Srimad Bhagavad-gita Study Group
- Chapter 9 -
The Hidden Treasure of Devotion
The Lord reveals to Arjuna the topmost secret constituting the supreme lore, the zenith of all religion, which gives the clue to the acquisition of true knowledge of the self and of the Godhead. Those without faith cannot reach Lord Krishna as faith is the foundation of all transcendental knowledge. The Lord is the efficient cause of the universe, the material world manifesting from His Maya potency and the living beings from His marginal jiva potency. All creation both sentient and non-sentient are in Him but the Lord remains eternally independent and distinct from them. Wondrous is His transcendental sovereign position. He is the support, in-dweller and preserver of all beings. All beings rest in Him at the time dissolution and are again manifest at a new creation but still He remains untouched and detached from all these actions being beyond his Maya-prakriti. The beautiful Lord Krishna is forever resplendent in His humanlike form of ideal gorgeousness and eternity even when He descends to this plane. The foolish mistake His form to be mundane and transient not knowing Him to be the Lord of lords, the supreme absolute person. His true devotees, however worship Him with pure intelligence and single devotion, incessantly singing of His glories—His name, His form, His qualities and His deeds in the association of the sadhus and attain His eternal loving service in the all-blissful realm. The worshippers of impersonal Brahman, the worshippers of the Universal forms, the performers of sacrifices and the knowers of the Vedas as well as those who desire to drink the nectar of the gods and enjoy heaven and the worshippers of the pantheon of minor gods all attain their respective goals by the mercy of Krishna alone and are all bound to revolve within this mortal world. The Lord however takes all responsibility to provide for and protect His unalloyed devotees who want nothing in this world. The Lord happily accepts whatever is offered to Him with love, be it a leaf, flower, fruit or water. Such gifts of loving hearts gives the greatest pleasure to the Lord whereas even the most precious and rare articles are rejected by the Lord if they are motivated only by pomp and show. The worshippers of the ‘gods’ attain to the ‘gods’ but the Lord’s devotees go to Him. All things—what you eat, what you offer in sacrifice, what you give and the vows you keep—do them as an offering to Krishna and you will be freed from all reaction both good and bad and will, being linked to the Lord in love, come to Him. The Lord is equal to all but those who whole-heartedly and ardently love Him and serve Him with unflinching faith, the Lord reciprocates such love with His Love. Those who are given cent percent to the cultivation of His loving service, even if they are addicted to sinful habits are really to be regarded as ‘sadhu’. Whosoever maintains no judgement towards the Lord’s devotees and declares this truth that the Lord’s servants are never vanquished will themselves quickly become virtuous and attain to eternal joy. There are no bars or exclusions from real devotion, even those who may be regarded by society to be low-born— they too can attain the supreme goal if they take full refuge in the Lord. So, Krishna says, “Always think of me, be My devotee, worship Me and bow down to Me. In so offering yourself to me and taking shelter in Me alone, you will come to Me.”
Useful Acronym to remember the chapter contents:
Just as a pearl is hidden within a shell, or as a king travels surrounded by an entourage, the essence of the Bhagavad-gita is hidden in the middle of the conversation. In the Ninth Chapter, Krishna outlines the “king” of all knowledge and the most secret of all secrets. He explains the essence of the Bhagavad-gita, the perfection of spiritual practice, and the ultimate goal of life.
I Inconceivable relationships
G Glories of Bhakti
K – Knowledge (Verses 1-3) - Krishna explains that the knowledge He is about to impart is the most confidential, since it illuminates the true position and nature of the soul in relation to God. There is a notion that belief in God is intellectually immature or philosophically naive. However, logical and rational analysis of the complexity, design and intricate engineering of this creation, makes plain that there must be some conscious intelligence behind it. To categorically deny this suggests a stubborn, irrational and illogical predisposition toward atheism. Thus, Krishna explains that the knowledge He is about to impart is state-specific - one must be non-envious and faithful to
understand it. Faith is not opposed to knowledge, but is actually a prerequisite for receiving it.
I – Inconceivable relationships (Verses 4-10) - An idea is conceived within the mind. A child is conceived within the womb. In other words, a concept is contained within something. However, since the qualities and characteristics of the Lord are unlimited, they cannot be contained within any boundaries, and thus God’s activities and relationships are deemed inconceivable. In this section, Krishna begins to impart knowledge of his inconceivable relationships with the universe and all living entities. While this knowledge gives an indication of the character, greatness and capacity of God, it also exposes our inability to comprehend such matters through mundane logic and reason.
N – Non-worship (Verses 11-25) - Even after Krishna explains the opulences and qualities of His personal form, there are many who misunderstand the Supreme. Because Krishna appears in the “humanlike” form, some deem Him an ordinary human being and believe a personal form of God to be an elementary and infantile concept. Others believe that God manifests innumerable forms represented by the various demigods, each of whom are worthy of worship. Others cannot perceive of anything beyond this universe, and therefore consider the cosmos to be the supreme object of worship. All such persons sidestep the worship of the Supreme Personality, whom one can see face-to-face and have a relationship with. While some claim that all paths lead to the same destination, Krishna highlights that He awards different results to a person’s worship based on their motivation and understanding.
G – Glories of Bhakti (Verses 26-34) - In this way, Krishna establishes the personal form of God to be the highest and most complete manifestation of the Supreme. The greater something is, the higher the qualification to achieve it. To get into a good university you need higher grades. To buy a bigger house you need greater funds. Similarly, to approach God in the most intimate and personal way, one requires the greatest qualification – complete purity of consciousness, free of any tinge of selfish motivation. Krishna explains that such purity is characterised by constant spiritual absorption with mind, body and word, where one’s entire life becomes a spiritual offering saturated with love and devotion. This is Krishna consciousness, and this is the essential teaching of the Bhagavad-gita - to always remember Krishna and never forget Him.
Questions on Chapter 9
Chapter 9 slokas to learn:
avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto mama bhūta-maheśvaram 
ajānantaḥ–Not knowing; param–the transcendental; bhāvam–nature, reality; mama āśritam mānuṣīm tanum–of My form of human features; mūḍhāḥ–ignorant persons; avajānanti–considering Me a mere mortal, blaspheme; mām–Me; bhūta-mahā-īśvaram–the Supreme Lord of all beings. 
11 Not knowing the transcendental nature of My form of human features, ignorant persons blaspheme Me, the Supreme Lord of all beings, considering Me a mere mortal.
moghāśā mogha-karmāṇo mogha-jñānā vichetasaḥ
rākṣasīm āsurīñ chaiva prakṛtiṁ mohinīṁ śritāḥ 
(te)–They; (bhavanti)–remain; mogha-āśāḥ–with vain hopes; mogha-karmāṇaḥ–vain actions; mogha-jñānāḥ–vain knowledge; (cha)–and; vichetasaḥ–vain thoughts; śritāḥ–adopting; rākṣasīm–the ignorant; āsurīm cha–and passionate, demoniac; prakṛtim eva–nature; mohinīm–causing their delusion, their downfall. 
12 Their hopes, acts, knowledge, and thoughts all in vain, such persons acquire the ignorant and demoniac nature, which leads to their downfall.
mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
bhajanty ananya-manaso jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam 
tu–But; (he) pārtha–O son of Pṛthā, Arjuna; āśritāḥ–taking refuge in; daivīm prakṛtim–the godly nature; mahā-ātmānaḥ–the great-hearted, the devoted souls; jñātvā–knowing; mām–Me; bhūta-ādim–as the origin of all that be; (cha)–and; avyayam–imperishable; bhajanti–worship, adore; (mām)–Me; ananya-manasaḥ–whole-heartedly. 
13 But, O Pārtha, the great-hearted souls take refuge in the divine nature, and they whole-heartedly worship and adore Me, knowing Me as the eternal origin of all.
satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś cha dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś cha māṁ bhaktyā nitya-yuktā upāsate 
satatam–At all times, in all places and circumstances; mām kīrtayantaḥ–singing the glories of My divine Name, form, etc.; yatantaḥ–striving to learn spiritual truths of My transcendental nature, personality, etc.; dṛḍha-vratāḥ cha–and unfailingly following the devotional observances such as Ekādaśī and regular chanting of the Holy Name; namasyantaḥ cha–offering obeisances unto Me and following all the practices of devotion; (te)–they; upāsate–worship; mām–Me; bhaktyā–with devotion; nitya-yuktāḥ–earnestly aspiring for their eternal relationship with Me. 
14 They continually chant My glories, strive to learn spiritual truths about Me, and faithfully follow the devotional practices. Bowing to Me and worshipping Me with devotion, they aspire for their eternal relationship with Me.
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayachchhati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ 
yaḥ–For one who; bhaktyā–with devotion; prayachchhati–offers; me–Me; patram–a leaf; puṣpam–a flower; phalam–fruit; toyam–water; aham–I; aśnāmi–partake of that—I affectionately accept; tat–that; bhakti-upahṛtam–devotional offering; (tasya)–of that person; prayata-ātmanaḥ–of clean heart. 
26 If one offers Me with devotion a leaf, flower, fruit, or water, I affectionately accept that offering of the clean hearted devotee.
api chet sudurāchāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ samyag vyavasito hi saḥ 
chet–If; api–even; sudurāchāraḥ–a person of sinful practices; bhajate–serves; mām–Me; ananya-bhāk–with exclusive devotion (giving up all other endeavours such as karma and jñān); eva–certainly; saḥ mantavyaḥ–he should be regarded; sādhuḥ–as a saintly person; hi–because; saḥ samyak vyavasitaḥ–his resolve is perfect. 
30 If even a very sinful person serves Me exclusively with devotion, he should be regarded as saintly, for his resolve is perfect.
kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā śaśvach-chhāntiṁ nigachchhati
kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati 
 (saḥ)–He (who dedicates himself to Me); kṣipram–swiftly; bhavati–becomes; dharma-ātmā–a person of virtuous practices; nigachchhati–and attains; śaśvat–constant; śāntim–peace, relief from obstacles. (he) kaunteya–O son of Kuntī; pratijānīhi–declare; (iti)–thus; me–My; bhaktaḥ–devotee; na praṇaśyati–is never vanquished. 
 (he) kaunteya–O son of Kuntī; pratijānīhi–promise and declare it; (iti)–that; me bhaktaḥ–My devotee; na praṇaśyati–is never vanquished. (saḥ)–That person who proclaims this; kṣipram–swiftly; bhavati–becomes; dharma-ātmā–virtuous, religious; nigachchhati–and attains; śaśvat–constant; śāntim–peace, joy. 
31 He swiftly becomes a person of virtuous practices and attains constant peace. O son of Kuntī, declare to the world that My devotee is never vanquished!
31 O son of Kuntī, declare to the world that My devotee is never vanquished. One who declares this swiftly becomes virtuous and attains eternal joy.