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Devotion in the Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 verse 26

OM Patram Pushpam Phalam Toyam Yo Me Bhaktyā Prayacchati
Tad Aham Bhaktyupahrtam Aśnāmi Prayatātmanah

He who offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water,
I receive that devotional offering from one who’s mind is restrained.

Devotion in the Bhagavad Gita

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna instructs Arjuna in how to live a yogic life. In the Sanskrit verse above, he tells Arjuna when one makes an offering with sincerity, even when it is something small, like a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, Krishna will receive that devotional offering. What does it mean for Krishna to say he will receive an offering? First let’s note that Krishna represents distinct and overlapping elements: He is the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, who incarnated into form to help rid the world of suffering. And simultaneously, Krishna is as a loving teacher, who guides his capable student, Arjuna.

When Krishna says ‘he who offers to Me’ the capitalization of the ‘m’ in the word ‘Me’ throughout the translation, refers to Krishna as Supreme God, the avatar of the all-powerful Lord Vishnu. The reader must understand that when Krishna refers to himself, as Me with a capital ‘M;’ he is not simply referring to himself as an embodied being named Krishna, the capitalization is referring to Krishna as God itself.

When someone accepts your offering what happens? The offering becomes a part of him. Likewise when God receives your offering it becomes a part of him.  Krishna tells Arjuna that he will receive the offering when it is extended with devotion. A devotional offering acts as a bridge linking the offerer to God’s full acceptance which is the realization of Self.

A Quiet Mind

What is a quiet mind? A quiet mind is a mind devoid of thoughts. Generally speaking, the mind moves from thought to thought, while a quiet mind remains still. Since the still mind is free from thoughts, (i.e. doesn’t jump from thought to thought), so, one who has a quiet mind doesn’t move through life by the mind alone.  Instead the one absorbed in thoughtless reality, derives strength and inner guidance from what lies beyond the realm of thought. The verse says, Krishna will accept the devotional offering and that offering will merge in him, but that will only happen when the offering is made by one who’s mind is restrained. The job of the yogini-in-training is to quiet her mind. Luckily the great sages left us yogic practices, such as asana, chanting and meditation to support the cultivation of inner silence.

Luminous Soul Meditation

Sit quietly for 8 minutes
Pay attention to your breathing
Survey your body
Sense any tension bring your awareness there and soften
Watch your thoughts as they rise and fall
Don’t move to make meaning just watch
Venture out beyond mind and feel what you are beyond thought
Be with that

©2020 Luminous Shabda, Luminous Soul & Manorama

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