Bereft of discernment because of their craving for sensual pleasures, ignorant men are unable to see that the enlightened sage, the accomplished teacher and God alone have real worth.
Lord Krishn sings in Bhagavad Gita:
“Driven by the properties of their nature,
they who fall from knowledge desire worldly pleasures
and in imitation of the prevailing customs,
worship other gods instead of the one single God.”
So, urged by their nature or rather by the merits (sanskar) they have earned and stored through many lives, they resort to current creed and practices, and devote themselves to the worship of other gods.
Lord Krishn adds:
“It is I who bestow steadiness on the faith of covetous worshipers
according to the nature of the gods they worship.”
It is God who imparts the quality of unflinching firmness to the devotion of worshipers who adore other gods because they wish for material rewards. It is God who makes the faith in other gods steady. Had gods really existed, this task would have been accomplished by these entities themselves. But since they are only a myth, it is God who has to render the faith of worshipers in them firm and strong.
“Possessing this strengthened faith,
the worshiper devotes himself to his chosen deity with devotion and,
through this undoubtedly achieves the enjoyment of desired pleasures which are also appointed by my laws.”
Possessed of faith that is propped up by God, the desire – ridden worshiper devotes himself with renewed vigour to the adoration of some unworthy gods, but surprisingly he too is rewarded with the desired satisfaction. But this satisfaction is also a gift from God. So God is also the bestower of enjoyment of worldly pleasures. Mean pleasure rather than divine bliss is the reward for those who worship other gods for satisfaction of their desires. But in a way they are rewarded. So there seems apparently nothing wrong with this form of worship. However, this is what Lord Krishn has to say on the question in next verse.
“But the rewards of these deluded men are finite
because they only attain to the gods they worship,
whereas the man who worships me howsoever he does it -realizes me.”
The prizes won by these ignorant men are destructible. They are impermanent because they are worldly pleasures which have a beginning and an end.
The pleasures that are with us today slip away from us tomorrow. Men who worship other gods acquire powers that are themselves perishable. The whole world, from the level of divinities to that of the lowest creatures, is mutable and subject to death. On the contrary, the man who worships God attains to him and so to the ineffable peace that descends on the Soul after he is united with God.
Yogeshwar Krishn had exhorted Arjun earlier to foster gods, that is pious impulses, through the observance of yagya. Good fortune accrues from an increase and strengthening of these riches. And ultimately, with gradual progress, there is the attainment of perception and supreme peace. In this context “gods” represent forces of piety by which the divinity of God is secured. These godly impulses that have to be fostered are the means for salvation.
The righteousness which garners the sanctity of God within the worshiper’s heart is named “god.” It was at the outset something internal, but with the passage of time people began to visualize these qualities in palpable forms. That is the reason how truth was lost sight of.
Lord Krishn has attempted to refute the misconception about gods and goddesses. Naming “other gods” here in the Bhagavad Gita, he has emphatically said that they do not exist. Whenever faith declines or grows feeble, it is he who supports it and makes it firm, and it is also he who provides rewards for this faith. But these rewards are finite and perishable. Fruits are destroyed, gods are destroyed, and worshipers of these gods are also destroyed. So only the ignorant who are lacking in discrimination worship other gods.
Lord Krishn adds:
“Wanting in wisdom and oblivious of the reality
that I am immaculate and beyond the mind and senses,
men regard my manifestation as a physical incarnation.”
There is nothing like gods and the rewards, too, for their worship are ephemeral. All this notwithstanding, all men are not devoted to God. This is so because men who are bereft of discernment are, as we have seen in the last verse, only inadequately aware of God’s perfection and magnificence. It is for this reason that they deem the unmanifest God as assuming a human form.
In other words, Lord Krishn was a yogi in the body of a man, verily a Yogeshwar, a Lord of Yog. The one who is a yogi himself and has the ability to impart yog to others is called a Yogeshwar, an accomplished teacher.
Adopting the right form of worship, and with gradual refinement, sages also come to abide in that state. Although wearing the apparel of a human body, they at last abide in the formless, unmanifest God. But ignorant men yet regard them as ordinary human beings.
How can they be God, these men think, when they were born just like them?
They are hardly to blame for this, for their deluded minds, wherever they look, see only the external form. Yogeshwar Krishn now explains why they are unable to see the Spirit embodied within the physical body in next verse.
“Hidden behind my yog-maya,
I am not perceived by all and this ignorant man does not know me,
the birthless and immutable God.”
For an ordinary man, maya, the power by which God evolves the physical universe, is like a thick screen behind which God is completely hidden. Beyond this yog-maya, or the practice of yog, there is also another curtain. It is only by a constant and long practice of yog that the worshiper reaches the culminating point of yog where the hidden God is perceived.
Yogeshwar Krishn says that he is hidden by his yog-maya and only they who have secured yog can know him. Since he is not manifest to all, the ignorant and unwise man does not know him-the birthless (who is not going to be born again), eternal (who cannot be destroyed), and unmanifest (who is not going to be manifest again).
Arjun initially regarded Lord Krishn as just another mortal. But after he is enlightened and his vision is enlarged, he begins to plead and beg. By and large it is only too true that we are no better than blind men in the matter of recognizing the unmanifest Soul of sages and great men.
Lord Krishn sings:
“I know, O Arjun, all beings that have been (or will be) in the past,
present, and future, but no one knows me without true devotion.”
Why it is so is explained in the next verse:
“All beings in the world fall into ignorance,
O Bharat, because of the contradictions of attachment and repugnance,
and of happiness and sorrow.”
All men are victims of delusion because of the endless dualities of material nature and so fail to know God. Does it imply that no one will know him?
Lord Krishn adds:
“But they who worship me in every way are selflessly engaged
in good deeds, free from sin and delusion,
arising from the conflicts of attachment and repulsion, and of firm intent.”
Freed from evil and conflicting passions, the doers of virtuous action which brings; the worldly life-of birth and death-to a final end, and which has been variously described as worthy action, ordained action, and the deed of yagya, worship and adore him to achieve redemption.
Here it is evident beyond any doubt that the way to God-realization is according to Lord Krishn only through an accomplished teacher. One who performs the ordained task under the guidance of such a mentor acquires mastery of spiritual capacity as well as perfect action.This is also further illustrated in the next verses.
“Only they who strive for liberation
from the cycle of birth and death by finding shelter under me
succeed in knowing God, spiritual wisdom and all action.”
Knowledge of God, of the kinship of the individual and Universal Soul, and of all action prepares a man spiritually to take refuge in God and seek the ultimate liberation.
Lord Krishn concludes:
“They who know me as the presiding Spirit in all beings (adhibhut)
and gods (adhidaiv), and in yagya ( adhiyagya ),
and whose minds are fixed on me, know me at the end.”
Men who know Lord Krishn also know the Supreme Spirit that animates all beings; all gods, and yagya. They, whose minds are absorbed in him, know the God in Lord Krishn, dwell in him, and attain to him for ever.
Lord Krishn has said that men do not know him because they are ignorant. But they who aspire to be rid of delusion know him along with God, the embodiment of perfection, the identity between him and the individual Soul as well as the material universe, and perfect action: in brief, the immaculate nature of the Spirit that dwells in all beings, gods, and yagya.
The source of all this is a seer : one who has realized the truth. So it is not that this awareness is impossible to acquire. But there is an appointed way by following which alone can a man hope to possess this perfect knowledge.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~