Episode # 377 – “Gnyaana” (Knowledge / Wisdom) is the prerequisite for “Bhakti”!!!

In the previous episode, we ahd concluded the important discussion on “Dhyaanam”, as narrated by Bhagawan Krishna to Uddhava. He had explained in detail, various classifications of “Dhyaanam” and the salient procedures that are involved in performing it regularly everyday. We should first take care of our posture in which we sit, followed by mind control. Of course, we would find it difficult at first, but with constant and persistent practice, we could raise up our bar gradually.

Moving on thus, Bhagawan Krishna talks at length about various other allied aspects of Bhakti and how should people belonging to various “Varnaashrama Dharmas” should conduct themselves. We’ve already witnessed this before in a different context, but here, Bhagawan Krishna is elucidating the same thing once more for Uddhava’s understanding. Since we’ve already witnessed it before, we’re moving on with the subsequent points and if readers have queries, you might feel free to refer back to our previous episodes on this topic. Now, as this discussion progresses further, Uddhava asks an important question to Bhagawan Krishna thus, “Oh Krishna! Is there a difference between “Gnyaana” and “Bhakti”? If there are differences, what are they? How do we understand them? What are the ways through which we can differentiate between “Gnyaana” and “Bhakti”?

This is an important question, which might also be lingering around in our minds as well. Now let us witness Bhagawan Krishna’s answer on this. He says thus, Oh Uddhava! If you don’t have the “Gnyaana”, you would not be able to execute the “Bhakti Maarga” at all! In other words, “Gnyaana” is the prerequisite of Bhakti. If you do not have the basic understanding of the Atman, how does the Atman function, how is the Atman integrated with Bhagawan at all times, etc. you would never be able to walk the path of “Bhakti Maarga”. Hence, to practice Bhakti, Gnyaana is very important and is the fundamental step.”

“Bhaktischa gnyaana visheshaha vichischa pratishedhascha!

Nigamo ishwarastathe avekshate aravindaaksha!!

Gunam dosham cha karmanaam pitru deva manushyaanaam Vedah chakshustateshvara!!”

Through the above sloka, Bhagawan Krishna is going one step ahead and is trying to classify Bhakti into the three important categories – “Satvika Bhakti”, “Raajasa Bhakti” and “Taamasa Bhakti”. We would wonder why is Bhagawan classifying anything and everything under the three Gunas. From this, we should understand the importance of the three Gunas and how do they influence every sphere of our lives. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna explains here that “Satvika Bhakti” is where we execute the Bhakti Maarga with Bhagawan as our sole leader and sole goal to achieve. If we’re performing Bhakti with the complete knowledge and surrender to Bhagawan that we are His property and we’re performing all whatever possible according to what our “Sanaatana Dharma” is explaining in detail, it is termed as “Satvika Bhakti”.

Similarly, what is “Raajasa Bhakti”? If a person is trying to perform Bhakti for getting name and fame from the world, it is called “Raajasa Bhakti”. For instance, some well-off people would go to temples, worship the deity there, do some “photo-ops” and come back! We might see this quite often during the election times in India, wherein politicians start flocking towards temples! More than the purpose of performing Bhakti at the temple, these politicians try to woo a particular community of people and garner votes thereby. Thus, those people who do Bhakti for “photo-ops” and for a commercial purpose of obtaining name, position and fame amidst the society, are said to be performing “Raajasa Bhakti”.

Now what is “Taamasa Bhakti”? if a person performs Bhakti out of “fear” for Bhagawan, it is called “Taamasa Bhakti”. For instance, we too do this many a times – If we go the astrologer, he / she would say that if we do not perform this “Parihaara Puja”, our entire family would suffer along with us! Fearing the bad consequences thus, we too go to temples and perform various ways of “Bhakti Maarga”. All these come under the category of “Taamasa Bhakti”. For instance, again, if we would have a routine of visiting the temple every Saturday of the week – If for some reason we’re unable to visit the temple on a Saturday, we would feel thus, “What if Bhagawan gives us a punishment for not visiting the temple this Saturday? What if I lose my job because of that?” All of these fall under the category of “Taamasa Bhakti”.

Thus, we can see here that if we’re performing Bhakti with some sort of a fear factor within us, it is called “Taamasa Bhakti”. Whereas, if we’re doing it for gaining name and fame in the society, it is called “Raajasa Bhakti”. However, if we’re doing it for Bhagawan, as per what our “Sanaatana Dharma”, and if we’re doing it as part of our passion, it is termed as “Satvika Bhakti”. Now explaining all of this to Uddhava, Bhagwan Krishna says that it is the “Satvika Bhakti” that He likes the most, and the other two forms are those that He dreads about. Hence, the message is clear here! After reading through this accord, we can decide what track we should choose, so as to attain Bhagawan!

So for today, let us understand this important point, and we shall wait till the next episode to witness the subsequent points after this! Stay tuned! 🙂


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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