The Bhagavad-gita enthrones the path of love

Those familiar with the Gita sometimes raise the question: “When the Gita mentions various spiritual paths like karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and ashtanga-yoga, what is the need to stress only the path of bhakti-yoga?”

Because that is the stress of the Gita itself, as is evident in its unambiguous conclusion (18.66) that we abandon all other paths and adopt the path of love, bhakti-yoga. Of course, the Gita analyzes other spiritual paths too. But all that analysis is meant to prepare the ground for the enthronement of bhakti-yoga as the most recommended path. Let’s understand the rationale for this enthronement.

A beautiful painting can be appreciated only through refined aesthetic emotions – not through emotion-less scrutiny. Similarly, the Bhagavad-gita reveals a beautiful conception of God as Krishna, a conception that can be appreciated only through refined devotional emotions – not through emotion-less physical gymnastics or intellectual polemics (11.53-54). To develop these refined emotions, the Gita recognizes that we need to first unglue our mind from worldly objects whose temporary beauty distracts us perpetually from the eternal beauty of Krishna. For this intermediate purpose of curbing distracting material emotions, it discusses multiple paths like the path of detached dutifulness (karma-yoga), the path of analysis (jnana-yoga) and the path of austerity (ashtanga-yoga).

However, the Gita encourages us to associate with those who are relishing the beauty of God (10.09) and by their inspiration supplant our material emotions with refined devotional emotions. This refining of emotions helps us to develop our devotional-aesthetic sensibility and thereby relish the beauty of Krishna. Once we fall in love with him, we can easily and swiftly return back to his eternal abode, which is the Gita’s ultimate destination and life’s supreme perfection.

That’s why authentic Gita teachers stress bhakti-yoga.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18 Text 66

“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”

The Gita’s message is not just specific and historical, but also generic and universal
Bhakti is not just about believing in God – it is about belonging to God

Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

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