Bhagawatam 161: The supreme path called bhakti-yoga

Maharishi Kapila continued,

“Yo māṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu santam ātmānam īśvaram

Hitvārcāṁ bhajate mauhyād bhasman-yeva juhoti saḥ


In the form of the Self I reside within every living being and I regulate his body and 10 senses. Rejecting this idea and instead worshipping Me only as an idol is equal to conducting homa with ash.

The person who, believing in separateness (dualism), loathes others or is envious of them, in reality loathes Me as I am the Self (atma) who resides within every living being! Such a person can never experience peace of mind.

Even if a person worships Me as an idol with the best available ingredients and to the best of his capacities while disregarding or abusing other living beings, then his worship does not give me any happiness irrespective of its greatness.

Arcādāv arcayet tāvad īśvaraṁ sva-karma-kt

Yāvan na veda sva-hṛdi sarva-bhūteṣv avasthitam

‘I am the Lord who resides with every living being’- until the person realizes this truth, he should adhere to his prescribed duties while continuing to worship My idols!

The person who believes in dualism perceives himself to be different from other living beings. He also considers himself to be different from Paramatma. Even if there is a slight feeling of dualism in the person, then I, in the form of death, create extreme fear in him.

Atha māṁ sarva-bhūteṣu bhūtātmānaṁ ktālayam

Arhayed dāna-mānābhyāṁ maitryābhinnena cakṣuṣā

I reside as the Self within every living being! Hence, it is imperative for the devotee to have feelings of equality towards every form of life. He should revere those who are superior to him. He should be friendly with equals. To those lower than him, he should give charity. Behaving in this manner amounts to worshipping Me.

O Mother! O form of auspiciousness! Living entities are superior to non-living entities such as stones. Among living entities, animals which breathe are superior to trees. Superior to such animals are living entities which possess a mind. Still better than them are beings that have sense perceptions.

Among living entities which have sense perceptions, trees have only touch perception. Fish that have taste perception are superior to trees. Bees and other insects that have smell perception are superior to fish. Snakes that have sound perception are superior to these bees. Crows and other beings that have sight perception are superior to even these snakes.

Monkeys and animals which have upper and lower sets of teeth are superior to crows. Insects that have many legs are superior to those beings which do not have legs. Still superior to them are the four legged animals.

Human being who has 2 legs is superior to these four legged animals! There are 4 classifications within human beings. Amongst them Brahmin is superior. Amongst Brahmins, he who knows Vedas is more superior. Even among them, one who understands the meaning of Vedas is still superior. The Brahmin, who in addition to understanding the meaning of the Vedas is also able to resolve the doubts therein, is still superior.

Even better than him is the Brahmin who strictly abides by the dictates of the Vedas without any deviation. More superior than this Brahmin is the person who strictly abides by his own dharma (swadharma) while developing dispassion towards these worldly bondages!

However he who with absolute non-dual attitude towards Me, totally surrenders his body including all his actions and the results of those actions to Me, is the best! This is the ultimate knowledge. Such person believes in principle of non-dualism. He is a supremely knowledgeable (jnani). He offers his intelligence and actions totally unto Me. He sees Me everywhere in the form of the Self (atma). I am unable to find any entity superior to him in this entire creation!

Manasaitāni bhūtāni praṇamed bahu-mānayan

Īśvaro jīva-kalayā praviṣṭo bhagavān iti 

The Supreme Lord himself has entered all living entities as the individual being.  Hence the devotee should respect every form of life and mentally offer obeisance to them.

Bhakti-yogaś ca yogaś ca mayā mānavy udīritaḥ

Yayor ekatareṇaiva puruṣa purua vrajet

O daughter of Manu! I have taught to you both ashtānga yoga as well as bhakti yoga. The spiritual aspirant who puts either one of them into practice will reach the ultimate goal of life.

Etad bhagavato rūpaṁ brahmaṇa paramātmana

Paraṁ pradhāna puruaṁ daivaṁ karma-viceṣṭitam

Nature (Prakriti), the Self (Puruśa) who is beyond this Nature, the repository for fruitive actions of the individual and God are nothing but forms of the Supreme Lord known as Parabrahma (Paramatma).

The Lord’s illusory power has manifested into this vast universe composed of innumerable forms. That ultimate power of the Lord which is responsible for this is known as time (kāla)”.

Vāmadevāya namah


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