By Sri Lakshmi Narayana Aithal
22. Perseverance (उत्साह) means to remain active in any action. The one who has excess of passion quality (रजोगुण) in his conduct shows effort to do this or that. Desire of benefit itself is the cause for an action. But, the Supreme Devotee has obtained God in the Form of the Highest Achievement; therefore, he has become successful in life; and, for him no action is remained to be performed. Therefore, there is no cause for his perseverance to perform any action; and, by all means, he retains from sensual enjoyments and establishes himself in God
CHARACTERISTICS OF A SUPREME DEVOTEE AS DESCRIBED IN THE गीता
23. One should not imagine that only above mentioned are the attributes of a Supreme Devotee. There is an advantage to ruminate the characteristics described in the twelfth chapter of the भगवद्गीता. As an introduction to the verses there, श्री शंकराचार्य has written this : - अक्षरो-पासकानां सम्यग्दर्शननिष्ठानां त्यक्तसर्वैषणानां अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानाम् इत्यादि धर्मपूगं साक्षादमृतत्वसाधनम् वक्ष्यामीति प्रवर्तते ।। गी. 12-13, भा. भा. 743.
Meaning of this sentence is as follows : Ascetics who worship God alone have established in the True Knowledge; they have abandoned all desires; the group of virtues described in the following verses – is the direct cause for the attainment of Immortality for the ascetics. The Lord is going to preach those virtues :-
अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रकरुण एव च । निर्ममो निरहङ्कारः समदुःखसुख क्षमी ।। 13 ।।
सन्तुष्टः सततं योगी यतात्मा दृढनिश्चयः । मय्यर्पितमनोबुद्धिर्यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः ।। 14 ।।
यस्मान्नोद्विजते लोको लोकान्नोद्विजते च यः । हर्षामर्षभयोद्वोगैर्मुक्तो यः स च मे प्रियः ।। 15 ।।
अनपेक्षः शुचिर्दक्ष उदासीनो गतव्यथः । सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः ।। 16 ।।
यो न हृष्यति न द्वेष्टि न शोचति न काङ्क्षति । शुभाशुभपरित्यागी भक्तिमान् यः स मे प्रियः ।। 17 ।।
समशत्रौ च मित्रे च तथा मानापमानयोः । शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषु समः सङ्गविवर्जितः ।। 18 ।।
तुल्यनिन्दास्तुतिर्मौनी सन्तुष्टो येन केनचित् । अनिकेतः स्थिरमतिर्भक्तिमान् मे प्रियो नरः ।। 19 ।।
ये तु धर्म्यामृतमिदं यथोक्तं पर्युपासते । श्रद्दधाना मत्परमा भक्तास्तेsतीव मे प्रियः ।। 20 ।।
गी. 12-13तः 20.
Those who learning these verses by-heart investigate the meaning the meaning (अर्थानुसन्धान) obtain the reflection of the glory of the Supreme Devotion. The opinion of these verses is as follows : A devotee has thinking of God everywhere, therefore, he doesn’t hate even the animals that hurt him. Those who come to him are all treated friendly by him; as friends are equal, they have familiarity in their behavior, they look after their mutual maintenance and protection; similarly, this devotee behaves well with everyone. He egoistically never thinks that he is superior to others. He has compassion towards those who suffer from worldly distress. He doesn’t think egoistically attach to the non-self-objects like body, etc. He keeps his mind free from ups and downs in the midst of distress and happiness. Even a very powerful one beats him up, he patiently remains undisturbed in the mind. To maintain his body, even if he obtains sufficient food, etc. or not, he is always pleased and keeps his mind always in the state of relief; he controls his body and organs; he has a well settled opinion in the matter of the Reality; and, he has offered his mind and intellect to God. None is agitated by him and he never feels agitated by the behavior of others. He doesn’t have any one of the followings : Swelling due to external causes, intolerance towards others, fear and suffering in the mind. He is free from any desire (निःस्पृह ), he doesn’t desire anything from body, organs, and sensual objects; and he is pure in mind and body. He has dexterity to understand the work-plan of actions that he has to perform; he doesn’t take the side of anyone and he has fearless behavior; and, he has given up all types of actions in order to have happiness of either this world or that of the other one. He is not got elated by obtaining the desired thing; he doesn’t hate anything if it turns disagreeable to him; he doesn’t weep for any loss; he desires nothing; and, he does neither good nor bad actions. He remains unattached in the matter of either an enemy or a friend; either he is honored or disrespected; and he remains unattached even in the midst of pairs like : cold and heat, happiness and sorrow, etc. If people blame or praise him, he, without uttering useless words, remains silent; he is contented in what he obtains; he doesn’t have a particular dwelling place; and he has a firm understanding in the matter of Reality.
The reason for explain these characteristics in detail is mentioned in the last verse of that chapter in the गीता . When the seekers of liberation (मुमुक्षवः) listen to the details of the characteristics of the Devotee of God, they understand the taste of virtues of ascetics (निवृत्तिधर्म) may desire to follow them; the seekers keeping their mind in God alone, may faithfully exercise the above said virtues; then they become the beloveds of God – this is the purport of the epitome sentence : यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः, such one is My beloved devotee – this refrain is repeated at the end of each verses; this is to mention that God is pleased only to the devotion and He desires nothing. This is good to remember the words of the Lord to उद्धव –
न तथा मे प्रियतम आत्मयोनिर्न शङ्करः । न च संकर्षणो न श्रीर्नैवाs s त्मा च यथा भवान् ।। भा. 11-14-15.
“O उद्धव, you are the most beloved to Me amongst – ब्रह्म, शिव, बलराम, लक्ष्मी and finally Myself”. This explanatory remark (अर्थवाद) reveals that none possibly become more beloved to God than His devotee. This should touch the mind.
RELATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND DEVOTION
24. Here is a doubt : The Knowledge is quite essentially needed to remove the egotism and to bestow the Supreme Achievement of life; and , that fruit cannot be had by a mere devotion. For, if the hindrance of egoism really exists, that can never be removed. Therefore, as an imagined snake appears in a rope, that false appearance is seen due to miss-conception; and that can be eradicated only by the Knowledge in the form of right understanding.
The relief for the above objection is given : The Principle Devotion is the condition of the Form of the Self itself. The श्रुतिs tell that the Self is of the Form of Knowledge and Bliss and, in order to have the experience the Self, the condition of the Form of the Self endowed with Love itself is needed. In the world, there is no law that when the one obtains knowledge of an object, the love of that object also should be there; for an example, when the condition of the form of a snake is imagined, the condition of fear following that knowledge also appears. But, it is not like this in the case of the deliberation of the Self. When the Knowledge of the Self who is of the Form of Bliss – arises, there should essentially arise the condition of the Form of Love also. Not only that, the Love is more inevitable in order to have the Knowledge which is of the Form of Experience of the Self. That is what the Lord preaches अर्जुन :-
ब्रह्मभूतः प्रसन्नात्मा न शोचति न काङ्क्षति । समः सर्वेषु भूतेषु मद्भक्तिं लभते पराम् ।।
भक्त्या मामभिजानाति यावान् यश्चास्मि तत्त्वतः । ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा विशते तदनन्तरम् ।।
गी. 15-54, 55.
(Lakshminarayan Aithal has served for over 3 decades in Swami’s institution and is the former Principal of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions at Muddenahalli. Inspired by Swami’s direct message to study the Upanishads, he first learnt Sanskrit and then studied the direct works of Adi Shankaracharya and Swami. Sincere perseverance led him to the reality of Aham Brahmasmi and He realized and experienced Swami’s words: “I am God and so are you”. He shares the import of the Upanishadic teachings with us in this series of articles.)