Gita Daily Readings

30th August
Chapter XI: 53-54
Neither by the vedas nor by austerity, nor by gift, nor by sacrifice can I be seen in this form as thou hast seen me.

But, by single-minded devotion can I, of this form, be known and seen in reality and also entered into, 0h Arjuna.

Commentary

The Bhagavad Gita is a scripture revealed on the battlefield to deal with an urgent situation (eventually with all our urgent situations in life). The repetitions, the loose ends and the seeming contradictions are themselves proof positive of the authenticity and historic context of the book. If it was a "well-thought-out and reasoned" text these would have been avoided.

The idea in verse 53 had already been expressed in verse 48. What is worse still, in chapter eighteen Krishna extols the virtues of "austerity, gift and sacrifice" and insists that they should not be given up. They are terribly important, yet here we are told that God cannot be seen with the help of these.

The wise student should endeavor to read such ideas together and ponder the real inner meaning. Austerity, charity and self-sacrifice are indeed most essential, not for self-realization but for self-purification. With their help we de-hypnotize ourselves and overcome the hallucination of worldly life and sense-pleasure. Hence, Krishna wisely warns us in the eighteenth chapter that even the three purifiers should be performed without attachment. Dirt on the body is removed by soap; but the soap itself should then be washed away.

Only by single-minded devotion can God be realized. Ananya bhakti means love or devotion in which there is no other involved. This devotion is not exclusive of anything, but all-inclusive. Here "all" is a synonym for God. One who sees God and God alone everywhere "enters" into the reality, and swims saturated in his omnipresence.

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