What does it practically mean to fix one's mind on Krishna?|| Acharya Prashant, on Bhagavad Gita(2020)

November 7, 2020 | Acharya Prashant

मय्यावेश्य मनो ये मां नित्ययुक्ता उपासते ।

श्रद्धया परयोपेतास्ते मे युक्ततमा मता: ।। 12.2 ।।

mayy āveśhya mano ye māṁ nitya-yuktā upāsate

śhraddhayā parayopetās te me yuktatamā matāḥ

The Blessed Lord said: Those who, fixing their mind on Me, worship Me, ever-steadfast, and endowed with supreme Sraddha, they, in My opinion, are the best versed in Yoga.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 2

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क्लेशोऽधिकतरस्तेषामव्यक्तासक्तचेतसाम् ।

अव्यक्ता हि गतिर्दु:खं देहवद्भिरवाप्यते ।। 12.5 ।।

kleśho ’dhikataras teṣhām avyaktāsakta-chetasām

avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ dehavadbhir avāpyate

Greater is their trouble whose minds are set on the Unmanifested; for the goal of the Unmanifested is very hard for the embodied to reach.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 5

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Questioner (Q): To Arjuna, an embodied Shri Krishna is available in his vicinity, physically overseeing his actions. And to him the Lord says, "Fix your mind on Me." But to someone like me, to whom a Shri Krishna is not available in close proximity, in embodied form, what is the way to fix one's mind on him? How is this different from worshipping the Unmanifest?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Alright. First of all, it has to be understood that Shri Krishna cannot be biased or partial towards one particular jiva, person named Arjuna. If Krishna is indeed the Ultimate, the Total, then there is no question of Krishna being limited in time and space, Krishna being available only in one personality, and Krishna being more favorably disposed towards one person, one friend, one disciple. Chapter 12 of Bhagavad Gita is as special as the other chapters. Each chapter is unique.

Shri Krishna says, "Both are wonderful, those who worship Me in the unmanifested form, those who worship the nameless, formless Brahma, as well as those who worship the form of Me." Krishna says, "Both are wonderful; I love both of them equally. But,” he adds, ”the way for those who want to worship the formless and unmanifested is full of troubles and pain. It is quite difficult and rather impractical for the embodied one to worship and fathom the bodiless. Therefore, their way, their sadhana (spiritual practice) is quite arduous and involves a lot of suffering.” And he says that, "On the contrary, the ones who worship the form, who invest themselves in the forms, ones who see Myself formed are the ones who achieve Me relatively quickly and with relatively less suffering and difficulty." That's what he says.

Now, a lot of misinterpretation is possible here. When Shri Krishna says that "Arjuna, those who worship the form of Mine reach me rather quickly," then the uninformed mind that wants to hurriedly jump to conclusions may conclude that Krishna is referring to that one particular form or personality of his that is visible to Arjuna in the 10th century B.C., or whichever century it is. The fact is that the Krishna-Arjuna dialogue is an event in time. It happened at a particular place; it happened on the fields of Kurukshetra. Surely it happened on a particular day or over a few particular days. So, it is an event in time. Vasudeva Krishna, the person who spoke to Kunti Putra Arjuna was a man, one particular man, right? When Krishna is speaking to Arjuna as he does, it is through that man. Please, the distinction has to be very very clear.

Krishna is Brahma itself. Krishna is Totality itself. On that particular day, at that particular place, that Totality was talking through the body and person of Vasudeva. So, the Krishna that we know of, the one wearing mor pankh (peacock feather), the one wearing Sudarshana Chakra, the one acting as Arjuna’s charioteer, is one particular instance of Krishnatva (Krishna-ness). He is not the Krishna; he is a Krishna. Krishna is Total. The Krishna that we see speaking to Arjuna is just one particular incidence of Krishnatva. There, at that place on that day, Krishnatva itself found expression through that man. Therefore, we must not say that when Krishna is saying that, "Arjuna, it will be easier for you to be liberated if you seek Me in forms," that Krishna is referring to that one particular form of his.

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Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More