Chapter 9 of the Bhagavad Gita is known as the Sovereign (Royal, Raja) Knowledge and Sovereign Mystery (Secret). What is this “secret”?
Unless one recognizes divinity behind all things, we remain deluded about who we are and the nature of our existence. This recognition is from “sitting near” (9:14) – it is something directly experienced, not imagined, made a mood of, or believed.
9:22 “To men who meditate on Me as their Very Own, ever united to Me by incessant worship, I supply their deficiencies and make permanent their gains.”
Note that “incessant worship” doesn’t mean spending your life on your knees in prayer. It refers to the perpetual surrender that unfolds automatically, typically after Unity. Note “ever united”. We are not ‘ever united’ unless this is our living reality.
9:23 “[those who]…worship other gods are also worshiping Me but not in the right way.”
Like the abused Jesus quote, this isn’t saying unless you’re a Hindu, you won’t find God. Rather, it is a reference to divinity, the one God rather than many. In Vedic culture, there are many gods but properly seen, each is a form of the one rather than separate. In other words, if you’re worshiping the form of god itself, you’re missing the totality of divinity. Christians call it idolatry, confusing the form with reality. Worshiping a crucifixion statue is much the same. Just think of the greeting Namaste – it is not greeting the person but rather greeting the divine in you that you recognize in them.
9:25 “Votaries of gods go to the gods, votaries of ancestors go to the ancestors, worshipers of spirits go to the spirits, those who worship Me, likewise come to Me.”
Ancestors in this case refers to the wise of old. Spirits is what is commonly called the astral. That’s not an improvement.
How do we verify our progress? We may not be a visual person, for example. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi observed that “If the needs and desires of a devotee are fulfilled without much exertion and trouble then closeness to God is verified on the material level.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean we should judge ourself weak or fallen if there are still struggles. It takes time to wind down karma and some of us have tackled a large load. Still, it is a good sign when there is progress towards easier fulfillment.
9:26 “When anyone devotedly offers to Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I enjoy that offering of devotion, from the pure in mind.”
The value is in the offering, the surrender, not in what is offered. What can you give the divine that it doesn’t already have? Only yourself.
9:27 “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as an oblation, whatever you give away, whatever austerity you perform, O Son of Kunti, do that as an offering to Me.”
9:28 “Thus will you be freed from fruits both good and evil, from the bonds of action; your self established in yoga and relinquishment, liberated, you will come to Me.”
He goes on to say that even a sinful person will find peace this way.
But again, as Maharishi observed, to find God, we first have to discover who we are. Seek Self Realization, then God Consciousness can unfold on a proper platform.
(drawing on translations by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Paramahansa Yogananda)