
  • Glory 1:
    • Bhakti can be started any stage of life, unlike jñāna-yoga which needs prior discipline. Bhakti doesn’t require any qualifications, hence more popular.
      • For example, in CH7.16, we spoke of 4 kinds of bhaktās: Ārtaḥ, Arthārthī, Jijñāsuḥ, Jñāni.
        • Even an Ārtaḥ (who invokes Bhagavān when problems come) benefits because at least acknowledging existence of God.
      • Another benefit, terminally ill patients are mentally stronger by invoking Bhagavān, which can accelerate healing.
      • Another benefit, bhakta can invoke God BEFORE death, thus ensuring better rebirth.
  • Glory 2:
    • Bhakti also adjusts to level of buddhi. For example…
      1. Eka rūpa bhakti (iṣṭa-devata; customized Īśvara): for subjective / tamasic minds.
      2. Viśvarūpa bhakti (Īśvara in all forms): for objective intellects, like scientists.
      3. Arūpa bhakti (formless Īśvara): for subtle sattvic intellects; inquiry into nirguṇam.
  • Glory 3:
    • Even WORST criminal can repent through Bhakti and attain mokṣa in a single lifetime.
    • Almost every human suffers from mental guilt. Making mistakes (pāpa-karma) in PAST. Guilt leads to low self-confidence.
      • Reason is, conscience (ahimsa) is inbuilt in all humans. If go against it, makes person lose truth/faith in oneself. Because weak, unable to follow conscience.
        • It’s why immorality is always done in SECRET. Because person knows it’s illegal / dirty/ hurtful. In contrast, honesty is done in open.
      • Meaning JUDGEMENT DAY is not coming some time in future, it’s coming every day through our conscience speaking. Over time, one judges self as unworthy / inadequate.
        • This is why some are afraid to visit temple or even speak to Swami’s. Feel ashamed.
        • It also why confessionary exist, to unload the guilt, so person can grow.
    • Solution to guilt/self-sabotage was in CH6; we need 4 kinds of kṛpā (grace):
      1. Īśvara-kṛpā: God’s grace by means of performing citta śuddhi sādhana like karma-yoga (realize all your actions are only going to Īśvara alone and all results of your actions are Iśvara's. Thus reduces sense of doership/enjoyership, the primary cause of feeling separate from the world).
      2. Guru-kṛpā: Help of external ācārya (to clarify doubts arising in moment).
      3. Śāstra-kṛpā: Guidance of scriptures. Teaches how to correctly navigate life. Answers what’s true/false.
      4. Ātma-kṛpā: Cultivating faith in your own ability. “I can, I will”. Focus on your strengths. Just being a human means you CAN succeed, as human is most intelligent in hierarchy of sentient beings on earth.
        • How to BUILD confidence? Understand every saint has a past. And every sinner has a future. Thus no excuse using past pāpa-karma (improper lifestyle) to not move forward.
        • Krishna says: Don’t say you cannot do it. Else you would’ve not gotten a human body.
        • EG: Vālmīki of Rāmāyaṇa, went from cruel forest thief to saint.
  • 4 graces will work under one condition: bhajate mām ananya bhāk; total surrender to Bhagavān. CH9.22: ananya bhakti (no other, undeviating).
    • Swami Dayananda says: Nobody can change another person. But if you decided to change, nobody can stop it, change WILL happen.
  • Hence Krishna concludes: Person who DECIDED to surrender (through 4 kṛpāḥ), is good as sādhuḥ (saint).
    • Meaning it’s not WHERE you stand that matters, but in which DIRECTION you are going each new day. Just like it doesn’t matter what street your car is on, all that matters is direction car is going, until it arrives to destination (END).
  • What has this person done to be worthy of title “sādhu”? samyagvyavasito hi saḥ; deliberately, brick-by-brick, thought-by-though reoriented life to developing niṣṭḥā-jñānam (firm knowledge).
    • Threw out unnecessary stuff, decluttered life, prioritized alone time, and decided “I can, and I will”.
  • Then what happens? Next year we will see…


Keywords: adi sankara shankara, apara para prakrti prakriti, aparoksa aparoksha, arpana, artah, artharthi, jijnasu, atma, avidya, bhagavan, bhaktya, bohta, daksina dakshina, dhyana, ishvara, ista istha, ista istha devata, isvara, jivanmukti, jnana yoga, jnanam, karta, krpa kripa, mumuksu mumuskhu, nididhyasana, nirguna, nishkam bhakti, niskama, nistha nishtha, papa, patram, prapti, prasada, prayascitta prayashcitta, puja, punya, puspam pushpam, putrakamesti putrakameshti, rajasika, rupa, sadhu, sakama, samsti samashti, sannyasa, sastra shastra, sattvika, sloka shloka, suddhi shuddhi, tamasika, upasana, visvarupa vishvarupa, vyasti vyashti, yajna, yuktatma


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Chinmaya Int. Foundation & Swami Paramarthananda

Recorded 26 Nov, 2019


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