तेषां ज्ञानी नित्ययुक्त एकभक्तिर्विशिष्यते |
प्रियो हि ज्ञानिनोऽत्यर्थमहं स च मम प्रिय: || 17||
teṣhāṁ jñānī nitya-yukta eka-bhaktir viśhiṣhyate
priyo hi jñānino ’tyartham ahaṁ sa cha mama priyaḥ
teṣhām—amongst these; jñānī—those who are situated in knowledge; nitya-yuktaḥ—ever steadfast; eka—exclusively; bhaktiḥ—devotion; viśhiṣhyate—highest; priyaḥ—very dear; hi—certainly; jñāninaḥ—to the person in knowledge; atyartham—highly; aham—I; saḥ—he; cha—and; mama—to me; priyaḥ—very dear
Of these, the wise man, ever steadfast and devoted to the One alone, is the best. For supremely dear am I to the man of wisdom, and he is dear to Me.
The jnani is declared to be the highest of the Lord’s devotees because he possesses two qualities not found in the other types. Firstly, he is constantly absorbed in the Self, and secondly, he is devoted to the Lord only and nothing else in the world.
1. Nitya yuktah – The jnani who has realised the Self is always in contact with the Lord. The others think of the Lord now and then. They are part-time devotees; they think of the Lord for some time and then go back to their daily activities of life. But the Jnani has no worldy activities to divert his mind from the Self. So he is ever united with the Lord ‘Nityayuktah’. Though in the early stages, the devotee’s mind vacillates between the Lord and worldly life, yet it is quite possible gradually to develop constant devotion and since the Jnani has achieved this, he is declared to be the best of the devotees.
2. ekabhaktih – The Jnani is devoted only to the Lord. He has no attachment to anything else in the world. The others have desires and fears, because they are attached to the world, and think of the Lord for help and protection. The Jnani on the other hand has already found out the illusory nature of the world, and so he has no attraction for anything like wealth or family, name or glory which usually tempt the ignorant. He knows the One Supreme Reality, and his mind is absorbed in it. The Lord is dear to him, and he is dear to the Lord. The closeness of the relationship between the Lord and the devotee is indicated here. Nothing can stand in between the two. In fact, the world stands between man and God. The Jnani has removed this mighty obstacle from his way and has come so close to the Lord that he and his Master become one. When the Lord is pleased with his devotee, what more does he want? The reward of God’s love is moksha.
In the ultimate analysis, there can be no difference between Jnana and Bhakti. That is what is implied in the single-minded devotion of the Jnani. It is only in the early stages of Sadhana that Jnana and devotion appear to be different, but as a man rises to higher and higher spiritual planes, he discovers the truth, that the Supreme Lord of the devotee and the Brahman of the Jnani are only two different names for the same One.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
Four sorts of people worship Me. Some want the delights of the physical world. Some want money, some want religion. Some worship Me because they love Me. Real love is love for love’s sake. I do not ask health or money or life or salvation. Send me to a thousand hells, but let me love Thee for love’s sake. Mira Bai, the great queen, taught the doctrine of love for love’s sake.[Source]
Miserable are the diseased people; they are great worshippers of the Lord, for they hope that if they pray to Him He will heal them. Not that that is altogether bad — if such prayers are honest and if they remember that that is not religion. Shri Krishna says in the Gita, “Four classes of people worship Me: the distressed, the seeker of material things, the inquirer, and the knower of truth.” People who are in distress approach God for relief. If they are ill, they worship Him to be healed; if they lose their wealth, they pray to Him to get it back. There are other people who ask Him for all kinds of things, because they are full of desires — name, fame, wealth, position and so on. They will say, “O Virgin Mary, I will make an offering to you if I get what I want. If you are successful in granting my prayer, I will worship God and give you a part of everything.” Men not so material as that, but still with no faith in God, feel inclined to know about Him. They study philosophies, read scriptures, listen to lectures, and so on. They are the inquirers. The last class are those who worship God and know Him. All these four classes of people are good, not bad. All of them worship Him.[Source]
Various sorts of worship we see in this world. The sick man is very worshipful to God. … There is the man who loses his fortune; he also prays very much, to get money. The highest worship is that of the man who loves God for God’s sake.[Source]
Question: Who is the best of the devotees?
Answer: He is always absorbed in the Lord, and loves only the Lord and nothing else.
Question: Who does the Jnani love most?
Answer: The Lord.
Question: What is the duty of man?
Answer: He should try to acquire Lord’s love by his single-minded devotion.