Chapter VII: 16-17
Four kinds of virtuous men worship me, Oh Arjuna. They are the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of wealth and the wise, Oh lord of the Bharatas.
Of them the wise, ever steadfast and devoted to the one, excels; for I am exceedingly dear to the wise and he is dear to me.
CommentaryTo pray and to worship God motivelessly is of course good. Some people feel that it is a sign of depravity to pray for selfish ends and material advantages. Here, Krishna disagrees: they who worship him for these are surely virtuous men (not necessarily wise). The poor man who prays to God for wealth is surely nobler and more virtuous than the thief or dacoit. The sick man who prays for relief is better than the drug addict. In fact, one of the purposes of poverty and sickness is to turn man to God. Unconsciously the poor and sick recognize this if they are virtuous and that recognition or awareness comes by God's grace. A hot pan will burn your finger, whether you touch it knowingly or unknowingly. Even so, the fire of God's power will devour desire and ignorance whether you touch it deliberately or accidentally. Thus, prayer is good whatever the motive. When the prayer-contact is made, the Lord's love burns to ashes all earthly desires and frees us from all selfishness and egoism.
However, this does not minimize the glory of unselfish love of God for his own sake. The wise man, jnani, who loves God motivelessly is supreme. He knows the appearance as appearance, and therefore he knows the reality of the appearance. He is fully aware that the diverse world phenomena are purely manifestations of God's divine nature. Hence, he knows that he loves God because he cannot help doing so since God is the very soul of his soul. He knows, too, that this eternal unity or oneness is expressed in him as irrepressible love. He is the pure iron needle; God is the magnet. In his case the devotion and surrender are natural. He rests in God, in unbroken, eternal communion.
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