Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter 12: 20

September 12, 2020

™ye tu dharṁyāmṛtam idaṁ yathoktaṁ paryupāsate
    śraddadhānā matparamā bhaktās te ’tīva me priyāḥ (XII-20)

XII/20. They, verily, who follow this immortal dharma as described
above, endowed with faith, regarding me as their supreme
goal, they, the devotees, are exceedingly dear to me.

Swamiji's Commentary

      ‘Dharṁyāmṛtaṁ’ is translated into immortal dharma. It is also immortalizing dharma. Krishna makes it plain at every opportunity that his is not a new doctrine or philosophy but a re-statement and reiteration of the eternal (not just the oldest, but also the ever- new) dharma.

      It is dharma — the balance which sustains the universe and every living creature, the cohesive force that keeps us together. It is not Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or Judaism in their restricted sense, but their very essence and soul. It is eternal but capable of being re-interpreted and re-delivered from time to time. Wood remains wood, but every human generation fashions some new gadget out of it, putting it to different uses. Initially, man made houses, bridges and boats with wood. When iron and concrete superseded wood in construction, it was used for paper. Now man makes various garments from wood. All these have two factors in common: wood and service to man.

      Modern man, though he does not discard objects of nature (like wood), sneers at dharma, feeling it is out of date. However, it is eternal and can and should still serve man, making his life happier and richer. Just as there are factories and research laboratories to discover newer uses for old materials, there should be more spiritual research centers to re-discover this eternal dharma, this pattern of our existence, and suggest ways and means of applying it to the present-day world.

      To the man-of-God these verses representing the eternal dharma are like a blue-print for perfection. He builds his personality on their pattern — not by blindly copying, but by intelligently living. He lives as if he were a great devotee of God, for that is his objective. He grows in the characteristics mentioned in these verses and in course of time is established in them.

      These eight verses are worth daily repetition, contemplating their meaning.

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