ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते तांस्तथैव भजाम्यहम् |
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्या: पार्थ सर्वश: || 11||
ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāns tathaiva bhajāmyaham
mama vartmānuvartante manuṣhyāḥ pārtha sarvaśhaḥ
ye—who; yathā—in whatever way; mām—unto me; prapadyante—surrender; tān—them; tathā—so; eva—certainly; bhajāmi—reciprocate; aham—I; mama—my; vartma—path; anuvartante—follow; manuṣhyāḥ—men; pārtha—Arjun, the son of Pritha; sarvaśhaḥ—in all respects
O Arjuna! In whatsoever form one seeks Me, I reach him in that form, for all mankind are but following the paths I laid down for them.
The Lord declares here that the reward for men who worship Him would be strictly in relation to the aim and object of their worship. The purpose of devotion, its method and manner, and its intensity would determine the nature of the reward. God is like the wish-yielding plant of Paradise. What man wishes to obtain, that the Lord gives. The man who is suffering from bodily pain prays to be relieved of that pain, and the pain is relieved. The poor man wishes for wealth and prosperity, and God gives him these worldly benefits. The devotee yearns for the devotion and he gets that. The Jnani seeks for liberation and he attains Moksha. This is to say that different types of persons share the grace of God in different ways each according to his own samskaras. If men seek perishable worldly things, they get only those things and not Moksha. When we approach God, we should clearly know what we should seek. It would be absurd for a man to approach an Emperor and ask for a few vegetables. How foolish then would it be to approach God for worldly pleasures and enjoyments, instead of true knowledge and devotion! The wind of God’s grace is blowing everywhere and at all times. Let us keep the sails unfurled to catch the friendly breeze and make rapid progress in life’s voyage to the heaven of peace, light and blessedness. The lazy and ignorant sailors remain where they are, for they do not know that the wind of God’s grace is all-pervading and ever ready to help and guide all mankind.
It should be understood that mere wishful thinking of spiritual aims does not take a man far in that path. The responsibility is mainly on man. How he progresses and to what end and with what purpose he strives will determine his progress.
Follow my path: In every way, men are treading the path that leads to God. Even a rank materialist who prays for the gratification of material demands is also treading the path to God. For, after some time, he would realise the fleeting nature and futility of earthly pleasures, and then his devotion to God would take an upward turn. He would then seek knowledge, and thus attains the goal. So all men are moving towards the Lord though they follow different paths. What is needed is faith in the Lord. Karma, Bhakti, Dhyana and Jnana are all different paths leading to the Lord.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.” Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.[Source]
“Whosoever wants to reach me through whatsoever ways, I reach him through that. But know, Arjuna, none can ever swerve from my path.” None ever did. How can we? None swerves from His path.[Source]
Her (*) mother’s heart could only be satisfied by conceiving God as her baby. Many and many a time her learned husband had talked to her of Him who is preached in the Vedas, the formless, the infinite, the impersonal. She listened with all attention, and the conclusion was always the same — what is written in the Vedas must be true; but, oh! it was so immense, so far off, and she, only a weak, ignorant woman; and then, it was also written: “In whatsoever form one seeks Me, I reach him in that form, for all mankind are but following the paths I laid down for them” — and that was enough. She wanted to know no more. And there she was — all of the devotion, of faith, of love her heart was capable of, was there in Krishna, the Baby Cowherd, and all that heart entwined round the visible Cowherd, this little bronze image.[Source]
Krishna talks of himself as God, as Christ does. He sees the Deity in himself. And he says, “None can go a day out of my path. All have to come to me. Whosoever wants to worship in whatsoever form, I give him faith in that form, and through that I meet him. … ” His heart is all for the masses.[Source]
Pratyahara and dharana: Krishna says, “All who seek me by whatever means will reach me”, “All must reach me.” Pratyahara is a gathering toward, an attempt to get hold of the mind and focus it on the desired object. The first step is to let the mind drift; watch it; see what it thinks; be only the witness. Mind is not soul or spirit. It is only matter in a finer form, and we own it and can learn to manipulate it through the nerve energies.[Source]
Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 4 🔻 (42 Verses)
* Gopala’s mother, from “The Story of the Boy Gopala” (See Complete Works, 5.168).