“The Geeta: as a Chaitanyite reads it” by Tridandi Swami B.H. Bon, "Chapter Twelve : Unalloyed Devotion"

ARJUNA said, "O Krishna ! from all that Thou
hast told me until now,
I gather there are two ranks of Yogins:
The ones who worship Thee with an unflinching
Engaging harmoniously in Thy service
All their mind and body and social activities;
The second who adopt a selfless Karma-Yoga,
Accepting physical and social functions
So far as they are in accordance with their Yoga
And worship by means of intuition
Thy non-manifested Negative Imperishable Aspect.
Now, tell me, pray, which of these are the better

SREE Bhagavan replied: "Those who engage
their full attention
Upon Me with faith absolute and an unflinching
And pour their life into the perfect mould of un-
alloyed devotion
And everlasting service, are the best among the Yogins.
Bhakti beyond the triple qualities
Is thus superior to Karma, Jnana and Yoga.
These devotees are the highest Yogins.
Those who are self-controlled, tranquil and calm
Altruistic, and prone to worship My Eternal,
Indefinable, Unmanifested, Uniform, Non-differen-
Indefinite and Attributeless Negative Aspect-
Find rest at last in Me
After experiencing a series of obstacles.
As there is no other One to worship but My Self,
In whatever form thou strivest to attain the
highest goal,
Thou shalt at last come unto Me,
If thou be sincere in thy endeavours.

THE difference between a Jnana-Yogin and a
Is that the means adopted by the Bhakta
In the cultivation of devotion unto Me
Is realised to be identical
With the End, which is Love Divine,
While Jnana-Yogin's method negative
Leads him to the end of Jnana's path,
Which is the Non-distinct and Attributeless
My Negative Aspect; I am the Lord of Love Divine.
To a Bhakta, means and end are one,
While with a Jnanin they are two.
When the means is eternal,
The end attained by it is also eternal,
And therefore in devotion the Means and End are
both identical;
But when the means that leads man to the end,
Ceases when the end is realised,
As in the case of the Jnana-Yogins,
Then the end reached by such temporary means
Must also be ephemeral.

THE path of Jnana, then, is ultimately proved
Te be a source of troubles.
Those who dedicate devout and patient labour
With dry wisdom as their goal,
Find their endeavours end in the fruitless troubles
Like the toil of those who try to get substance out
of chaff.
Without devotion to the Godhead,
The striving after unity with Brahman
Ends in trouble and distress.
The principle of all negotiation
Is the antithesis of normal function,
For every conscious entity must ultimately forge a
link eternal
With God, by means of service and of godly love.
The negative attempt places no reliance upon God
And therefore is best at every spot with dangers.
Intelligence cannot be pure without devotion unto
The Centre of all beings;
Those who with their imperfect mind
Pretend to think that they are free from limitations
of the world,
Are hurled down from the last step approaching
Back to this world of relativities.

JIVAS are eternal and sentient beings;
If they could merge into the attributeless
It would be self-annihilation.
Even when they realise their normal functions,
They find it difficult to rid themselves
Of the supremely false impression
That they themselves are none else but the Godhead.
For such a Jiva in the fleshy body
To meditate upon the Non-distinct Brahman
Brings him but misery both as to means and end.
A Jiva is a conscious and eternal entity
And has a spiritual form of its own.
The principle of non-differentiated Monism
Is therefore full of miseries.
Bhakti is the normal function of all souls.
Jnana, independent of it, is the root of the greatest evil.
Hence, the principle of an impersonal, inert and
all-pervasive worship,
Based on inductive reasoning, is not at all acceptible.

THE truest devotees perform their physical and
social duties
Completely in obedience to My devotion
And meditate upon My transcendental and eternal
Form with single-minded faith.
I soon deliver those, O Partha !
Whose hearts are absolutely true to Me,
From the ocean of chagrin which is this world, and
By My grace do they attain to perfect freedom
From the bondage of the great illusion,
And when thus freed, I shield them
From the Non-distinct Monism which is really death
to them.
The helpless, hopeless. egotistic view of merging
into Brahman
Is the cause of ruin to all Jnanins.

CONCENTRATE thy mind upon My transcenden-
And most lovely Form, and meditate on Me alone ;
Engage thy pure intelligence in My service ;
Establish thyself in the devotion of My Self
Thou shalt thereby without doubt attain to Prema,
The Divine Love, which is as pure as molten gold.
This is the highest end of all devotion.
If thou canst not concentrate the whole attention
on Me
Out of a natural and deep attachment to Me,
Then attempt, O Dahanjaya ! to follow the regular
way of practices
According to the Scriptures by curbing thy mind
From meddling with matter, in order to reach Me.

THERE are two ways to the attainment
Of the highest end of Prema, Love Divine :
One is the path of a normal, natural attachment for
the Lord
Without any forced attempt upon the seeker's part ;
The second is the path of regulated course of
According to the dictates of the Scriptures.
The former is called Raga, the latter is known as
Raganuga-Bhakti is the spontaneous and profound
That arises from a strong desire to love and serve
While Bhakti that is practised on the basis of a
faith unshaken,
Regulated by the Scriptures, is called Vidhi.
It is desirable for an ordinary individual,
Whose heart is not afire with a spontaneous love
for Krishna
To follow the path of Vidhi-Bhakti.

IF thou art unfit even for Vidhi or the other
grades of Bhakti,
Regulated by the Scriptures
Dedicate thou, then, all thine activities to Me.
Thou shouldst hear, chant, worship, make obeisan-
ces to Me,
Cleanse the Temple, cul flowers for My adoration.
In this way, thou shalt succeed
In gaining My affectionate eternal comradeship.
Thy mind will cling for ever to My transcendental
beauteous Form
As the Sree Krishna of All-love
Instead of giving its attention to phenomena of
If thou still fail to concentrate thine actions all to
Be self-possessed, give the results of all fruitive acts
to Me
By following the path of selfless Karma-Yoga, as
indicated in the Vedas.

SUCH a devotee is naturally free from malice ;
He does not envy even those who are deemed
And he is a friend to all;
His heart is tender to those brothers who have gone
astray ;
He tries to render them a permanent and real good ;
He is indifferent to worldly matters
And is not proud of physical associations;
He looks on pleasure and pain alike without
Despite strong cause of provocation, he forbears.
Always content is he with whatever meagre
Comes to him for his maintenance of body;
He is a devotee with firm determination
To achieve the Final End that he desires
And therefore is a steady Yogin;
He has a steadfast faith in Me
And is alert to gain My Prema or Love Divine.
A devotee who offers such a mind and heart to Me
is dear to Me.

A Shanta-devotee neither causes uneasiness
Nor suffers any caused by others;
He is not elated with attainments nor is he jealous
of another's gains;
He is free from wrath or fear, of any of the world's
Such a devotee is dear to Me.
My devotee remaining unaffected by the world's
Pure inwardly and out, active and alert;
Indifferent to all conflicting happenings,
Calm and tranquil in his judgement, and in mind,
Who does not seek the fruits of his devotion
Relying on My dispensation-
Such a devotee is dear to Me.
The devotee who never feels elated
By promises of worldly gain, or does not mourn at
such loss,
Who does not hanker after earth's achievements,
Who casts aside all benefits derived from good and
evil source
Virtue and vice, sin and piety-
Such a devotee is dear to Me.
He looks with kindly eye on friend and foe alike,
Not over-joyed is he when eulogised,
Nor sore distressed with disrespect.
He is indifferent to heat and cold, pleasure and pain;
Calm and tranquil is he in observation.
He is unmindful of praise and of abuse;
He is controlled in what he says, cool and collected
in temper;
He is content with little food and bare necessities;
Not anxious for a homely life and therefore not
attached to such affinities;
Such a devotee is also dear to me.
Those who, with firm faith and sincere devotion
unto Me,
Relish the nectar of these truths, related by Me,
From the beginning to the end of this discourse,
Are My true devotees and are exeedingly dear to

NOTE :-In the first three Chapters, selfless
Karma-Yoga is described as the means to salvation.
In the second six Chapters, Bhakti-Yoga is explained
to be the only means to the realisation of the Supreme
Lord. Bhakti is two-fold; esoteric and exoteric. In-
ward performance of Bhakti is done by remembrance
and meditation; and in the case of a neophyte's inabili-
ty to give undivided remembrance, he should attempt
earnest practices, and follow those who can. These
three inward practices of Bhakti are difficult for the
worldly to follow, while the spiritually intelligent and
those who are free from all offences are eligible to
practise them. The external practices of Bhakti by
way of hearing and chanting the Name of the
Godhead are easily open to all. The superitority of
these devotees who follow either or both of these in-
ward and outward practices of Bhakti-Yoga, is shown
in the second six Chapters. But when a neophyte is
not fit to control his mind and senses and worship the
Supreme Lord with a steadfast spontaneous attach-
ment or firm faith in Him, selfless Karma-Yoga, con-
secrated to the Godhead, is mentioned in the first six
Chapters, as inferior to unalloyed devotion.

In the absence of a spontaneous attachment and
the awakening of the soul's normal loving service to
the Lord Supreme, the practice of the regulated
Vidhi-Bhakti, as prescribed by the Scriptures is to be
followed, failing which the neophyte should then
strive after knowledge-Jnana-that leads him to the
realisation of his true self. When this is not possible,
he should meditate on such thoughts as "Thou art
That" "I am Brahman", as a means of acquiring
Jnana or wisdom relating to the pure self; and for
those who are unfit even for such meditation, Karma-
Yoga is preseribed. The fruit-seeking Karmins attain
peace by relinquishing all results of their actions. There
are two ways to the attainment of pure devotion; the
one is a direct way, the other is a gradual process.
Listening, chanting, meditating, service, worship,
adoration, self-surrendering to the Name, Form, Attri-
butes, the Transcendental Retinues or Hosts and
Deeds of the Lord Supreme, based on a spontaneous
and firm faith, is the direct method; while the gradual
course of general progress begins with the renunciation
of all fruitive acts; at the second stage the consecra-
tion of results of actions to the Godhead; at the third
stage, meditation and concentration following the
process of Astanga-yoga; fourthly, knowledge or Jnana
of one's true self; and lastly, the Vidhi-Bhakti or the
perfect knowledge of the eternal and transcendenta
Name, Form, Attributes and Activities of the Lord

Sadhana Bhakti is the only means to the attain-
ment of perfect and divine Love, This Bhakti-Yoga
has two phases; the inward one lies in the absolute
attachment to God; the external process is practised
by listening to and chanting the Name of God. The
inward practices of Bhakti-Yoga are either remem-
brance or concentration or inward attempts at such
concentration So, concentration of the mind in the
remembrance of the Lord is better knowledge or Jnana
and superior to practice. In the stage of practice, care
is taken to achieve meditation; but when concentration
of the mind and constancy of remembrance, which are
desired ends of practice, are attained, then meditation
naturally follows. Meditation is therefore superior to
mere Jnana. When meditation becomes steady, then
all hankering after celestial pleasures and salvation
are purged out of the heart. When the heart is thus
cleansed, all the senses find their real and perfect rest
in being wholly engaed in the service of Sree Krishna,
Who is the Lord of all senses, and Bhakti is awakened
to engage an individual soul in the loving service of
God. When formidable desires for either elevation or
Karma, salvation or Moksha, are finally alienated
from the heart of an individual soul, he attains a state
of mental peace, called Shanti.

This gradual course of Bhakti, when sincerely
followed, leads one to Krishna-Prema or Divine Love
-the summum bonum of all spiritual practices. Pure
Bhakti, devotion, is ever blissful and is the only positive
means to the realisation of the Highest End of spiritual
existence. This is the gist of the Chapter and of the
entire Geeta.

No comments:

Pranam to Swami Bon

"I make my obeisances with deep and loving devotion for ever and ever to my Gurudev, who is known by the name of Srimad Bhakti Hriday Bon, who being attracted by the lotus-feet of Radha-Madhab is for ever and ever immersed in the perennial stream of supramundane joy emanating therefrom.

I bow down again and again with loving devotion to my Gurudev who is a wandering Tridandi mendicant and erudite Vaishnava (who) is always following in the wake of Sri Rupa; I make my obeisances in all humility, at all times with sincere loving devotion to my Gurudev who resides happily in the
Kunja (bower) allotted to him by Shrimati Radhika, the dearest Divine Consort of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna who is Rasa epitomized, who has taken to the way of Bhakti in consonace with the teachings of Sri Chaitanya - nay, whose whole pattern of life is moulded on the teachings and precepts of Sri Chaitanya."