Teachings From The Bhagavad Gita

by Jivamukti Editorial Team |
July, 2005
Teachings From The Bhagavad Gita

The Way of Divine Love

Arjuna said: “Those devotees who, ever steadfast, worship You after this fashion, and those others who worship the Imperishable and Unmanifest – which of these have greater knowledge of yoga?”

The Lord said: “Those who have fixed their minds on Me, and who, ever faith, worship Me – them do I hold to be perfect in yoga.”

“And those who have completely controlled their senses and are of even mind under all conditions and thus worship the Imperishable, the Ineffable, the Incomprehensible, the Immutable, the Unchanging, the Eternal – they devoted to the welfare of all beings, attain Me alone, and none else.

The task of those whose minds are set on the Unmanifest is more difficult; for the ideal of the Unmanifest is hard to attain for those who are embodied.”

“But those who consecrate all their actions to Me, regarding Me as the Supreme Goal, and who worship Me, meditating on Me with single-minded concentration – to them, whose minds are thus absorbed in Me, verily I become ere long, O Partha, the Saviour from the death-fraught ocean of the world.”

“Fix your mind on Me alone, rest your thoughts on Me alone, and in Me alone you will live hereafter. Of this there is no doubt.”

“If you are unable to fix your mind steadily on Me, O Dhananjaya, then seek to reach me by the yoga of constant practice.”

“If you are incapable of constant practice, then devote yourself to My service. For even by rendering service to Me you will attain perfection.”

“If you are unable to do even this, then be self-controlled, surrender the fruit of all action, and take refuge in Me.”

“Knowledge is better than practice, and meditation is better than knowledge. Renunciation of the fruit of action is better than meditation; peace immediately follows such renunciation.”

“He who never hates any being and is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from the feelings if “I” and “mine” and even-minded in pain and pleasure, who is forbearing, ever content, and steady in contemplation, who is self-controlled and possessed of firm conviction, and who has consecrated his mind and understanding to Me – dear to Me is the one who is thus devoted to Me.”

“He by whom the world is not afflicted and whom the world cannot afflict, he who is free from joy and anger, fear and anxiety – he is dear to Me.”

“He who is free from dependence, who is pure and prompt, unconcerned and untroubled, and who has renounced all undertakings – dear to Me is the man who is thus devoted to Me.”

“He who rejoices not and hates not, who grieves not and desires not, who has renounced both good and evil and is full of devotion – he is dear to Me.”

“He who is alike to foe and friend; unaltered in honour and dishonour; who is the same in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain; who is unchanged by praise and blame; who is silent, content with whatever he has, homeless, firm of mind, and full of devotion – that man is dear to Me.”

“Exceedingly dear to Me are they who regard Me as the Supreme Goal and, endowed with faith and devotion, follow this Immortal Dharma.”

Thus in the Bhagavad Gita, the Essence of the Upanishads, the Science of Brahma, the Scripture of Yoga, the Dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the Twelfth Chapter, entitled: The Way of Divine Love.

The teachings of the Gita are presented in the form of a dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna. The background of a battle-field imparts a dramatic charm. Sri Krishna, the teacher, is regarded by the Hindus as the Lord Himself in a human form. A student absorbed in the book often forgets its historical character and feels as though many of its inspiring passages are directly addressed to himself by the Lord, who is the Inner Guide of all. The suggestiveness of the book is almost without limit if it is read with the right attitude of mind. Many of the passages, written in aphoristic form, can be memorized and recalled at the time of meditation or in those moments of life when spiritual inspiration is required.

(Translated from the Sanskrit by Swami Nikhilananda; published by the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center)

Commentary by Ruth Lauer-Manenti

The aim of yoga is not limited to health and longevity; it has a much wider scope. In the Bhagavad Gita, practices of yoga are said to change one’s entire perspective of life. One sees the world, our fellow human beings, the animal and the plant kingdoms all as manifestations of the Lord. It is a majestic song that teaches how to live and love daily with the attitude of the yogi. Krishna’s words are described as nectar.

The story starts with Arjuna’s sorrow. Overcome with sadness, he is “not able to stand steady” I:30.

With compassion, Krishna, the Lord of the world, gives the medicine:

“Never was there a time when I was not, nor thou, nor will there ever be a time when we shall cease to be.” II:12

“In this path, no effort is ever lost.” II:40

“From anger arises confusion, from confusion memory loss, from memory loss lack of intelligence by which we perish.” II:63

“He who enjoys the gift of life without giving back is verily a thief.” III:12

“Thou shouldst work with a world view.” III:20

“Whatever a great man does the same is done by other. Whatever standard he sets the world follows.” III:21

“…Some offer hearing, others offer sound…” IV:26

“No one becomes a yogi who has not renounced his selfish purpose.” VI:2

In these verses, Krishna gives the message to reach the high happiness, the superior happiness, the kingdom of happiness itself. By the application of the teachings we too, like Arjuna, can “lift ourselves by our Selves” VI:5.

Arjuna asks the questions of the spiritual student wanting to be educated. Krishna gives the honey-like teachings. Let us gather and receive the blessed food of the Gita.

– Ruth Lauer-Manenti

Ruth Lauer-ManentiCommentary Teacher Ruth Lauer-Manenti first started practicing yoga fifteen years ago as an alternative to physical therapy when she spent a year in bed after a near fatal car accident. Gradually through asana practice she became strong again and the pain subsided. As a student and teacher of yoga, she believes in a challenging daily diligent consistent practice. The ‘practice’ aspect of a spiritual practice such as yoga teaches the practitioner that improvement always comes. Thus the practice of being good, being truthful, being fearless, being happy seem more approachable once the experience of practice is understood. Challenges always force us to go deep since our greatest treasures and as our greatest potential is deep within us; thus a challenging class is always a good thing. Ruth’s inspiration comes from watching David and Sharon; their courage, perseverance, and general generosity, and from her guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois; and from her own practice which keeps her in touch with her good side! She says “it is from that side that I hope to teach my classes.” She also has a M.F.A. from Yale where she is currently teaching painting and printmaking.