अनन्याश्चिन्तयन्तो मां ये जना: पर्युपासते |
तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम् || 22||
ananyāśh chintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate
teṣhāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣhemaṁ vahāmyaham
ananyāḥ—always; chintayantaḥ—think of; mām—Me; ye—those who; janāḥ—persons; paryupāsate—worship exclusively; teṣhām—of them; nitya abhiyuktānām—who are always absorbed; yoga—supply spiritual assets; kṣhemam—protect spiritual assets; vahāmi—carry; aham—I
Those persons who worship Me, meditating on their identity with Me and ever devoted to Me— to them I carry what they lack and for them I preserve what they already have.
This is one of the most important verses in the Gita. As it occurs in the middle of the Gita, we may describe it as the most precious gem in the Gita-diamond-garland. This is the Lord’s promise of protection for the devotee. He takes upon Himself the responsibility of the devotee, who is ever united with Him. Yoga means securing things which are not already possessed by the devotee. Kshema means preservation of things already possessed. Nothing can cause fear to the true devotee about his welfare, as the Lord Himself has taken over the entire responsibility. Let him be true to Him, and the never-failing hand of God is always there to protect him. The Lord knows full well that His devotees have given their all to Him, and have nothing of their own. Such things as the devotee needs, are supplied by the Lord Himself, under all circumstances. What should be the attitude of the true devotee? He should have no other thought except that of the Lord.
Ananyah: ‘Not other’ is ananyah. That is, the devotee has nothing other than the Lord, and his mind does not move away from the Lord towards any other thing. This type of devotee is far different from others who desire enjoyments in Heaven, or in other worlds. The latter also worships the Lord, but his mind is attached to enjoyments. This is not ‘ananyabhakti‘. The devotee mentioned in this verse has no relish for anything except the Lord. All other things up to Brahmaloka are trash for him. He discards them all as loathsome stuff. Such a devotee is the Lord’s own. To have such devotion distinguishes the true Bhakta whose responsibilities are taken over by the Lord Himself.
What infinite compassion! What assurance of protection! Arjuna gave away the reins into the hands of the Lord. So should the devotee surrender himself to the Lord, and the result of such surrender is the protection of the Lord under all circumstances. What is needed by the devotee is either some worldly goods for the maintenance of the body or Atma-jnana – both provided by Him.
The devotee has nothing else to do except to devote himself to the Lord’s worship and all else is looked after by the Lord.
The devotee may be in a desert or a mountain cave or a forest, the Lord follows him like a calf following the mother cow. The biographies of saints and sadhus show how the Lord at every step was with them, in them, and around them. Their life stories should give courage to the solitary seeker, who is treading the holy path of Self-realisation in the middle of the tremendous dangers and distractions of worldly life.
God’s grace is like the wind, and sun-light. Without distinction of caste or creed, age His grace pervades all. He is the friend of all. Let one be sincere and truthful. Let one’s devotion be honest and straight-forward. Let one have faith, and the Lord’s promise is there to protect him.
The Lord should be worshipped continuously and always.
Atmajnana is the greatest boon that the Lord could confer on His devotee. Whatever little sadhana one does sincerely is protected and strengthened by the Lord.
Steadfast and ceaseless memory of the Lord is emphasised here.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
Listen to an old story. A lazy tramp sauntering along the road saw an old man sitting at the door of his house and stopped to inquire of him the whereabouts of a certain place. “How far is such and such a village?” he asked. The old man remained silent. The man repeated his query several times. Still there was no answer. Disgusted at this, the traveller turned to go away. The old man then stood up and said, “The village of__ is only a mile from here.” “What!” said the tramp, “Why did you not speak when I asked you before?” “Because then”, said the old man, “you seemed so halting and careless about proceeding, but now you are starting off in good earnest, and you have a right to an answer.” Will you remember this story, my son? (Referring to Alasinga Perumal) Go to work, the rest will come: “Whosoever not trusting in anything else but Me, rests on Me, I supply him with everything he needs.” This is no dream.[Source]
But today there is a dark shadow in her mind. Gopala is frightened to go alone through the wood. Never before had she (†) felt her widowhood, her loneliness, her poverty so bitter. For a moment it was all dark, but she recalled to her mind what she had heard of the eternal promise: “Those that depend on Me giving up all other thoughts, to them I Myself carry whatever is necessary.” And she was one of the souls who could believe.[Source]
I am now going to be reconciled to my life here. All my life I have been taking every circumstance as coming from Him and calmly adapting myself to it. At first in America I was almost out of my water. I was afraid I would have to give up the accustomed way of being guided by the Lord and cater for myself — and what a horrid piece of mischief and ingratitude was that. I now clearly see that He who was guiding me on the snow tops of the Himalayas and the burning plains of India is here to help me and guide me. Glory unto Him in the highest. So I have calmly fallen into my old ways. Somebody or other gives me a shelter and food, somebody or other comes to ask me to speak about Him, and I know He sends them and mine is to obey. And then He is supplying my necessities, and His will be done! “He who rests [in] Me and gives up all other self-assertion and struggles I carry to him whatever he needs.”[Source]
Question: How to meditate on the Lord?
Answer: The devotee should give up all other thoughts and think of the Lord. He should not have any attachment to any worldly things.
Question: What is the effect?
Answer: He receives God’s grace. God Himself takes over his responsibilities both secular and spiritual.
Question: What then should man do to obtain God’s grace?
Answer: He should worship the Lord with single-minded devotion.
† Gopal’s Mother, in the story narrated by Swamiji, “The Story of the Boy Gopala”.