Gita Series – 87: Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII. Verses 18 – 22:
“All these four kinds of men are noble. But I consider a wise man as My very Self. He possesses unfaltering mind and intellect, established in Me all the time and this alone is his highest goal in his life. After many births, only during his last birth, he realizes that everything that prevails is Me. But, such an illuminated soul is very rare to find. Those, whose wisdom is turned towards different kinds of desires, worship different gods and perform different rituals as prescribed for such gods and this largely depends upon their own nature. In whatever form he chooses to worship with dedication, I stabilize his faith in the form he chooses to worship. Endowed with that faith, he worships that particular form of god and gets his desires fulfilled as ordained by Me.”
Krishna has already said (verse 16) that four types of virtuous men worship Him. While saying so, He highlights the importance of devotion. When one develops sincere devotion, he is considered as virtuous, irrespective of his other qualities. Krishna chooses to repeat that again in this verse. He calls all the four types of devotees not only virtuous but also noble. Devotion forms the foundational aspect of spirituality. Devotion is nothing but the absolute faith. One’s ability to maintain the utmost faith in the god he worships automatically enables him to make spiritual progression. Lack of faith in god and lack of devotion are one and the same. As far as the wise men are concerned, they do not have dualistic thought. Their entire power of concentration is always fixed on the Lord. They go beyond shapes and forms. Those who seek liberation do not get afflicted by reposing faith in shapes and forms. They truly understand that Lord is not bound by time and form and is eternal. Those who are bound by time and space are perishable at some point of time. The wise men who realise this fact always remain submerged in His consciousness. They cannot keep their minds off from the Lord even for a moment. By doing so, they acquire the qualities of the Lord to ultimately transform as the Lord Himself. That is why Krishna says that such wise men are His own manifestations. They are one more step away from becoming the Lord Himself and this happens at the time of cessation of their physical bodies. At the time of death, their souls directly merge with the Brahman.
Krishna says such mental transformation is attained only in the final birth of a wise man. The soul of that wise man gets refined and purified over several births and gets ready for absorption into the Brahman in the final birth. Even that wise man, who had undertaken a long spiritual journey could realise the omnipresent nature of the Lord only in his last birth, as detained by his karma. Krishna says that such an enlightened soul is very rare to find. This is because, the path that is be pursued is very tough and the only prerequisite is the transformation of one’s mind from its inherent nature to absolute purity. Since not many are willing to undertake this rugged journey, wise men are very rare to find.
There is another group of persons, possibly forming the majority of the spiritual aspirants of today, who always get associated with material obsession. The degree of their needs vary. For example, one may want a career elevation, another may need a bungalow, someone may need better education, etc. Depending upon their requirements, they choose different gods and worship them with a lot of rituals. One may resort to worshipping goddess of wealth and another may resort to goddess of education. Krishna says that He alone makes such gods and goddesses to fulfill their desires. But there is a subjective clause, the dedication. Without dedication and faith, spirituality does not yield any results. Krishna says that He is the cause of stabilizing faith in the aspirant and He is also the cause in making the concerned deity to grant boons to the aspirant. Krishna says in s subtle voice that He alone prevails everywhere, thereby proving the omnipresent theory of the Lord.
There is a possibility for a small confusion when Krishna talks about worshipping various gods through rituals. Rituals are associated only in the infant stages of spirituality. Rituals and religions generally go together. Surely religion and its associated rituals lay a very strong foundation for realizing the Lord. But, if one chooses to continuously get associated with only rituals and religions, where is the time for him to realise the Lord? Obviously, he will be wasting his precious time in not realizing the Brahman and he becomes the cause for postponing his liberation. Spirituality talks about the Lord or the Brahman without attributes, who is beyond human perception. When one advances spiritually, he looks beyond shapes and forms of the Lord. Ultimately he comes to know that the Brahman is without form, as He is not bound by time and space.