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Love vs the Law: How Devotion to Krishna Can Change Your Karma

Jun 16th, 2024 | 4 Min Read
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Category: Bhagavad Gita


Language: English

The JKYog Bhagavad Gita Online class discussion covered Shlokas from 4.9 to 4.12. 
जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वत: |
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन || 9||
janma karma cha me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna
Engaging in devotional remembrance of God cleanses our minds. This cleansing occurs through focusing one's thoughts and emotions on the divine, which acts as a purifying agent for the mind. The verse explains that devotion to the formless aspect of God (nirguna) can be challenging for many because it lacks tangible attributes that the human mind can grasp or connect with. Without a specific form or attributes, people may struggle to focus their devotion during meditation on the formless.

On the other hand, devotion to God's personal form (saguna sākār) is considered tangible and straightforward. This form of devotion involves developing divine sentiments (bhav) toward God's characteristics, such as his names, form, virtues, pastimes, abode, and associates.
The example of idol worshipping illustrates how divine sentiments (bhāv) play a crucial role in purifying the mind.  Even though the idol or picture itself is not divine, the devotee perceives it as the residence of God due to their deep emotional connection and belief. This sentiment of seeing the divine in the stone idol purifies their mind through devotion.

Therefore, the verse suggests that whether one chooses to focus on the formless aspect of God or the personal form, the key to purification is cultivating deep emotional and spiritual sentiments towards the object of devotion. 
The passage elucidates the distinction between God's actions, termed "leelas," and the actions of materially bound souls referred to as "work." God, being beyond material existence and perfectly satiated with infinite bliss within His own personality, does not perform actions out of personal need or desire for fulfilment. His actions, termed "leelas," are divine manifestations that serve the welfare of materially conditioned souls. 

Materially bound souls, on the other hand, act out of self-interest and the desire for personal fulfilment.  These actions are driven by the longing of the soul, which seeks happiness and satisfaction that are yet unattainable.  Such actions are termed as "work" (karma). God's birth is described as divine because it does not occur through the usual biological processes, such as being born from a mother's womb.  It's a divine manifestation that underscores His eternal nature, transcendence, and all-encompassing bliss. 

In essence, the passage emphasises the transformative power of faith in recognising and appreciating Bhagawan Shree Krishna's divine manifestations and pastimes. This faith serves as a catalyst for profound devotion and spiritual progress towards the ultimate spiritual destination.
वीतरागभयक्रोधा मन्मया मामुपाश्रिता: |
बहवो ज्ञानतपसा पूता मद्भावमागता: || 10||
vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhā man-mayā mām upāśhritāḥ
bahavo jñāna-tapasā pūtā mad-bhāvam āgatāḥ
Individuals can purify their minds and hearts by cultivating a deep understanding and appreciation of the divine and engaging sincerely in devotional practices. This purification process leads to the direct experience and realisation of God, thereby achieving the ultimate goal of spiritual life.
The purification of the mind, as described in Shree Krishna's teachings in the Bhagavad Gita, involves several key aspects: giving up attachment, overcoming fear, dispelling anger, and absorbing the mind in God.  

This world of Maya consists of the three modes of material nature—sattva, rajas, and tamas (goodness, passion, and ignorance). All objects and personalities in the world come within the realm of these three modes. When our mind gets attached to a material object or person, it too becomes affected by the three modes.  Instead, when our mind gets attached to God, who is beyond the three modes of material nature, such devotion purifies the mind.
ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते तांस्तथैव भजाम्यहम् |
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्या: पार्थ सर्वश: || 11||
ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāns tathaiva bhajāmyaham
mama vartmānuvartante manuṣhyāḥ pārtha sarvaśhaḥ
Shree Krishna declares that he reciprocates lovingly and intimately with those who surrender to him with devotion (bhakti). For those who deny the existence of God or refuse to surrender to him, Krishna interacts with them through the law of karma. He resides within the hearts of all living entities, impartially witnessing their actions and thoughts. Based on their karma (actions), individuals experience the appropriate positive or negative results. 

Those who deny or do not recognise the existence of God (atheists) too cannot get away from serving Him; they are obliged to serve God's material energy, Maya, in its various apparitions, as wealth, luxuries, relatives, prestige, etc. Maya holds them under the sway of anger, lust, and greed. 
Those who are surrendered, who turn their mind away from worldly attractions and look upon Him as their only goal and refuge, God takes care of them just as a mother takes care of her child.  He destroys their accumulated karmas of an endless lifetime, cuts the bonds of Maya, removes the darkness of material existence, and bestows divine bliss, divine knowledge, and divine love.
काङ् क्षन्त: कर्मणां सिद्धिं यजन्त इह देवता: |
क्षिप्रं हि मानुषे लोके सिद्धिर्भवति कर्मजा || 12||
kāṅkṣhantaḥ karmaṇāṁ siddhiṁ yajanta iha devatāḥ
kṣhipraṁ hi mānuṣhe loke siddhir bhavati karmajā
Those who worship the celestial gods often seek their blessings for worldly gains such as wealth, health, progeny, success in endeavours, etc. The celestial gods, being empowered by the Supreme God, have the authority to bestow such material boons upon their devotees.  The celestial gods give boons only by the powers bestowed upon them by the Supreme God. People with a small understanding approach them, but those who are intelligent realise there is no point in going to the intermediary, and they approach the Supreme God to fulfil their aspirations. 

Summary: JKYog India Online Class- Bhagavad Gita [English]- 15.06.2024