Bhagavad Gita Lessons

Lesson 9: God as the provider of livelihood             
Session: 213

For those people who have chosen God to be their ultimate destination, God makes a special promise. Lord Krishna says that God will meet all the basic requirements to lead a peaceful life and protect their material possessions.

Such promise is given for two specific reasons.

Reasons for receiving this support from God:

This is for helping them to reach God, since they have chosen the correct goal.

Example: People, who are willing to do research after their basic qualification, are provided with a stipend by those who are interested in their research. Achievement of new heights in any field of knowledge is not possible unless this basic support is given.

Similarly, if one has to reach God, the focus will have to be shifted from the material pursuit. One has to spend all the available time to reach God and therefore there will be no time left for earning the required money to support self and the family. If one continues to spend time on material pursuit, one cannot reach the ultimate destination. Therefore, God provides the required support.

There is another reason for such promise. It is for the general welfare of the society.

Example: The government supports various arts and culture of the land to preserve the heritage.

Similarly, God supports those who help the society in their spiritual pursuit. Only those who have kept God as their ultimate destination can guide others to follow them. If such people perish in the world for want of enough material comforts then people in general will develop an aversion towards the spiritual pursuit.

Qualifications required for receiving this support from God:

One should not have multiple goals in life. In general, people will have multiple goals and work towards better health, status, family and such different aspects of the life. Such people are not covered under this promise. It is expected that an individual must dedicate all his efforts towards reaching God.

Whatever they do should be for knowing God.

Example: If one is scheduled to leave by the early morning train, whatever the actions (like brushing the teeth or having a cup of coffee) he does are with the underlying goal of reaching the station in time.

Similarly, one should eat, sleep, talk and do anything for the sake of knowing God. Only to such people, God makes the promise of providing for all the support.

This support is not available for people who are lazy and do not want to do work.

Example: Admission to research scholars is only to those who are capable to get a job and earn money. If some one is incapable of getting a job, he will not be selected to be a research scholar.

Similarly, those who are not capable of earning enough money cannot start praying to God, with a hope that God will provide them for their livelihood. One should have the capability and willingness to shoulder the responsibility of supporting self and the family. Only if such people decide to seek God instead, they will be eligible to get this support from God.

The final requirement is trust in the words of God. One who spends time in praying to God, without complete trust, will not receive the support from God.

Teaching 107: God provides the material support if the destination is God

Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge                
Verse: 22

9.22 Those who see Me as non-different from them, worship the indwelling Me with devotion, I take care of what they lack and preserve what they have.

Lesson 10: God as provider of fortunes            
Session: 214

People, who do not know the true nature of God, assume him to be a superman with extraordinary powers and resources. Therefore, they seek his help to achieve what they are not able to do with their limited resources.

In whatever form people pray to him, God grants their wishes resulting in following two benefits.

Benefit 1: People start believing in God and their belief becomes stronger.

Benefit 2: People start realizing that there is no permanent happiness in what they seek. They keep trying to look for varied objects with the hope that they will be contented. Only through such experiences they will realize the futility of prosperity.

It does not matter how long one prays to God or how sincerely he prays. Unless he understands the limitation of the world to satisfy his ultimate requirements, he will remain as a seeker. If he does good actions in addition to his prayers, God might give him opportunities to learn the true knowledge of God. Once people gain the true perspective of God, they will surrender to God and pray for reaching him. Merging with God will become their only objective in life.

People get opportunities based on their past actions. They need to use such opportunities to grow up in the spiritual path. However, due to ignorance they do not seek God as the objective of life. But this is also a stepping stone to reach the God ultimately.

Example: Every student studying in various grades of a school wants to complete the final grade. However, they may not be aware of this goal. Most students will be assuming that their goal is to complete the grade that they are currently in.

Similarly, merging with God is the only objective of every living being. However, many of them may be having other goals, which will lead them to God ultimately.

Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge             
Verses: 23 – 25

9.23 Oh Arjuna, even those who are devotees of other finite gods and who worship them with faith are worshipping Me alone unknowingly.

9.24 Indeed, I alone am the only enjoyer and the lord of all sacrifice. But they do not know Me in reality. Therefore, they fall.

9.25 Those who worship the deities will reach the deities; those who worship ancestors reach the ancestors; and those who worship Me reach Me.

Lesson 11: Method of praying to God  
Session: 215 – 216

Prayer to God should be based out of devotion and not due to any other factors like fear of God, habit, etc. In general, people start praying to God due to the customs and traditions in the family. This practice will mature into devotion depending on the knowledge one has about God.

Methods of offering prayer to God vary among people. There are many different actions associated with the prayer depending on the culture/ traditions followed in the family. Actions are not important but the attitude with which such actions are performed is very important and determines the result.

Example: A mother’s willing to sacrifice her personal comforts shows her love for her baby.

Similarly, our willingness to make offerings to God shows our devotion to God. It does not matter what we offer to God but with what attitude we offer them matters.

Lord Krishna recommends that we offer our regular work as a dedication to God. We should not divide our life into professional life and spiritual life. Normally people spend few minutes for God and rest of the time is spent on material pursuit. This is not expected by God. Even if people spend enormous time, money and effort on praying to God, if they do not live according to Dharma, God is not pleased.

Link between action and attitude while praying to God

The knowledge of God determines one’s attitude towards God. The attitude expresses itself into action.

Example: If a phone call is received from a superior, the body language expresses the attitude. Out of respect for the superior one may stand up and talk.

Similarly, our attitude decides our method of offering prayer to God. However, it is also possible that our action will lead to proper attitude.

Example: If we keep wishing our neighbor ‘Good Morning’ everyday and offer to help whenever an opportunity arises, such actions will mature into friendship.

Therefore, if we follow the tradition of prostrating before the God’s statue, it may bring respect and love for God. Gaining knowledge about God is an essential component of this process. For example, if we do not get to know our neighbor, our friendly actions will not result in friendship.

Benefit of making offerings to God
God does not require anything from us since everything belongs to Him. Whatever offers we make, they are for our own benefits only. Following are the distinct benefits that one may get depending on the attitude with which such actions are performed.

Benefit 1: Work will become a pleasure.
If we do our work as a dedication to God, we will enjoy our work. We will not wait for the results of our work.
Example: A driver expects salary for driving around his master. One day as a part of his work, he was asked to bring Mahatma Gandhi from the railway station. He is so proud of driving Gandhi home that he feels very happy while doing the work. This is because of his attitude towards Gandhi.
Similarly, if we assume God as our master, then we will do all our work with perfection and to the best of our ability. Getting an opportunity to serve our master (God) will be considered as an honor and we will not be looking forward to any results like award, reward, recognition for our work.

Benefit 2: As a reminder to our status.
We do not own anything in this world. Even our own body and mind belong to God. We are allowed by God to use our possessions as a trustee and we cannot claim ownership.
Example: If coffee is offered to a guest in a silver cup, he can use the cup until he drinks the coffee. He cannot claim the ownership of the cup saying that it has been given to him!
Similarly, the objects of the world are given to us by God for our enjoyment. We cannot claim ownership on anything.
This is the reason that people perform special prayer on construction of a new house. God is installed in the new house as the owner of the house and then one can live there as His tenant.

Benefit 3: To ensure that we follow Dharma.
When we make offering to God to acknowledge his role in our life, we are reminded that we should follow Dharma at all times. Since this is God’s world, as trustees we should not do anything for personal gain. The trustees are allowed to use the funds of the trust to meet all the cost of functioning as trustees. Similarly, we can enjoy a comfortable life. However, we should not violate Dharma for personal gain. Adhering to Dharma will accelerate our progress in our spiritual pursuit. Praying to God will remind us to do dharma and it will also prevent us from doing Adharma.

Benefit 4: To facilitate surrender of our ego.
Whenever we gain any material benefit, a portion of it is offered to God as a token of our acknowledgement of the role of God. As we gain maturity, we will see that the entire credit should go to God and we have no role to play. Thus, we will realize the true status of our ego. It does not have any role. We assume due to ignorance that we are the doer of actions and enjoyer of the results. We are just tools in the hands of God and all our actions are done by Him.

Benefit 5: To gain complete knowledge on God.
The practice of Dharma while offering prayers will provide us with right teacher to guide us in gaining the ultimate knowledge of God. Our actions will shape our attitude and we will respect the scriptures and trust the words of the teacher.
As a result, we will acquire all the required qualifications to know God. Our prayer will mature and it will reach its height corresponding to our knowledge of God.

Teaching 108: Offerings to God should be made with the right attitude.

Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge             
Verses: 26 – 27

9.26 If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.

9.27 Oh Arjuna, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.

Lesson 12: Benefit of knowing God             
Session: 217

Among those people who believe in God, the practice of offering prayers to God will exist in some form or other. These practices will lead the individual to the final destination of knowing God in three stages.

Stage 1: Trading with God (“I give something to you”)

During the initial stages of devotion, prayers are restricted to mere rituals and it will be a part-time activity. In this stage, the people are not very different from those who do not believe in God because their knowledge of God is as little as that of non-believers. Prayers are limited to asking favors from God and offering a small percentage of the benefit back to God as return gift. It is mostly like a business deal with God. If God does not fulfill the wishes, then the treatment to God will accordingly change.

Actions are done for getting specific results and a small part is sacrificed in the name of God.

People will follow the prescription of Dharma for the fear of God. They will no longer be a sinner. This will enable them to progress to the next stage of devotion.

Stage 2: Offering work as worship (“I give everything to you”)

When people graduate to this level, there is a conscious decision to expand the time spent for God to cover all the waking part of the day. All the actions will be done as a prayer to God. All the results of the actions are accepted as gifts from God.

This will enable people to gain mental maturity that is required to receive the knowledge of God. They will accumulate positive results of good actions, which will help them to progress to the next stage.

Stage 3: Living as a tool of God (“I give me to you”)

In this final stage of devotion, the devotee receives the complete knowledge of God through Inquiry, Introspection and Inner Transformation and start living as an extension of God. There is no separation caused by ‘me’ and ‘mine’. The type of offering made to God is by recognizing the truth that the giver, given and the receiver are different representation of God.

At this stage, there are no more actions done by the individual because the ego is sacrificed to God. Therefore, there is no accumulation of results.

Teaching 109: Offerings to God will facilitate surrender of the Ego.

Thus, in the final stage, complete knowledge of God is gained. There are two distinct advantages of knowing God.

Advantage 1: Joyful Living

Once it is known that God is everything and there is nothing but God, life will become a celebration. There is nothing more to do, no destination to reach and life will be a picnic.

Advantage 2: Liberation from the cycle of birth and death

The journey that took infinite number of births and deaths ends when the complete knowledge of God is gained. Such people who have reached the destination will not have any pending wish to be fulfilled at the time of death. Therefore, they will not be born again.

God’s role in promoting the devotee

God is impartial. He does not extend any favor to anyone. How soon people gain these two benefits depends on the depth of devotion.

Example: On a cold night, if one sits next to the fire, the warmth gained depends on the distance from the fire. If someone is sitting far away from the fire, the benefit gained will be proportionately less.

Similarly, God response depends on the degree of devotion. God will grant the wishes of the devotees depending on their qualifications.

Example: The teacher teaches impartially to all the students and gives complete support to all the students to pass the exam. When he corrects the exam paper, he does not extend any favor to any student. The result of the exam will depend on the performance of the student.

Similarly, God guides us our spiritual education process and when we know God, we get the benefits. Such people will see God everywhere and God fills up their mind with His thoughts. The world will continue to be same for everyone. However, how such people view the world will be different. While others see it as a source of pleasure and pain, the true devotees see it as an expression of God. Therefore, they will not have anything to complain.

Teaching 110: The best devotee is one who has surrendering the ego to God.

Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge             
Verses: 28 – 29

9.28 In this way you will be freed from all reactions to good and evil deeds, and by this principle of renunciation you will be liberated and come to Me.

9.29 I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever worship me with complete devotion are in Me, and I am also in them.

Lesson 13: Guidance from God         
Session: 218 – 219

Sincerity shown in devotion is the only requirement to enter into the fold of God. The past action and the current status will not deter anyone from entering the path leading to God.

Example: A student who always misbehaves in the classroom, who does not listen to the teacher and who creates disturbance in the school has decided to concentrate on his studies. The teacher will be too happy to guide him and condone all his past mistakes instantly. The only requirement for the change in the attitude of the teacher is for him to know that the student has sincerely decided to concentrate on the studies.

Similarly, God instantly forgive all the sins committed in the past, if one surrenders to God with true devotion. God extends his support equally to everyone who wishes to progress in their spiritual journey.

Teaching 111: God forgives all our past mistakes if we surrender to Him completely

Steps in reaching God

Step 1: Adharma to Dharma

It is essential that one should stop all the activities declared as Adharma in the scriptures and live in line with Dharma.

Step 2: Surrender to God

The next step is to surrender to God to guide in all respects. One should offer prayers to God in whatever way one sees fit.

Step 3: Gain the absolute knowledge of God

God will guide everyone who has surrendered to the ultimate goal of knowing God.

Step 4: Joyful Living

Once God is known, earth will be a theme park and life will be Joyful. They will see permanency of God in this impermanent world. There is no more suffering in life for them since they are immersed in the joyful nature of God. Ignorance is wiped out by their knowledge of God. From mortal body they have shifted their attention to the immortal God.

This stage can be reached by any human being. The only requirement is to surrender to God and follow his advises.

Lord Krishna gives following advices to enable a devotee to reach Him.

Advice 1: Objective of life

People have various goals in life according to their understanding and knowledge. It is essential for the intelligence to see the incapability of the various material pursuits in life and identify the true objective of life, which is to reach God.

Thus, the intelligence should be focused on reaching God.

Advice 2: Fill the mind with God

Even when the intelligence understands that one should seek God, the mind may continue to be attracted by the external sense pleasures. One should use their intelligence effectively and control the mind to function within the decision taken on the objective of life.

Mind should be filled up with the thoughts of God.

Advice 3: Be a devotee to God

One should pray to God through appropriate actions with the right attitude. God should be used as a means to reach the objective of God. All other activities in life should serve as supporting action.

Advice 4: Actions in the name of God

All the actions in life should be done in the name of God.

Advice 5: Be absorbed in God

When the previous four advices are followed sincerely, one will reach a stage wherein it is possible to be a tool in the hands of God. The ego is completely dropped and one can merge with God.

Teaching 112: We should do all our actions with God consciousness

Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge             
Verses: 30 – 34

9.30 He who worships Me seeking nothing else should be considered a saint only, even if he has the worst conduct. For, he has resolved rightly.

9.31 He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. Oh Arjuna, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.

9.32 Oh Arjuna, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth, women, vaisyas, as well as sudras can attain Me by taking refuge in Me.

9.33 Then what to talk of the virtuous Brahmins and devout royal sages! Having come to this miserable world worship Me.

9.34 Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, keeping me as your goal, worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.

Lesson 14: Glory of God                
Session: 220 - 221

Lord Krishna repeats his teaching to Arjuna and explains how he is the cause of everything.

The reason for repeating the teaching

1. The subject is difficult

God is a subject that is not very easy to understand. It requires intensive coaching to convey the true meaning of God.

Example: We can read the newspaper only once. We need to spend more time to understand a technical paper.

It is easier to teach a subject that we do not know. Unfortunately, we have wrong notions of God and it makes Lord Krishna’s job difficult. He has to point out to the very same world and tell us it is not the world but an illusion superimposed on God.

2. Learning is progressive

To understand the truth about God, our mind has to be matured sufficiently. The process of maturity starts when the teaching starts since until then we had no systematic way of making our mind matured. As our mind is more matured, same teaching makes more sense when it is repeated.

We need the teaching to continue until we learn. It is similar to eating. We need to keep eating until our hunger is removed. Similarly, we need to learn until our ignorance is removed.

3. The student is enjoying the teaching

It is essential that the listener is involved in the teaching. In this case, Arjuna appears to be engrossed in the teaching and therefore, Lord Krishna says that he will elaborate the teaching.

4. Lord Krishna is the only teacher

Only God can talk about himself. No one else is qualified to teach, since everyone else is part of the creation and God is the creator. Even Vedas are ‘heard’ by the sages and they are not authored by any human being. To ensure that Vedas are understood properly, God himself has descended into the world to clarify the contents of Vedas, to the right student at the right opportunity.

Thus, to ensure proper understanding of God by humankind, Lord Krishna who is the Descending Avatar talks about his glories. He mentions various things in the creation and point out that he is behind its creation. His choice of items chosen is random to make a point that he is everything.

Teaching 113: God has given the knowledge to us through Vedas

Recap on the teaching so far

1. God is attributeless Brahman combined with the illusion
2. He is the cause of creation
3. He is both the intelligence cause and material cause of the universe.
4. Material cause means, whatever we perceive is God

However, in spite of his teaching, we do not see the God everywhere in the world. We still go to temple to pray to God. World continues to be a source of pleasure and pain to us. Therefore, God repeats his teaching by elaborating his glories. In this way, we will be reminded of God's presence all the time.

Reason for not perceiving God in the world

The only reason for not perceiving God in everything we see is our weakness of getting lost in the names and forms.

Example: When a burglar enters a jewelry shop in the night to steal, sees every ornament as gold. He is not distracted by the name and form of the jewels.

Similarly, we should be seeing God in everything. However, we are lost by the forms and names. Forms and names have only functional utility.

Example: While every part of the earth is called earth, we divide them and give a name for functional convenience. We should not think India is independent of earth. There is no India. There is only the earth. India is just a name and form created by us for our use.

Similarly, the whole world is presented to us for enjoyment. However, we are lost in the name and form, and forget to see the substance behind everything. God is the name for all the forms that we perceive. There is nothing but God.

Reasons for Lord Krishna describing God’s glory

1. For reinforcing the knowledge in the mind

It is like giving imposition in school. Since we do not seem to remember God, an imposition is given to list all things in the world and know that it is God. We can spend some time everyday meditating on the list of God’s glory. In this way, we will be reminded to treat everything and everyone as God.

This is similar to visiting many temples across the country until one sees the truth that there is only one God behind all the forms and names.

2. For removal of hatred, anger, fear and such negative emotions
The cause for all our negative emotions comes from the external world.

Example: When we are driving the car, an old man attempts to cross the road without any warning and we had to brake. We get irritated.

When we know that that the old man is also God, we will not get any negative feeling. Whatever happens is according to the will of the God and everyone around us is God. Therefore, we cannot dislike anyone nor hate anyone.

This does not mean that we will not try to avoid unpleasant events.

Example: If our neighbor picks up a fight with us, we will continue to avoid him. However, there will not be any ill feeling towards him since we are now aware that he is also God and he is our neighbor according to the will of the God.

Similarly, our likes and dislikes will continue with reduced force without causing any negative emotions that are normally associated with our likes and dislikes.

3. For removal of ego

In general, people are proud about their possessions, position, status, wealth, knowledge, education etc.

 Example: I am proud of going to moon and returning.

Whenever we do something worthwhile, without our knowledge, our ego gets inflated. The more we have, the more inflated our ego will be. When we know that God is the sole cause for all our achievements, then we will have nothing to be proud of. As a result, our ego will disappear.

People who are stupid without any possessions/ skills will not have any ego. This is not desirable since even animals do not have any ego. Ego is a necessary by product of our hard work and achievements. We should have strong ego in order to surrender it to God. If there is no ego in the first place there is nothing to offer to God.

Example: A mango fruit will be small and unripe in the beginning. It should be allowed to grow big and ripen before it could be plucked from the tree.

Similarly, only when our ego is fully ripened it will be ready for offering to God.

4. For removal of Jealousy

When we know that God’s grace is the only cause of our own greatness, we will recognize that the very same God is responsible for others greatness as well. Therefore, whenever we get to know any achievement of people known to us, we will not feel any jealousy.

It may be that we work hard and do not get recognition while others are rewarded for idling or functioning in a detrimental way. If we understand that this is also God’s will, we will not be affected. We will continue to be motivated to do our work in the best possible manner.

5. For expanding the mind

The narrow mindedness will be cured with the knowledge that God appears in various names and forms. The mind will be expanded to cover the entire universe.

Example: The term ‘mine’ includes all the objects and space owned by us. Although no one occupies more space than the size of the body, people claim all the property owned by them as ‘mine’.

Such expansion of the term ‘mine’ is further extended to cover everything with the knowledge that everything is ours.

Earlier we will be thinking that there is only one God and that is our god in a specific name and form. As we learn the glory of God that it is he who supports everything, we progress higher in our understanding and know God to be the name for all forms.

6. For equating the pairs of opposites

The life is a combination of good and bad, life and death, truth and false, sacred and evil, Dharma and Adharma. God declares that he is behind both. If we do not have sufficient knowledge we will assume that the evil force is outside and away from God. This assumption actually reduces the glory of God. To reinforce the truth, God declares that even evil forces are his own expressions.

This can also be logically explained. Although these dualities appear to be opposite in nature, they define each other. It is not possible to have something as good without the corresponding bad.

Once we understand this truth, we will deal with both these extreme with equanimity. We will not praise the positive and condemn the negative. We will remain neutral to both since both are expression of God.

This does not mean that we will live our life doing bad or evil acts. During the initial stages, people might not be following Dharma. Such people are not qualified to progress in the spiritual path until they surrender to God. Only when all the negative actions are consciously avoided, one can move up to understand the glory of God.

Therefore, after understanding the glory of God, people will follow Dharma but they will not be affected or perturbed by Adharma of others.

7. For establishing oneness

Everyone thinks, ‘I am different from World’. Therefore, there are two entities, which are different from each other, namely, the observer (self) and the observed (the whole world comprising of everything known).

In addition to these two entities, a third entity is added, namely, God by the Holy Scriptures. Only from Vedas, we can know the existence of God. Even if Lord Krishna is declaring, that he is God, how do we know it is correct? We need to have faith in the scriptures and see the logic in the declaration.

Then the God is expanded to cover the entire creation. In the term ‘creation’, our own body mind complex is also included. Therefore, at this stage, the three entities are reduced to two, namely, God and self.

Instead of the duality of ‘the world and I’, we are presented with the advanced knowledge of ‘God and I’. We are to surrender to God and he will guide us to know the absolute knowledge that there is nothing but God so that we can live joyfully.

Chapter 10: Glory of God                     
Verses: 01 – 42

10.1 Lord Krishna said, Oh Arjuna, once again may you listen to My supreme word, which I shall impart to you for your benefit and which will give you great joy.

10.2 Neither the hosts of deities nor the great sages know My origin, for, in every respect, I am the source of the deities and the sages.

10.3 Among mortals, only those with discrimination knows Me as the beginning less, cause less and as the great Lord of all the worlds, is freed from all sins.

10.4-5 Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, self-control and calmness, pleasure, pain, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, charity, fame and infamy are all born out of Me alone.

10.6 The seven great sages and before them the four other great sages and the fourteen Manus, who possess My nature and whose progeny are these in the world are born out of My mind.

10.7 He who knows in truth this glory and power of Mine, is blessed with unshaken knowledge. There is no doubt in this.

10.8 I am the source of everything and everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly well worship Me with devotion.

10.9 Fixing the mind and senses on Me, mutually sharing the knowledge (about Me), and speaking of Me, they are always contented and delighted.

10.10 To those who are constantly worshiping Me with devotion, I give the understanding by which they reach Me.

10.11 Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.

10.12-13 Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal and all-pervading. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala, and Vyasa proclaim this of You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me.

10.14 Oh Krishna, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me because neither the gods nor the demons know Your manifestation, Oh Lord.

10.15 Indeed, You alone know Yourself by Yourself, Oh creator of all, Lord of all beings, protector of the universe, God of gods!

10.16 Please tell me in detail of Your divine powers by which You pervade all these worlds and abide in them.

10.17 How should I meditate on You? In what various forms are You to be contemplated, Oh Lord?

10.18 Tell me again in detail, Oh Krishna, of Your mighty powers and manifestations, for I am never tired of hearing Your nectar of words.

10.19 Lord Krishna replied, Well I will tell you My main divine glories, Oh Arjuna, because there is no limit to My manifestations.

10.20 I am the Self, Oh Arjuna, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.

10.21 Of the Adityas I am Visnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, I am Marici of the Maruts, and among the stars I am the moon.

10.22 Of the Vedas I am the Sama-Vedas; of the deities I am Indra; of the senses I am the mind, and in living beings I am the living force [knowledge].

10.23 Of all the Rudras I am Lord Siva; of the Yaksas and Raksasas I am the Lord of wealth; of the Vasus I am fire, and of mountains I am Meru.

10.24 Of all the priests, Oh Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brhaspati, the lord of devotion. Of generals I am Skanda, the lord of war; and of bodies of water I am the ocean.

10.25 Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental Om. Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names, and of immovable things I am the Himalayas.

10.26 Of all trees I am the holy fig tree, and among sages and deities I am Narada. Of the singers of the gods [Gandharvas] I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.

10.27 Of horses know Me to be Uccaihsrava, who rose out of the ocean, born of the elixir of immortality; of lordly elephants I am Airavata, and among men I am the monarch.

10.28 Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi, givers of abundant milk. Of procreators I am Kandarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki, the chief.

10.29 Of the celestial Naga snakes I am Ananta; of the aquatic deities I am Varuna. Of departed ancestors I am Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama, lord of death.

10.30 Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda, the feathered carrier of Visnu.

10.31 Of purifiers I am the wind; of the wielders of weapons I am Rama; of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.

10.32 Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, Oh Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.

10.33 Of letters I am the letter A, and among compounds I am the dual word. I am also inexhaustible time, and of creators I am Brahma, whose manifold faces turn everywhere.

10.34 I am all-devouring death, and I am the generator of all things yet to be. Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience.

10.35 Of hymns I am the Brhat-sama sung to the Lord Indra, and of poetry I am the Gayatri verse, sung daily by Brahmanas. Of months I am November and December, and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.

10.36 I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.

10.37 Of the descendants of Vrsni I am Vasudeva, and of the Pandavas I am Arjuna. Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great thinkers I am Usana.

10.38 Among punishments I am the rod of chastisement, and of those who seek victory, I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am wisdom.

10.39 Furthermore, Oh Arjuna, I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no being--moving or unmoving--that can exist without Me.

10.40 Oh Arjuna there is no end to My divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you are but a mere indication of My infinite opulence.

10.41 Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.

10.42 But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.

Lesson 15: Request for Universal Form 
Session: 222 - 223

Arjuna after listening to the teaching of Lord Krishna and clarifying his doubts, thus far, summarizes, his understanding. In the first six chapters, Lord Krishna taught the following:

1. My physical body is not me, but it is my vehicle to transact with the world.
2. My essential nature is eternal.
3. In order to convert this information into knowledge, I need to do Karma Yoga
a. Understand the difference between action and inaction
b. Gained clarity in the process of refining the mind through meditation
4. Once I gained self-knowledge, I can live joyfully.

By understanding these teachings, Arjuna says that his delusion is removed. He is no longer confused about waging a war against his opponents. The misunderstanding is removed. He has understood that he is neither the doer nor the enjoyer. Therefore, he is willing to do his duty of fighting for Dharma. However, he is not yet gained the complete clarity. He does not feel that he can live joyfully by knowing that he is different from the physical body.

From the seventh chapter until the tenth chapters, Lord Krishna has explained the role of God with respect to manifestation, sustenance and resolution of the creation that includes all the living beings. The true nature of God and His greatness is also explained in detail.

By repeating the teaching, Arjuna wants to convey to Lord Krishna that he has understood the teaching. In addition, he declares that he has complete faith in the words of Lord Krishna. This is an essential condition for seeking further help from the teacher. Arjuna was asking various questions to Lord Krishna to clarify his doubts during the teaching. Now he has understood fully and there are no more questions. Without having complete faith in the words of the teacher, if one seeks further help, it will not be useful.

Example: After a medical representative explains the potential of a new medicine, if the doctor does not have faith in the new medicine, the sample will not be used. To conclude the meeting the doctor might ask for sample medicine but he may never use it.

Therefore, prior to asking for further help from Lord Krishna, Arjuna expresses his complete faith in the teaching given by Lord Krishna on:

1. True nature of living beings
2. True nature of God
3. God being the material cause of the universe

Lord Krishna is the Descending Avatar of God. Therefore, at this stage of learning, Arjuna requests for a practical demonstration of the powers of God.

Example: The chemistry teacher explains that if phosphorous is exposed to the dry air, it will burn instantly. The students may ask for the practical demonstration to reinforce the learning.

Similarly, Arjuna wants a practical demonstration. A demonstration may be granted if student is serious and the teacher feels it will help further learning.

Example: If the students are not serious about learning and they are asking for practical demonstration for taking a break from the boring lecture, the teacher may not accede to the request. The teacher will arrange for a practical demonstration only if he feels that the students are serious about learning.

Similarly, if Arjuna does not have faith in Lord Krishna’s words and ask for a practical demonstration, his request may not be obliged. Secondly, Lord Krishna has to feel that Arjuna is a sincere student and he will be benefited by the practical demonstration.

Example: A diamond merchant claims that he has a valuable diamond in his possession. If a customer asks him, ‘Let me see it’, the diamond will be shown to him only if the merchant feels that the customer has the capacity to buy it.

Arjuna requests for a practical demonstration of the powers of God, if Lord Krishna thinks that, he is qualified to see it. He says that he wants to see Lord Krishna in his real form of God so that he can experience the vision conceived in his mind based on the teaching so far.

Chapter 11: The Universal form of God                   
Verses: 01 – 04

11.1 Arjuna said: I have heard Your instruction on the supreme secret which You have so kindly delivered unto me, and my delusion is now dispelled.

11.2 Oh Krishna, I have heard from You in detail about the appearance and disappearance of every living entity, as realized through Your inexhaustible glories.

11.3 Oh Krishna, it is just so as You describe Yourself. Oh Lord, I desire to see Your divine form.

11.4 If You consider that it can be seen by me, then. You show me Your universal form, Oh Lord!

Lesson 16: Universal form                        
Session: 224

Arjuna, being a good student, requests for a practical demonstration of the powers of God. Lord Krishna decides to grant this request since it will help the learning process.

Lord Krishna has taught Arjuna the glories of God. Such glories need not be explained in detail if the basic truth of God, namely he is the material cause of the universe is understood. Even after giving the details of God’s glory, Arjuna is not able to comprehend the truth of God. However, he has reached the stage wherein he has complete trust in the words of Lord Krishna. At this stage, it will be helpful to see a preview of the final truth.

Example: A movie is screened exclusively for the distributors so that they can assess how good the movie is. This is a preview preceding the release of the movie. Preview is essential to the release of the movie, since the distributors cannot comprehend the movie merely by hearing the storyline or seeing the cast.

Only if our mind is free of preferences we can comprehend that the universe that we experience is God. Until then we will see the world through our colored vision, which distorts the real picture of God into a place that gives pleasure and pain. One needs to climb the various steps in Bhakthi to cleanse the mind so that the true vision of God is gained. This requires a long drawn effort and beyond the reach of Arjuna at this point of time. However, Arjuna is sure to travel this path since he is convinced of the truth as explained by Lord Krishna. To help him further Lord Krishna decides to show the model of universe similar to screening the preview of the movie.

A model of the universe is God.

Example: To explain the true form of earth, a model globe is shown to the students. Since the earth is experienced as a flat surface, the model helps to convey the true form.

Similarly, to facilitate Arjuna to comprehend the true form of God, which includes all forms in the universe, Lord Krishna shows him a model of God using his power to do miracles.

Since Lord Krishna is the Descending Avatar of God, he has the capability to show an all-inclusive form exclusively for Arjuna. The purpose of this demonstration is to help Arjuna to progress move with confidence in his spiritual pursuit of reaching God.

Teaching 114: The purpose of miracles is to demonstrate the glory of God

Response of Arjuna on seeing the miracle
On seeing the miracle, Arjuna experiences three emotions successively.

1. Wonder
This is the normal reaction of anyone on seeing a miracle. Miracles, by definition are something that cannot be explained. In addition, miracles do not happen often in one’s life. Therefore, Arjuna was wonderstruck to see the all-inclusive form of God.

2. Fear
Since God is responsible for dissolution of the creation, as a part of all-inclusive form, Arjuna sees that God is destroying the world. This is very scary for him since he sees himself to be a very insignificant compared to the all-powerful God.

3. Devotion
When one is scared, the ego is lost. The feeling, “I can do” is lost in Arjuna when he sees the smallness of his so-called position of ‘hero of the war’ in comparison with God. When the ego is lost, the willingness to accept God as the true master overwhelms. This is devotion.

Lessons learnt from seeing the model of the universal form

Arjuna has seen in the model that all his enemies whom he is supposed to kill in the war are already dead. Since the past, present and the future are shown as a part of the demonstration, Arjuna realizes even if he decides to quit the war, his enemies will be killed as designed by God. Therefore, he should do his duty willingly for the sake of serving God.

Example: In a movie shooting, the actor has to act strictly as per the directions given by the director. He does not have the power to change the storyline.

Similarly, the life is directed by God and the individuals do not have power to change the storyline. One has to play his role as dictated by God.

We have freewill. We need to surrender it to God. We have to accept the fact that we are mere tools in the hands of God. God has given a choice to us and we are bound by it. When we do not have choice, we do not have any problem. Only when there are multiple options our suffering starts. Animals do not have freewill and they do not have any choices in life. Therefore, they do not have any mental suffering as human beings.

We need to use our freewill and surrender our ego to the will of god. Then we will be liberated from the bondage.

Teaching 115: We should surrender our freewill to God and live according to His will

The whole universe is God just as a whole body is the individual. A cell in the body cannot comprehend the functioning of the various parts of the body like, heart, kidney, brain etc.

The duty of the cell has to do perform its role in the giant network as a clog in the wheel. The individual goal of a cell has to submit to the will of the whole.

Until we gain maturity, we can assume an individual goal and keep chasing it. Only if we do this, our ego will grow. When our ego is fully grown, we need to surrender it to will of God. We cannot use our free will and grow independent of the world.

Teaching 116: We are inseparable part of the universe

We are not independent of the existence, just as a cell is not independent of the body. With our limited vision, we assume that we are independent. This is fine until we gain the required self-confidence to surrender our ego to God.

Example: We need physical strength to die. Few people may not die and spend extended period on the deathbed for want of enough strength.

Similarly, unless we gain enough mental strength, we cannot surrender our ego to God. However, if we do not surrender, we will suffer more because of the burden of the inability of our own ego to end our sufferings.

The fact is that we relate to God just as a cell relate to our body. Only when we become wise enough we will see this truth. As long as we are ignorant of this fact, we will continue to strive hard to end all our sufferings using our ego. The fear of death and the insignificance of human body will continue to haunt us. If see the truth, then we realize that we are one with the God and therefore, immortal.

Death of the individual cell is not the death of the human body. Death of an individual is not the death of God.

The source of life for the cell and for the body is same. The cell has an option to see itself as the body and live a joyful life as long as it is alive or it can suffer thinking that it is independent of the body.

The whole world is God. The male and female principle and the continuous interaction between them represent the everlasting dance of God.

This vision of the universe is gained by Arjuna by seeing the model displayed by God.

Chapter 11: The Universal form of God                   
Verses: 05 – 55

11.5 Lord Krishna said: My dear Arjuna, behold now My magnificence, hundreds of thousands of varied divine forms, multicolored like the sea.

11.6 Oh Arjuna, see here the different manifestations of Adityas, Rudras, and all the deities. Behold the many things, which no one has ever seen or heard before.

11.7 Whatever you wish to see can be seen all at once in this body. This universal form can show you all that you now desire, as well as whatever you may desire in the future. Everything is here completely.

11.8 But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give to you divine eyes by which you can behold My mystic opulence.

11.9 Sanjaya said: Oh King, speaking thus, the Supreme, the Lord of all mystic power, the Personality of Godhead, displayed His universal form to Arjuna.

11.10-11 Arjuna saw in that universal form unlimited mouths and unlimited eyes. It was all wondrous. The form was decorated with divine, dazzling ornaments and arrayed in many garbs. He was garlanded gloriously, and there were many scents smeared over His body. All was magnificent, all-expanding, unlimited. This was seen by Arjuna.

11.12 If hundreds of thousands of suns rose up at once into the sky, they might resemble the effulgence of the Supreme Person in that universal form.

11.13 At that time Arjuna could see in the universal form of the Lord the unlimited expansions of the universe situated in one place although divided into many, many thousands.

11.14 Then, bewildered and astonished, his hair standing on end, Arjuna began to pray with folded hands, offering obeisance to the Supreme Lord.

11.15 Arjuna said: My dear Lord Krishna, I see assembled in Your body all the deities and various other living entities. I see Brahma sitting on the lotus flower as well as Lord Siva and many sages and divine serpents.

11.16 Oh Lord of the universe, I see in Your universal body many, many forms--bellies, mouths, eyes--expanded without limit. There is no end, there is no beginning, and there is no middle to all this.

11.17 Your form, adorned with various crowns, clubs and discs, is difficult to see because of its glaring effulgence, which is fiery and immeasurable like the sun.

11.18 You are the supreme primal objective; You are the best in all the universes; You are inexhaustible, and You are the oldest; You are the maintainer of religion, the eternal Personality of Godhead.

11.19 You are the origin without beginning, middle or end. You have numberless arms, and the sun and moon are among Your great unlimited eyes. By Your own radiance You are heating this entire universe.

11.20 Although You are one, You are spread throughout the sky and the planets and all space between. Oh great one, as I behold this terrible form, I see that all the planetary systems are perplexed.

11.21 All the deities are surrendering and entering into You. They are very much afraid, and with folded hands they are singing the Vedic hymns.

11.22 The different manifestations of Lord Siva, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Sadhyas, the Visvedevas, the two Asvis, the Maruts, the forefathers and the Gandharvas, the Yaksas, Asuras, and all perfected deities are beholding You in wonder.

11.23 Oh mighty-armed one, all the planets with their deities are disturbed at seeing Your many faces, eyes, arms, bellies and legs and Your terrible teeth, and as they are disturbed, so am I.

11.24 Oh all-pervading Visnu, I can no longer maintain my equilibrium. Seeing Your radiant colors fill the skies and beholding Your eyes and mouths, I am afraid.

11.25 Oh Lord of lords, Oh refuge of the worlds, please be gracious to me. I cannot keep my balance seeing thus Your blazing deathlike faces and awful teeth. In all directions I am bewildered.

11.26-27 All the sons of Dhrtarastra along with their allied kings, and Bhisma, Dhrona and Karna, and all our soldiers are rushing into Your mouths, their heads smashed by Your fearful teeth. I see that some are being crushed between Your teeth as well.

11.28 As the rivers flow into the sea, so all these great warriors enter Your blazing mouths and perish.

11.29 I see all people rushing with full speed into Your mouths as moths dash into a blazing fire.

11.30 Oh Visnu, I see You devouring all people in Your flaming mouths and covering the universe with Your immeasurable rays. Scorching the worlds, You are manifest.

11.31 Oh Lord of lords, so fierce of form, please tell me who You are. I offer my obeisance unto You; please be gracious to me. I do not know what Your mission is, and I desire to hear of it.

11.32 The Blessed Lord said: Time I am, destroyer of the worlds, and I have come to engage all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.

11.33 Therefore get up and prepare to fight. After conquering your enemies you will enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, Oh Savyasaci, can be but an instrument in the fight.

11.34 The Blessed Lord said: All the great warriors--Dhrona, Bhisma, Jayadratha, Karna--are already destroyed. Simply fight, and you will vanquish your enemies.

11.35 Sanjaya said to Dhrtarastra: Oh King, after hearing these words from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Arjuna trembled, fearfully offered obeisance with folded hands and began, falteringly, to speak as follows:

11.36 Oh Krishna, the world becomes joyful upon hearing Your name, and thus everyone becomes attached to You. Although the perfected beings offer You their respectful homage, the demons are afraid, and they flee here and there. All this is rightly done.

11.37 Oh great one, who stands above even Brahma, You are the original master. Why should they not offer their homage up to You, Oh limitless one? Oh refuge of the universe, You are the invincible source, the cause of all causes, transcendental to this material manifestation.

11.38 You are the original Personality, the Godhead. You are the only sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You know everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are above the material modes Oh limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!

11.39 You are air, fire, water, and You are the moon! You are the supreme controller and the grandfather. Thus I offer my respectful obeisance unto You a thousand times, and again and yet again!

11.40 Obeisance from the front, from behind and from all sides! Oh unbounded power, You are the master of limitless might! You are all-pervading, and thus You are everything!

11.41-42 I have in the past addressed You as "Oh Krishna," "Oh Yadava," "Oh my friend," without knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonored You many times while relaxing or while lying on the same bed or eating together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. Please excuse me for all my offenses.

11.43 You are the father of this complete cosmic manifestation, the chief worthy of worship, the spiritual master. No one is equal to You, nor can anyone be one with You. Within the three worlds, You are immeasurable.

11.44 You are the Supreme Lord, to be worshiped by every living being. Thus I fall down to offer You my respects and ask Your mercy. Please tolerate the wrongs that I may have done to You and bear with me as a father with his son, or a friend with his friend, or a lover with his beloved.

11.45 After seeing this universal form, which I have never seen before, I am gladdened, but at the same time my mind is disturbed with fear. Therefore please bestow Your grace upon me and reveal again Your form as the Personality of Godhead, Oh Lord of lords, Oh abode of the universe.

11.46 Oh universal Lord, I wish to see You in Your four-armed form, with helmeted head and with club, wheel, conch and lotus flower in Your hands. I long to see You in that form.

11.47 The Blessed Lord said: My dear Arjuna, happily do I show you this universal form within the material world by My internal potency. No one before you has ever seen this unlimited and glaringly effulgent form.

11.48 Oh Arjuna, no one before you has ever seen this universal form of Mine, for neither by studying the Vedas, nor by performing sacrifices, nor by charities or similar activities can this form be seen. Only you have seen this.

11.49 Your mind has been perturbed upon seeing this horrible feature of Mine. Now let it be finished. My devotee, be free from all disturbance. With a peaceful mind you can now see the form you desire.

11.50 Sanjaya said to Dhrtarastra: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, while speaking thus to Arjuna, displayed His real four-armed form, and at last He showed him His two-armed form, thus encouraging the fearful Arjuna.

11.51 When Arjuna thus saw Krishna in His original form, he said: Seeing this humanlike form, so very beautiful, my mind is now pacified and I am restored to my original nature.

11.52 The Blessed Lord said: My dear Arjuna, the form which you are now seeing is very difficult to behold. Even the deities are ever seeking the opportunity to see this form which is so dear.

11.53 The form which you are seeing with your transcendental eyes cannot be understood simply by studying the Vedas, nor by undergoing serious penances, nor by charity, nor by worship. It is not by these means that one can see Me as I am.

11.54 My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding.

11.55 My dear Arjuna, one who is engaged in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of previous activities and from mental speculation, who is friendly to every living entity, certainly comes to Me.

Unit 17: Liberation through Bhakthi Yoga   
Number of Sessions: 10
(226 – 235)
Number of Lessons: 7
Verses: 12.01 – 12.20

On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Comprehend the five stages in Bhakthi Yoga
(b) Understand the oneness of all yogas

Unit Test:                 
Session: 235
1. What are the five stages in Bhakthi Yoga?
2. How can it be stated that we can reach God through entertainment?
3. What are the 10 qualities of a Pious Person?

Lesson 1: Five Stages in Bhakthi Yoga            
Session: 226

Lord Krishna has completed the teaching of Bhakthi Yoga, which was started in the 7th Chapter. Arjuna wants to get a summary of the teaching, which is given, in this 12th chapter.

The purpose of the teaching is to liberate Arjuna from the miseries of life. Although Arjuna asked for Lord Krishna’s help in solving the current problem in hand, Lord Krishna is giving a solution that will solve all the problems in life. There is only one destination in life for all human beings, which is Joyful Living.

Lord Krishna prescribes Bhakthi Yoga as the only path, which will lead the human beings to the destination of Joyful Living. There is no restriction or minimum qualification to enter into Bhakthi Yoga. However, within the path of Bhakthi Yoga, depending on the level of intelligence, people join at the difference stages. There are five stages in Bhakthi Yoga.

Stage 1: Worshiping the personal God through Enjoyment
Stage 2: Worshiping the personal God through Action
Stage 3: Worshiping the personal God through Upasana
Stage 4: Worshiping God through Devotion
Stage 5: Worshiping God through Knowledge

One has to cross all these five stages to merge with God. It is a long path and it takes countless lifetimes to complete all the stages and reach the destination of Joyful Living, which is same as merging with God.

There is no option for anyone to skip any stage. It takes more than one lifetime to move from one stage to the next.

When Arjuna listened to this teaching, the first question that comes to his mind is to know, where he should begin. Although it is not possible to reach the destination in a single lifetime, it may be possible that Arjuna had completed most of the work in the previous lifetimes and he is now ready to reach the destination. Therefore, he asks the question to Lord Krishna, which stage is the right stage for him.

Example: To reach a destination, one has to travel to Cities A to E in sequence. If a traveler who has lost his way wants to know from the guide, which is the best city to reach, the answer depends on where he is. Depending on the current position, the guide will guide him to the right city so that he can progress up to City E and then reach the destination.

Similarly, the question from Arjuna on which is the better stage is answered appropriately by Lord Krishna, as he could judge the current stage in which Arjuna is.

Each one of us has to find the right stage. Since it is possible that we could have completed most of our journey in the previous births, we should hope to reach the destination of Joyful Living here and now. Therefore, we should explore the right stage starting from the final stage.

A journey to a particular stage may be difficult or easy depending on our qualifications. If we are a graduate, we should do post graduation course and not attempt to go back to high school. If we find a particular course slightly difficult for us then we should choose the same so that we can progress further. We should not choose something that is very easy. It is like joining the primary school because the subjects taught are easy.

Lord Krishna describes each stage of the path, starting from the final stage. We need to understand the qualifications required and the difficulties involved in completing each stage. If we think, it is right for us we should start from there.

However, Arjuna is not in the final stage. Therefore, Lord Krishna recommends Stage 4 for him. He found stage 4 as difficult and therefore he is not yet ready to attempt the final stage.

Lord Krishna does not differentiate between the stages as higher or lower. If we are going in circles within the roads of the city and not join the highway, then we will not reach the destination. However, the moment we quit the minor roads and join the highway, it does not matter at which stage we joined the highway. It will take us to the destination. Therefore, Lord Krishna says that it is enough if we join the path. The stage that we are in does not matter. Since we are already on the path to merge with God, Lord Krishna treats everyone on the path equally irrespective of the stage they are in.

Depending on the level of intelligence and mental maturity, an individual can select an appropriate stage after analyzing the description of all the five stages and the requirements for joining each stage as given by Lord Krishna.

Chapter 12: Liberation through Bhakthi Yoga                      
Verses: 01 – 02

12.1 Arjuna inquired: Who are considered perfect, those who meditate upon your universal form or those who worship the impersonal Brahman?

12.2 Lord Krishna answered, he whose mind is fixed upon Me with great faith and worships my universal form is considered by Me to be most perfect.