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Truth Beyond DespairThe Path of Selfless ServiceThe Path of MeditationThe Path of DevotionThe Path of Wisdom

Bhagavad Gita/The Path of Devotion

Meditation and Reading taken from The Bhagavad Gita, trans. Eknath Easwaran
All other text is by Cynthia Stewart

Today's Themes

Bhakti yoga, the path of devotion, is at the same time the most common and the most lofty of the paths. As today’s meditation explains, it is a path that can be chosen by anyone in any walk of life; the illiterate farmhand and the learned sage alike can be transformed by the power of a heart focused in love upon the divine. In this vein, it is by far the most common path followed by Hindus. But this most common of paths is also, finally, the highest. Among the last words that Krishna speaks to Arjuna are an injunction to this sort of love and devotion: “Be aware of me always, adore me, make every act an offering to me, and you shall come to me” (Chapter 18.65). When service is rendered and wisdom is gained and meditation is mastered, we arrive at the moment of union with Brahman and find that it is love that will carry us into it.

The call to worship is something of a Gita-inspired meditation on St. Augustine’s famous summation of the Christian message as “Love, and do as you will.” It reminds us that a heart open to the divine is a heart open to seeing all, both the beautiful and the ugly in life, as an aspect of the divine.

Words used in this session:
Arjuna – the warrior prince who must fight the army led by his cousins in order to establish his father’s right to the ancestral throne.
karma – this means both action and the results of action, which can last across lifetimes
Krishna – Arjuna’s charioteer who reveals himself later in the Gita as the Source of all creation

Call To Worship

First, love.
Love is stars and starshine, moon and moonlight, sun and sunbeam.
Love is trees and forests, rivers and oceans; and it is fire that burns the trees and forests, and pollution that clogs rivers and oceans.
It is small towns and big cities, the friendly hello and the insolent stare, the care and concern of some and the total indifference of others.
Love is pain and sorrow, and the easing of pain, and the comforting of sorrow.
Love is a child’s laughter, a lover’s touch, a depth of emotion, a joy beyond words.
Love is all of this and more, if –
If –
If we move toward each and every one of these things with a heart open to receive and to give.
Love is receiving and giving in the fullness of your being.
First, love. And then do as you will.


Still your mind in me, still your intellect in me, and without doubt you will be united with me forever. If you cannot still your mind in me, learn to do so through the regular practice of meditation. If you lack the will for such self-discipline, engage yourself in my work, for selfless service can lead you at last to complete fulfillment. If you are unable to do even this, surrender yourself to me, disciplining yourself and renouncing the results of all your actions.

Chapter 12.8-11


Whatever I am offered in devotion with a pure heart – a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water – I partake of that love offering. Whatever you do, make it an offering to me – the food that you eat, the sacrifices you make, the help that you give, even your suffering. In this way you will be freed from the bondage of karma, and from its results both pleasant and painful. Then, firm in renunciation and yoga, with your heart free, you will come to me.

I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dear to me and none more dear. But those who worship me with love live in me, and I come to life in them.

Chapter 9.26-29


Every ending, we are told, is but an illusion, for what is real is beyond end and beyond beginning. Our worship, in all its limited, brilliant, mortal beauty comes to an end here, but our love, without end and without beginning, abides forever.

As it comes from within each of us, may each of us strive to live this love for others in the days to come. As it comes from beyond each of us, may each of us feel held in the warmth of this love in the days to come.

OM shanti shanti shanti