Our scriptures mention four ways of God-realisation: Action without attachment; knowledge, or seeking oneness of individual self (aatmaa) with the Supreme Self (Brahman); meditation (dhyaan) on Him; and devotion (bhakti) of the Lord. Lord Krshn said this while concluding the ninth discourse of the Bhagavad Gita: “Fill your mind with Me, be devoted to Me, (be engaged in) offer of sacrifice (yajna) to Me, bow down to Me. Having concentrated your mind and intellect and accepting Me as the supreme goal, I promise, O Arjun, you shall surely attain to Me.”
Again, towards the end of 18th discourse, the first part of the verse has been repeated, “This truth, do I promise to you, (for) you are dear to Me.” In an earlier verse, the Lord said, “Listen (again) to My supreme word which is the profoundest of all. Since you are dear to me, I shall speak what is beneficial to you.” The supreme word is an utterance by Lord Himself, in the interest and benefit of one who is ever unwaveringly dear to Him. This is considered truth. Gambhiranand has interpreted it thus: Truth and God are identical. Therefore, whatever he speaks must be the truth, just as what emanates from sun must be sunny. There are two gifts from the sun, illumination and heat, both of which are indispensable for sustenance of the life on earth.
Similarly, the Lord declares the truth about Himself and His relationship with jeevatman. Accepting that His utterance is true and knowing that emancipation (moksh) seeking oneness with Him is the ultimate objective of human pursuit, one should have dedication to God as the supreme goal.
The first step is: “Fix the mind on Me.” It calls for control over mind. In the context of meditation, Arjun pointed out that “the mind is turbulent, strong and unyielding and control over it is as difficult as controlling the wind”. The Lord said, “Agreed, without
any doubt mind is restless and difficult to control but can be restrained through practice and renunciation (vairagya). It is not easy, but can be attained and is essential since only a perfectly tranquil mind can think of Me in positive terms.”
Many, including Kuns, Duryodhan and Raavan, though not devotees, fixed their minds on Him but in antagonistic terms and got killed. On the other hand, Shabari, a devotee of Raam, with faith had fixed her mind on Raam alone. She grew old but never lost belief and one day Shri Raam Himself came to her cottage to accept her hospitality and initiate her to the nine ways of devotion (navdhabhakti). Just as the objective of a river is to be one with the (infinite) ocean, the devotee fixes his mind on the Lord to be one with Him.
Speaking of a devotee, the Lord said, “He sees Me everywhere and in everything. He never gets separated from me nor do I become separated from him” (Bhagavad Gita, 6.30). “By devotion he knows Me, what and who I am (Nirgun and Saguna Brahman). Thus having known he enters into (becomes one with) Me (Bhagavad Gita, 18.55) Sacrifice to Him does not mean only the performance of
rituals and offer of oblations into the sacrificial fire (Agnihotr). It also includes performance of all duties including daan (giving of charity) and tapas (observing austerity as ordained in the scriptures), in the spirit of sacrifice, while considering one’s self as an agent
for performing them.
Devotion to and worship of the One Reality has been emphasised in the Bhagavad Gita. However, “Some devoid of discrimination with this or that desire, following different rites, led by their nature, devote themselves to other gods.” About them, the Lord said, “Whatever form any devotee seeks to worship, I make his faith unwavering. Endowed with that faith he worships that (deva) and from him gains (fulfilment of) his desire, though these are dispensed by Me alone.” However, the fruit of worship to them is limited.
“Only persons of virtuous deeds, whose sins have ended, are freed from pairs of opposites and from desire and aversion, worship Me with firm resolve (Bhagavad Gita, 7.28).” Further, the Lord says, “Having made yourself steadfast in Me, consider Me as the Supreme Goal.” Life without any goal is like a haphazard and random walk in a jungle.
Of the four objectives of human pursuit, the ultimate is the emancipation (moksh) from the cycle of birth and death. In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord said, “Relinquishing all forms of rites and duties, take refuge in Me alone…, who is the self of all.” Thus, attainment
of oneness of the individual self with the Supreme Self should be the supreme goal of life.