4 types of devotee

tribhirgunamayairbhāvaih ebhih sarvam idam jagat |

mohitam nābhijānāti mām ebhyah param avyayam ||7.13||

This entire world deluded by these things, which are the modifications of the three qualities, does not know me who is changeless and distinct from these (modifications of the gunas).


Why is it said that the world is mohita - deluded by the modifications of three guna? Jagat - the world in this context doesn't mean various objects, but human being. Mohita here means lacking in discrimination between what is eternal and what is non-eternal. This is the basis of a lack of understanding about what I am seeking - purusārtha. We are always seeking fulfilment which can't be fulfilled, because we are searching the source of fulfilment in the wrong location. We are attracted by the world thinking they can give us fulfilment. This delusion world is called jagad-mohini.


All along what we are seeking is wholeness - pūrnatavam, which is our true nature alone (also nature of Īśvara), but we don't know the locust of this fullness is in ourselves, and we don't know this fulfilment is distinct from the entire world which is modification of guna. We think any given object in the world can give everlasting security, happiness, etc, but it is not something can be hold on or depended on. Therefore we kept running on the treadmill of samsara, never stop to reach the destination which is impossible to reach because we have been employing the wrong means.


Then what is the correct means?


daivī hyesā gunamayī mama māyā duratyayā |

māmeva ye prapadyante māyām etām taranti te ||7.14|| Indeed this māyā, which belongs to me (the Lord), which is the modification of the three gunas, is difficult to cross. Those who seek only me, they cross this māyā.


Lord Krsna says indeed this delusion is difficult to cross over, because when one is in the spell of delusion, one can't see it as a delusion. Delusion is seen as a delusion only when one comes out from it. Therefore it is difficult to cross over. Indeed it is difficult, but it doesn't mean impossible. Those who seek only me, they cross this māyā.

They have to seek Īśvara (true nature/parā-prakrti) alone where this aparā-prakrti/māyā belongs to. "Belongs" doesn't mean own up another thing as one's belonging, but Īśvara as the adhisthāna - basis for māyā - name and form in order to exist. Just like in the rope snake example, only to know that rope which is the basis for the snake to appear, then one can come out from the delusion of seeing the snake. Only when we are able to see ourselves as distinct from these modification of guna, yet as the very basis for guna to exist, we are able to get out from this life of samsara. Only by seeking the knowledge of Īśvara which is myself, one can cross over this samsara.


If by seeking Īśvara one can cross over the life of samsara, why don't most people seek him?


na mām duskrtino mūdhāh prapadyante narādhamāh |

māyayāpahrtajñānā āsuram bhāvam āśritāh ||7.15||

Those who do wrong actions, who are deluded, who are the lowest among men, do not seek me. Robbed of their discrimination by māyā, they have resorted to the condition of those who revel in sense pursuits.


Those who do wrong actions, who are deluded, who are the lowest among men, are the characteristic of āsuram bhāvam - who resort to the condition of indulging in sense pleasure. For them life is for enjoyment, and they will do things which is appose to dharma to get the things they want. They have confusion with regard to the priorities of life. Given to this, naturally, they do not seek Īśvara. Their discrimination capacity is robbed away by māyā.


For contrary, Lord Krsna talks about people seek him and recognised him, even for those who are prayerful only in distress, there is hope for them. Because once is Īśvara accommodated in one's life, the change takes place thereafter.


caturvidhā bhajante mām janāh sukrtino'rjuna |

ārto jijñāsurarthārthī jñānī ca bharatarsabha ||7.16||

Arjuna, the foremost in the clan of Bharata! People given to good actions, who worship me are four fold - the distressed, the seeker of security and pleasure, the one who desire to know (me), and the one who knows (me).


Sukrtinah janāh - people who do good deeds, as contrast to the duskrtins who do not seek Īśvara. Because of punya - unseen result of good action either this life or past lives which bring them to seek Īśvara. Only human being are able to seek self-knowledge, and to gain human body, punya must be there. And even to be born in human body, one also need punya to be born in a cultured family and more punya for one to do enquiry. And for punya to fructify, grace of Īśvara is needed all the way.


Among these people who recognise and worship Īśvara, there are four types - caturvidhā bhajante mām. Ārtha - devotee in distress, who ask for Īśvara's help only when they are in distress, till then he/she doesn't think of him. But at least during that spell of distress he/she does think of Īśvara because he/she doesn't see anyone else who can help. Arthārthī - devotee who invokes the grace of Lord to fulfil his/her desires, because he/she recognises that there is always a factor over which he has no control. Jijńāsuh - one who desires to know, for him/her Īśvara is no more to be believed in, but he is to be understood. For him/her, Īśvara is the means and also the end for moksa. Jñānī - one who recognises Īśvara as one's self. When one is a jijńāsuh one necessarily become a jñānī, the one who owns up the truth of Īśvara as oneself.


We can see these four fold of devotee as four different varieties of people who recognise Īśvara, but we also can see them as stages of one's spiritual journey. From recognising Īśvara only in certain name and form, to understanding everything here is Īśvara alone (aparā-prakrti), then one owned up Īśvara as one's self as immediate knowledge (parā-prakrti).

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