Ancient India
Bhakti: Devotion

Arjuna

   Of the worshippers, who thus, constantly devoted, meditate on you, and those who meditate on the unperceived and indestructible, which best know devotion? 1


Krishna

   Those who being constantly devoted, and possessed of the highest faith, worship me with a mind fixed on me, are deemed by me to be the most devoted.

   But those, who, restraining the whole group of the senses, and with a mind at all times equable, meditate on the indescribable, indestructible, unperceived principle which is all-pervading, unthinkable, indifferent, immovable, and constant—they, intent on the good of all beings, necessarily attain to me.

   For those whose minds are attached to the unperceived, 2 the trouble is much greater. Because the unperceived goal is obtained by embodied beings only with great difficulty.

   As to those, O son of Pritha, who, dedicating all their actions to me, and holding me as their highest goal, worship me, meditating on me with a devotion towards none besides me and whose minds are fixed on me, I, without delay come forward as their deliverer from the ocean of this world of death.

   Place your mind on me only; fix your understanding on me. In me you will dwell hereafter, there is no doubt.

   But if you are unable to fix your mind steadily on me, endeavor to obtain me by the abstraction or mind resulting from continuous meditation.

   If you are unequal even to continuous meditation, then let acts for propitiating me be your highest aim. Even performing actions in order to propitiate me, you will attain perfection.

   If you are unable to do even this, then resort to devotion to me, and, with self-restraint, abandon all fruit of action. For knowledge is better than continuous meditation; concentration is esteemed higher than knowledge; and the abandonment of fruit of action than concentration; from that abandonment, tranquillity soon results.

   That devotee of mine, who hates no being, who is friendly and compassionate, who is free from individuality, and from the idea of possessions, to whom happiness and misery are alike, who is forgiving, contented, constantly devoted, self-restrained, and firm in his determinations, and whose mind and understanding are devoted to me, he is dear to me. He through whom the world.is not agitated, and who is not agitated by the world, who is free from joy and anger and fear and agitation, he, too, is dear to me. That devotee of mine, who is unconcerned, pure, assiduous, impartial, free from suffering, who abandons all fruits of his actions, he is dear to me. He who is full of devotion to me, who feels no joy and no aversion, who does not grieve and does not desire, who abandons both what is agreeable and what is disagreeable, he is dear to me. He who behaves and feels alike to friend and foe and is indifferent to honor and dishonor, who is the same whether in cold or heat, pleasure and pain, who is free from attachments, to whom praise and blame are identical, who is silent, and contented with anything whatever that comes, who is homeless, and of a steady mind, and full of devotion, that man is dear to me.

   But those devotees who, imbued with faith, and regarding me as their highest goal, resort to this holy means for attaining immortality, as stated, they are the dearest of all to me.

Translated by Kashinath Trimbak Telano, 1882
Edited and annotated by Richard Hooker



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Updated 10-19-97