Bhagavad Gita: 12. Path Of Devotion


Should one worship a personal or an impersonal God?

Arjuna said: Which of these has the best knowledge of yoga --- those ever-steadfast devotees who thus worship You (as Krishna, Your personal aspect), or those who worship Your impersonal aspect, the Eternal Being? (12.01) The Supreme Lord said: I consider the best yogis to be those ever steadfast devotees who worship with supreme faith by fixing their mind on Me as their personal God. (See also 6.47) (12.02)They also attain Me who worship the unchangeable, the inexplicable, the invisible, the omnipresent, the inconceivable, the unchanging, and the immovable Eternal Being; restraining all the senses, even minded under all circumstances, and engaged in the welfare of all creatures.(12.03-04)

Reasons for worshipping a personal form of God
Self-realization is more difficult for those who fix their mind on the impersonal, un manifest, Eternal Being because comprehension of the un manifest by embodied beings is attained with difficulty. (12.05)But for those who worship Me with unswerving devotion as their personal God, offer all actions to Me, intent on Me as the Supreme, and meditate on Me; I swiftly become their savior --- from the world that is the ocean of death and transmigration --- whose thoughts are set on My personal form, O Arjuna. (12.06-07)

The four paths to God
Therefore, focus your mind on Me, and let your intellect dwell upon Me alone (through meditation and contemplation). Thereafter, you shall certainly attain Me. (12.08) If you are unable to focus your mind steadily on Me, then long to attain Me, O Arjuna, by practice of (any other) spiritual discipline that suits you. (12.09)If you are unable even to do any spiritual discipline, then be intent on performing your duty for Me. You shall attain perfection just by working for Me (as an instrument ,just to serve and please Me, without any selfish motive).(See also 9.27, 18.46) (12.10) If you are unable to work for Me, then just surrender unto My will and renounce(the attachment to, and the anxiety for) the fruits of all work with subdued mind (by learning to accept all results, as God's grace with calmness. (12.11)

Karma Yoga is the best way
The knowledge of scriptures is better than mere ritualistic practice; meditation is better than scriptural knowledge; Tyāga, or renunciation of attachment to the fruits of work is better than meditation; peace immediately follows Tyāga. (See more on renunciation in 18.02, 18.09) (12.12)

The attributes of a devotee
One who does not hate any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, free from the notion of "I" and "my",even-minded in pain and pleasure, forgiving; and the yogi who is ever content, who has subdued the mind, whose resolve is firm, whose mind and intellect are engaged in dwelling upon Me, who is devoted to Me--- is dear to Me. (12.13-14) The one by whom others are not agitated and who is not agitated by others, who is free from joy, envy, fear, and anxiety, is also dear to Me.(12.15) One who is desireless, pure, wise, impartial, and free from anxiety; who has renounced the doership in all undertakings---such a devotee is dear to Me. (12.16)One who neither rejoices nor grieves, neither likesnor dislikes, who has renounced both the good and the evil, and is full of devotion---is dear to Me. (12.17)The one who remains the same towards friend or foe, in honor or disgrace, in heat or cold, in pleasure or pain ;who is free from attachment; who is indifferent to censure or praise, quiet, content with whatever one has, unattached to a place (a country, or a house), calm, and full of devotion ---that person is dear to Me. (12.18-19)

One should sincerely try to develop divine qualities
But those faithful devotees are very dear to Me who set Me as their supreme goal and follow (or just sincerelytry to develop) the above mentioned nectar of moral values. (12.20)