Chapter 12. Devotion

1There are people who worship you
(as a personal god with form and attributes)
with their mind fixed on you.
There are others who contemplate on
the eternal and formless.
Who among them knows yoga better?
Arjuna wishes to know who is better established in yoga (union with supreme) – those who worship Krishna as he just described (11:55) or those who follow his earlier statement (7:24).

2In my opinion,
those who always worship me
(as a personal god with form and attributes)
with focus and faith
are better established in yoga.

3Yet those who worship
the all-pervading,
the eternal, the formless,
the changeless, the inconceivable,
and the immovable,
4with complete control over their senses,
balanced in all situations, and
rejoicing in the welfare of all,
also reach me.

5Greater is the trouble
for those who contemplate
on the formless
for it is only through much pain
that they succeed in the path
to the invisible, formless god.

6,7Those who worship me
by dedicating their actions to me,
considering me as the supreme goal,
and meditating upon me
with single-minded concentration,
I liberate them from
the deadly ocean of worldly life.

8If you fix your mind on the supreme
you will certainly reach the supreme.
There is no doubt about this!

9If you can’t focus on the supreme,
then try to reach the supreme
through diligent practice.
Often, it is easier to focus on our work than to meditate on an unseen, supreme being.

10If you are incapable of regular practice
then try to dedicate all your actions to the supreme.
This way, you will attain perfection.
If we realize that our work is part of the grand cosmic design, it brings a greater purpose to the activities that we look upon as mundane.

11But if you are unable to dedicate
all your actions to the supreme
then act with self-restraint,
giving up the Fruits of your actions.
‘Fruits’ of action are the rewards or results of our work.
One should ideally focus on the Work and not on the Fruits.

12Knowledge is better than
blindly following routines.
‘Routines’ refers to mechanically performing an action without understanding the underlying principles.

Contemplation is better than knowledge.

Renouncing the Fruits of one’s actions
is better than contemplation
because soon after this,
one attains peace.

13One who harbors no hatred,
who is gentle and friendly to all,
who is beyond the feeling of ‘I’ or ‘mine’,
who is poised in pain or pleasure
and is endowed with forgiveness
(is dear to me).

14The yogi who is self-controlled,
always content, and of firm resolve,
with single-minded devotion to me,
is dear to me!

15He is dear to me
whose peace is not shaken by anyone,
who is at peace with everyone, and
who is free from fear, restlessness,
envy, and reckless joy.

16One who is pure and expects nothing,
one who is diligent, impartial and calm,
one who works without selfish motives
and is devoted to me,
is dear to me!

17He neither revels nor hates
nor complains nor craves,
he has given up fortune and misfortune,
 and he is truly devoted.
He is dear to me!
The outcome of a process may be favorable or unfavorable; but it makes no difference to such a person because he has given up reacting to both. Generally we tend to enjoy good fortune and complain about misfortune but such a person does neither; he just does his work.

18He is the same to friend and foe,
in honor and disgrace,
to heat and cold,
in pleasure and pain;
he is free from attachments!

19Praise and criticism are the same to him,
he is contemplative and contented,
he does not care for a home,
he is steady-minded, and
he is full of devotion.
He is dear to me!
‘He does not care for a home’ indicates that he doesn’t consider any place as home, yet he feels at home everywhere.

20Those who regard me as the highest goal
and practice with sincerity and faith
the immortal wisdom that I have declared
are indeed very dear to me!

<< Chapter 11. Universal Form

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