Ch 6  VERSE 47

योगिनामपि सर्वेषां मद्गतेनान्तरात्मना

श्रद्धावान्भजते यो मां मे युक्ततमो मतः ॥४७॥


yoginām api sarveṣāṁ


śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ

sa me yuktatamo mataḥ


yoginām—of all yogīs; api—also; sarveṣām—all types of; mat-gatena—abiding in Me; antaḥ-ātmanā—always thinking of Me within; śraddhāvān—in full faith; bhajate—renders transcendental loving service; yaḥ—one who; mām—Me (the Supreme Lord); saḥ—he; me—Mine; yuktatamaḥ—the greatest yogī; mataḥ—is considered.


And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ


śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ

sa me yuktatamo mataḥ

“And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.”

In the beginning of this little study course I had mentioned that the Bhagavad-gita is a work on the path of devotion, devotion to the Supreme, the Supreme Soul. And what we will see, like in this particular verse that we’re studying, [is] a reinforcement of this reality.

Before we start really looking at some of the detail in the verse, just to give an immediate context, I’ll read the preceding verse in the Bhagavad-gita, and then re-read this one that we’re studying now.

So in the 6th chapter 46th verse Krishna states:

 “A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi.”

And now the current verse:

“And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.”

So I’ll just draw your attention to the word bhajate, or renders transcendental loving service. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, in his commentary on this verse has stated:

“The word bhajate is significant here. Bhajate has its root in the verb bhaj, which is used when there is need of service. The English word “worship” cannot be used in the same sense as bhaj. Worship means to adore, or to show respect and honor to the worthy one. But service with love and faith is especially meant for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

So this is a very significant point. It is not uncommon for people to translate this word bhaj as worship, but as is pointed out here, this word indicates going beyond the idea or the concept, or the activity of worship, and means to become actively engaged in rendering transcendental and loving service.

So just drawing your attention to two other words. Yuktatamah meaning the greatest yogi, it’s translated here. In Sanskrit—you will also see this term used, the English—another English equivalent would be “the most fit”, or” the most highly qualified.” And then matah which here is translated as “is considered”, but it’s also commonly used for the English equivalence of “to be honored, or esteemed, or respected.” So this lends an emphasis to the activity of bhakti, activity meaning the engagement in the path of devotion, of bhakti.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Prabhupad makes another statement about this verse in this regard.

“Factually bhakti yoga is the ultimate goal, but to analyze bhakti yoga minutely one has to understand these other yogas. The yogi who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune. One who sticks to a particular point and does not make further progress is called by that particular name: karma-yogi, jnana-yogi or dhyana-yogi, raja-yogi, hatha-yogi, etc. If one is fortunate enough to come to the point of bhakti-yoga it is to be understood that he has surpassed all other yogas.”

So I’d like to make the point that, as I’ve previously stated, we mostly are not very cognizant or aware of how we are being influenced by the mind, by the false ego, by the different ways in which material conditioning is affecting us. We have a very strong tendency in the conditioned state to think that if I personally like something, or I’m drawn to it, it is the best. It is the highest, it is the best. And so people become involved, sometimes even quite contentiously, in arguing about what is better or what is best. These statements that have been made here are not being made from that platform. They are been made from the transcendental platform.

There is of great importance to understand that the actual transcendentalists don’t speak from a partisan platform. They’re not parochial or sectarian in their interests. They are speaking from an absolute and transcendental platform, and speaking from a motivation of wanting to see you and I, all living beings, experience what is in their best interest, to gain their highest possible happiness.

We’ve mentioned before that when one wants to really come to know something, vastu, that, “that thing,” speaking here of the soul, one must come to know its essence, its position and its function: essence meaning what is it constituted by, or of, or from; what is its—where does it fit in relation to other things around it and what is its natural function in its pure state? And as we’ve mentioned before, the natural function of the soul is to love and to serve.

When one is having the experience of merging into the great impersonal brahmajyoti, this effulgence of the Lord, one cannot experience their natural function, because in that condition one does not identify as being an individual and in any way distinct from anything. But the truth of the matter is, while one can have that experience, one is absorbed only in what is actually a partial realisation of our spiritual nature.

As one progresses in their spiritual maturity there will be a realisation of our individual existence and how we are not all one, or that we are simultaneously one and yet simultaneously distinct. In the most mature of realisations my natural tendency to love and to serve will become manifest, and directed towards the Supreme Soul.

And so when they speak of the process of bhakti-yoga as being the topmost spiritual realisation, it is not a sectarian or parochial statement. It is simply factual. That does not mean that all people who are attempting to practice bhakti-yoga, or who are on the path, are automatically on the highest transcendental platform. No, not necessarily the case at all. But even though someone may not be so elevated in their spiritual realization and practice, it does not mean that the practice of bhakti-yoga is not the highest spiritual experience, the most complete spiritual experience.

In the statements of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada he had mentioned, “The yogi who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune.” So this reference is to the fact that the Vedic teachings offer the progressive upliftment of the individual. The Vedic teachings are divided into three categories of teaching: those for people that are more fixed in the mode of ignorance, tama guna; those who are more fixed in the mode of passion, raja guna; and those who are situated in the mode of goodness, sattva guna.

The teachings for those who are situated in tama guna are not to be embraced, in fact they must be rejected, by those that are situated in either the mode of passion or the mode of goodness. Just because a teaching is presented in the Vedas it does not mean that they are all to be equally embraced. It really depends on the time place and circumstance.

And it was understood from the highest spiritual platform that the different yogic practices; the ones that, as they are mentioned here, karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga, raja, hatha-yoga etc, that these were practices that helped a person grow in spiritual understanding, experience and realization. But the topmost transcendentalists understood that it was to progressively lead one to the highest spiritual experience. And Krishna is making that point very clearly here.

One of our great spiritual masters from over 400 years ago, Srila Vishvanath Chakravati Thakur commenting on this verse, has stated:

“Among all the processes (meaning yoga processes) such as karma yoga, jnana yoga, tapa yoga, astanga yoga and bhakti yoga, he who worships Me, he who is My devotee, has the best process (this word yuktatama). The karmis, the tapasvis and the jnanis are considered yogis. The astanga yogi is a better yogi. But he who practices bhakti with hearing and chanting however, is the best yogi.”

So he was paraphrasing here the verse spoken by Sri Krishna and giving this meaning.

Another luminary that we have previously mentioned, Srila Sridhara Swami, has made these comments on this verse:

“Amongst all yogis or those perfected in the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness who are engaged in the yama, niyama or self-control etc. Lord Krishna is declaring that His devotee is superior to even the greatest yogi. One who is possessed of full faith in Him as the Supreme Lord of all, with their mind focused within and relishing meditation on Him is the greatest yogi of all. Therefore be Lord Krishna’s devotee is the purport.”

It is a fact that the highest perfection of yoga can be attained only by bhakti yoga, and this is confirmed in the Vedas in the Svetasvatara Upanisad. There is a famous verse in the 6th chapter, the 23rd sloka, that states:

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”

So it speaks to this reality that one must have implicit faith; and this does not mean a blind acceptance but a great trust, a great trust and a surrendered heart, that when one approaches in this mood of devotion—and drawing your attention that it actually references in the verse the execution of bhakti with great devotion. It’s only when one renders transcendental loving service to the Lord with great implicit faith in both Him and a spiritual master, are the actual imports, the full understanding of the Vedas, revealed.

And of course, this is tied to what we have previously mentioned: the two paths in spiritual life, one being the ascending process, the aroha pada, and the other being the avaroha pada, the descending process. The descending process is a process by which one endeavours to become pleasing to the Lord, so that He may bestow his mercy in the form of full and complete realisation. So without coming to that platform, without being actively engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, one cannot possibly acquire the greatest understandings and realisation of the most important conclusions of the Vedas.

The rarity of such people is also stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam, or the Bhagavat Purana, in the sixth canto, the fourteenth chapter and the fifth sloka. There is a verse that says:

“O great sage, among many millions who are liberated and perfect in knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayana or Krishna. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare.”

The Bhagavad-gita also references this point, that out of millions of men who may seek perfection hardly one will attain perfection, and out of thousands of those who have attained perfection Sri Krishna says that hardly one will come to know Me in truth. This speaks to the importance of this process that has been endorsed by Lord Sri Krishna in this verse.

This chapter that the verse is from, the sixth chapter, is the chapter on dhyana yoga, on the meditative process, and it begins by speaking about different practices and different types of people that aspire for the highest spiritual experience or realisation. And in talking about the path of meditation, coming to be completely fixed upon the Lord, Arjuna had expressed concern for the difficulty of the process, or the fact that not so many people become successful.

It’s not because it is so difficult, but it is because we are uninclined to give up our strong independent streak, this desire to be like mini Gods ourself, to be the centre of everything. Like the way I look at this world, the way I see things, it’s all in relation to me. I see myself at the centre of everything, and this is considered the manifestation of this disease or this condition that separates us from our actual true soulmate, the Lord of our heart.

And Arjuna was expressing his concerns and asking what happens if a person is not successful. And maybe I will just read some of the verses leading up to this just to show you the context. So starting from the sixth chapter, 37th sloka:

“Arjuna said: O Krishna what is the destination of the unsuccessful transcendentalist, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realisation with faith but later desists due to worldly-mindednes and thus does not attain perfection in this mysticism?”

O mighty armed Krishna, is not such a man, who is bewildered from the path of transcendence, fall away from both spiritual and material success and perish like a riven cloud, with no position in any sphere?

This is my doubt, O Krishna, and I ask you to dispel it completely. But for You, no one is to be found who can destroy this doubt.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O son of Prtha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.

The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.

Or (meaning if unsuccessful after long practice of yoga) he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Certainly, such a birth is rare in this world.”

So here we understand that when one makes progress in their spiritual journey, and if for whatever reason one is unsuccessful, but here specifically if one becomes weak-hearted and gives up their practice, they will take birth in a heavenly environment as a result of all the austerities that they practiced, or they may take birth in a family of great wealth where they have the opportunity to experience maybe what they were hankering for, still having some attraction for material enjoyment and material opulence. Or in the third scenario they would be born in the family of transcendentalists of great wisdom, and will have the opportunity to continue where they left off.

“On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.

By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principle—even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.

And when the yogi engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, achieving perfection after many, many births of practice,  will attain the supreme goal.”

And then the verse prior to this verse that we are studying:

“A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist, greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna in all circumstances, be a yogi.

And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.”

Thank you very much.