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Chapter XXI

The Lord replied: "Arjuna! People think that the worship of God with form and attributes is quite enough. This discipline will only be of some help; it will guide the person along the road only for a little while. For the Lord will not condescend to grant liberation for just this! For he who aims at liberation must first give up attachment to the body. Without that, the Atmic stage cannot be attained. The identification with the body is the expression of ignorance. The Atma must be recognised as distinct from the Prakrithi."

"The craving for objective pleasure which is based on the unreal value attached to Prakrithi has to be removed by Dhyanam and Thapas. When the craving is lost, the individual becomes like the dry nut, inside the coconut shell, which becomes loose and unattached both to the shell and the fibre outside it; it does not germinate or sprout again; it will remain for ever without being spoilt. The individual has no more birth and consequent death. That is to say, he will be liberated. Becoming like that dry nut inside the shell is the stage called Jivan-mukthi, of liberation while alive."

"The contemplation of the Godhead as 'above and beyond all attributes' is necessary for the attainment of Jivan-mukthi. If that is difficult and beyond your capacity, you can do another thing. Dedicate all worship, all adoration all Vedic rituals and other vows and vigils with all the fruits that may accrue, to Me. Take Me as the ultimate goal, as the final aim which transforms all acts into worship; fix your mind on Me, meditate on Me; I shall then shower My grace and take you across the ocean of change, of Samsara; I shall favour you with the goal you seek. Arjuna! It is not an easy task to fix your mind steadily on Me. Not every one can succeed in this. However long the practice, it is hard to keep the mind on Me, without deflecting it towards other things or ideas."

"You might therefore ask, 'Have we no other means?' My reply is, 'Yes; there is'. Even those who are eager to engage themselves in acts that please Me can get established in the Atmic consciousness and gain liberation. By means of prayer, recitation of the name, adoration of the glory, worship, etc., the sins of the past can be destroyed, the inner consciousness purified of impulses and urges; then the light of wisdom will dawn, leading to liberation from darkness."