Not all worshipers are rewarded with success in their attempt to achieve yog, although this does not mean that they have no faith in it. The practice of yog is often disrupted by the restless mind. But what happens to men who wished to be yogi but did not succeed because of their fickle minds?
Arjun puts questions to Lord Krishn:
“What is the end, O Krishn, of the acquiescent worshiper
whose inconstant mind has strayed from selfless action
and who has, therefore, been deprived of perception
which is the final outcome of yog?”
“Is it, O the mighty-armed,
that this deluded man with no haven to turn to is destroyed
like scattered clouds, deprived of both Self-realization and worldly pleasures?”
Is this man truly like scattered patches of clouds because his mind is divided and he is confused? If a small patch of cloud appears in the sky, it can neither precipitate rain nor join other clouds, and within moments the wind destroys it. Very much similar to this puny, isolated cloud appears the passive and unpersevering man who begins with an enterprise and then discontinues his efforts.
Arjun wishes to be enlightened on what finally happens to such a man? Is he destroyed? If so he has missed both Self-realization and worldly enjoyment. But what is his final end?
“You, O Krishn, are the most capable of fully resolving
this doubt of mine because I cannot think of anyone else who can do it.”
The ardour of Arjun’s faith is remarkable. He is convinced that only Lord Krishn can dispel his doubts. No one else can do it. So the accomplished teacher Lord Krishn begins to resolve his devout pupil’s misgivings.
Lord Krishn sings:
“This man, O Parth, is destroyed neither in this world
nor in the next because, my brother, one who performs good deeds
never comes to grief.”
Arjun is addressed as “Parth” because, as we have already seen, he has turned his mortal body itself into a chariot to proceed to his goal. And now Lord Krishn tells him that the man who deviates from yog, because of his mind’s fickleness, is not destroyed in this world or in the next. This is so because a doer of good deeds, of God-related deeds, is never damned.
However, what is his destiny? We will see this in next verse.
“The righteous man who deviates from the path of yog
achieves celestial merits and pleasures for countless years
after which he is reborn in the house of a virtuous and noble man.”
What a paradox that the man who has fallen from yog enjoys in the worlds of the virtuous satisfaction of the same desires for sensual pleasure by which his restless mind was lured away from the appointed way in the mortal world.
But this is God’s synoptic way of providing him a glimpse of all he wanted, after which he is reborn in the house of a noble man-a man of righteous conduct.
“Or he is admitted to the family of discerning yogi
and such a birth is truly the most rare in the world.”
If the deviating Soul is not reborn in the house of a virtuous or affluent man, he is granted a birth which provides him admission to the family of a yogi. In the households of noble men, righteous influences are imbibed right from childhood. But, if not reborn in such houses, he gains admission not to the house of a yogi but to his spiritual family as one of his pupils.
Such were men like Kabir, Tulsidas, Raidas, Valmiki and others like them who, though not born in the houses of noble and affluent men, were admitted as pupils to the families of yogi. A birth in which the merits (sanskar) inherited from a previous life are further refined by association with an accomplished teacher, a realized sage, is indeed the most rare. Being born to the yogi does not mean being born as their physical offspring.
Well might children be born to a yogi before he had given up home and regard him, out of attachment, as father, but in truth a sage has no one whom he can regard as his family. One hundred times the concern he has for his own children is the concern he has for his faithful and obedient pupils. They, the pupils, are his real Children. Accomplished teachers do not admit pupils who are not endowed with the requisite sanskar.
Lord Krishn adds:
“He naturally bears with him into his new birth
the noble impressions (sanskar) of yog from his previous existence,
and by dint of this he strives well for perfection
that comes from the realization of God.”
The merits he had earned in his previous body are spontaneously restored to him in his new birth, by virtue of which he sets out to achieve the ultimate excellence, that is God.
Lord Krishn further adds:
“Although he is lured by objects of sense,
the merits of his previous life indeed draw him towards God
and his aspiration for yog enables him to go
beyond the material rewards promised by the Ved.”
If he is born in a noble or thriving household and is subject to the influence of sense-objects, the traces of virtuous deeds inherited from his previous life yet draw him to the way that leads to God, and even with inadequate endeavour, he is enabled to rise above the fruits mentioned by Vedic compositions and attain to the state of salvation. This is the way of achieving the ultimate liberation. But this cannot be within a single life.
“The yogi, who has purified his heart and mind
through several births by intense meditation
and thus rid himself of all sins,
attains to the ultimate state of realizing God.”
Only an endeavour made over a number of lives effects this ultimate accomplishment.
The yogi who practices diligent meditation is well rid of all kinds of impiety and then attains to the final beatitude. This is the way of attainment. Setting out on the path of yog with but a feeble effort and initiated into it when the mind is yet restless, he is admitted to the family of an accomplished teacher and, with the undertaking of meditation in life after life, he at last arrives at the point called salvation-the state in which the Soul is merged into God.
Lord Krishn also said that the seed of this yog is never annihilated. If we just take a couple of steps, the merits earned from them are never destroyed.
A man of true faith can embark upon the ordained action in every circumstance of worldly life. Whether you are a woman or a man, of whatever race or culture, if you are simply a human being, the Bhagavad Gita is for you.The Bhagavad Gita is for all mankind-for the man devoted to his family and the sanyasi, the educated and the unlettered, and for everyone. It is not only for that unique creature called a hermit (sadhu). This indeed is Lord Krishn’s pronouncement.
Lord Krishn concludes:
“Since yogi are superior to men who do penance,
or men who follow the path of discrimination,
or men who desire the fruits of action, O Kurunandan,
you should be a doer of selfless action.”
A yogi, doer of selfless action, surpasses all ascetics, men of knowledge as well as those of action. So Lord Krishn’s final counsel to Arjun is that he should be a yogi.
This necessitates an appraisal of what all these types are.
The ASCETIC is one who practices severe austerities and mortification of the body, mind, and senses to shape the yog which has not yet started flowing through him like an unimpeded current.
The DOER is one who is engaged in the ordained task after knowing it, but who applies himself to it without either making an appraisal of his own strength or a sense of dedication. He is just engaged in the carrying out of an enterprise.
The MAN OF KNOWLEDGE, follower of the Way of Knowledge, is engaged in the performance of the deed of yagya only after gaining full understanding of the process from a noble mentor, an accomplished teacher, as well as with a clear appraisal and judgement of his own strength; he holds himself responsible for both profit and loss in the undertaking.
The YOGI, doer of selfless action, performs the same prescribed task of meditation with a sense of total surrender to the adored one; the responsibility for the success of his yog is borne by God and Yogeshwar.
Even when there are prospects of failure he has no fear, because the God, whom he craves for, has taken upon himself the task of supporting and upholding him.
All the four types of action are noble as such. But the ascetic, the man of penance, is still engaged in equipping himself for yog. The doer, the man of action, engages in action just because he knows that it has to be undertaken. These two may fail, because they have neither a sense of dedication nor a proper discernment of their assets and liabilities. But the follower of the Way of Knowledge is aware of the means of yog and also of his own strength. He holds himself responsible for whatever he does.
And the yogi, the doer of selfless action, has cast himself at the mercy of his adored God, and it is God who will protect and help him. Both of these tread well on the path of spiritual salvation. But the way on which the safety of the worshiper is looked after by God is the superior of the two.
It is acknowledged by Lord Krishn. So the yogi is the most superior of men and Arjun ought to be a yogi. He should engage in the task of performing yog with a sense of complete resignation.
The yogi is superior, but even better is that yogi who dwells in God through his Self. The last words of Lord Krishn are about this.
“Among all yogi I think that one the best
who is dedicated to me and who,
abiding in the Self, always adores me.”
Sri Krishn regards, among all yogi-doers of selfless action, that one as the best who, immersed in his feeling of devotion, always adores him. Worship is not a matter of display or exhibition. Society may approve of such display, but god is offended.
Worship is a secret, private activity, and it is undertaken within the heart. The ascent and descent of worship are events that belong to the innermost seats of thought and feeling.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~