Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) — Chapter 9: 23-25

July 10, 2024

ye ’py anyadevatābhaktā yajante śraddhayā ’nvitāḥ
te ’pi mām eva kaunteya yajanty avidhipūrvakaṁ (IX-23)

ahaṁ hi sarvayajñānāṁ bhoktā ca prabhur eva ca
na tu mām abhijānanti tattvenā ’taś cyavanti te   (IX-24)
yānti devavratā devān pitṝn yānti pitṛvratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā yānti madyājino ’pi māṁ   (IX-25)

IX/23. Even those devotees who, endowed with faith, worship other gods, worship me alone, O Arjuna, by the wrong (imperfect) method.

IX/24.  I alone am the enjoyer and also the Lord of all sacrifices and worship; but they do not know me in essence and hence they fall on the path (or from the path).

IX/25. The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the ancestors go the ancestor- worshippers; to the deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; but my devotee comes to me.


Swamiji's Commentary

      At the outset a word of caution. It is possible to see the ‘me’ and ‘God’ that occur in The Bhagavad Gītā as implying the transcendental cosmic reality, the infinite which is manifest in infinite ways and whose nature is the entire manifest creation. That is the correct principle, the right approach, the proper method.

     Those who cannot rise immediately to this height in yoga sādhana (spiritual practice) are not forsaken. They can approach God through any of the paths, modes or symbols, but they should never forget that the goal is the supreme being and not the path, mode or symbol chosen. If this is remembered, the great indwelling presence in all will accept their worship and lead them to the correct method, through the spirit of enquiry.

     It is on account of ignorance or misunderstanding that the frail human heart accepts the symbol as the truth, the part as the whole, the aspect as the reality. When this happens, the soul reaches union with those objects of adoration. Though it has lost a golden opportunity of direct self-realization, it will return here to make further progress. Thus, whatever path or symbol is chosen for worship, there should be an awareness that the symbol is worshipped ‘as God’ in the sense that what is actually worshipped is the infinite, not-so-obvious reality in the universe. What is obvious is a mental creation. From that, investigation into the nature of God begins, and then the answer arises – God-Realization happens. When this happens, the questioner is absent. Swami Sivananda has a beautiful poem which says: “Ignorance knocked, wisdom opened and ignorance ceased to be!” Ignorance cannot face wisdom, darkness cannot face light, the ego cannot face God.

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