Bhakti – the basic principle on which the Gita is based – Summary Divine Discourse on 8 October 2016
No one can escape action once they are born into this world, which is the world of action. The easiest way to avoid consequences of actions is to not have the sense of doership. It is only when we think that we are the doers that the expectations of results come in as a consequence. The moment one has any kind of expectation or desires, he is bound to compare it with others and take to wrong paths. By this very act, one has to then undergo the consequences of one’s action. It is very difficult when one is engaged in the body and mind to think that one is not the doer. So, what is the solution for one to escape the consequences of one’s actions? If one is not able to give up the sense of doership, the best option is to offer everything they are doing to God. This means not choosing and not selectively offering one’s actions but offering everything one is engaged in to God. Therefore, the two golden principles of Sarva karma bhagavad preetyartham – first of all, doing things with a sense of doership but for the love of God and second, once you have done it, simply offer it to God. The second is Sarva karma phala tyagam – whatever we have thereby achieved with the sense of doership, we must give it to God or offer it to God. If one follows these two principles, all Karma will become Karma yoga.
What makes Karma or action into Yoga or union with God is Bhakti, devotion. If one has devotion which is love for God, one will choose not to do things which will displease God for He is trying to do everything to please God, for the love of God. And for some reason, let us assume, that you are unable to offer the fruits of action to God, even then the fruits of actions born out of deeds done for love of God will be pleasant ones. Simply learning a few philosophies and trying to apply it forcibly in our lives, is not going to yield any results. This Karma or action will become Yoga only when the feelings of love for God come from deep within, all by itself. And once you please God, there is nothing that you will ever lack. If you do things to please God, the results will always be pleasant.
Thinking before doing is Purvatapa. Thinking after having done what you have done is Paschatapa. One must develop this Purvatapa or thinking before one does anything. Think of what will be the consequence of doing such a thing, which is not going to please God. All these Yajnas and Yagas are a way to offer our gratitude to God with the offerings that will please Him so that He can bless us with much more. So for every action, there has to be a reaction. We are doing it for the benefit of the whole world, not just one or two. Let the whole be full of peace, full of bliss, full of joy. This feeling is the underlying principle with which we are doing these Pujas. “Sarvabhutanam,” to everyone, all beings in this world. If everybody is happy, you are also a part of everybody so you will also become happy. You are just Vyashti or an individual who is a part of Srishti, which is Nature. Therefore, if you pray for the entire Srishti, the Vyashti is also taken care of.Such prayers are the prayers that are dearest to God. And such acts of selflessness are dear to God. And such a devotee is dear to God is what is being explained in the twelfth chapter – Bhakti Yoga – of Bhagavad Gita. If the whole Bhagavad Gita is now considered as Dugdham or milk, then the butter, the purest essence of Gita, is the twelfth chapter of Bhakti Yoga. Therefore, it is very important for us to understand and imbibe the teachings which are there in Bhakti Yoga.
For the students, especially the young ones, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga all this can be taught. But if the fundamental Bhakti Yoga is not there, then both are going to be useless. It will be akin to a bulb and a fan without electricity. Bhakti is the very fundamental, basic principle on which the entire Gita is based. From the seed of Bhakti, comes the tree of Shakti, branches of Yukti and flowers and fruits of Mukti. Devotion is the only emotion.