Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Four Types of People who worship God

The Four Types of People who worship God

This is my Krishna Jayanti (23-08-2008) gift to all of you.

Right now I am in the seventh chapter ( Gnana Vignana Yogam) of Srimad Bhagavad Gita in my daily parayana. I have already read the 16 th sloka at least thrice before. I thought it as a plain sloka that tries to classify Bhaktas.

Only after I studied Swamy Ramsukhdas ji Maharaj’s commentary (Sadhak Sanjeevani) my perception of this sloka changed. Swamiji deals with this sloka ver very subtly. The sloka is

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(Please download the Sanskrit font here )

chaturvidha bhajante mAm, janA: sukrutino (a)rjuna |

Artho jignAsur arthArthi, gnAni cha bharatarshabha ||--- 7/16

The sloka means

“Oh best of Bharatas ! Four types of Men of virtuous deeds worship me. They are the one who is grieved, the one who desires worldly things, the one who seeks knowledge and the man of wisdom.”

Let us analyze what and who these four are.


Arhta: - This is the classical grieved person who remembers God in the midst of his predicament. Imagine a man, whose son is in the ICU of a hospital and to whom the physician says 'nothing is in his hands'. He now stands there alone, torn by grief. He then sees the small temple there and prostrates in front of God begging for his son’s life. He worships God for release from grief. He is the Artha.

Artharthi: This man is the one seeking material from God. When someone of us need a car, we turn to God for this.

Jignasu: He is the man full of curiosity of the nature of self, the world and God. And this person turns to none other than God to get cleared of this.

Gnani: He is divine wisdom personified. Krishna inserts a conjunction ‘cha’ to denote the speciality of this worshipper. He is a man of God.

You might want to grade these people. The Gnani comes first , followed by Jignasu, Artharthi and finally Artha. But the common thread among these all is that they all worship the Lord . Krishna also says that these are men of good deeds meaning they are devoid of demonic tendencies.

Now please read on to enjoy Swamy Ramsukhdasji’s brilliant explanation of this sloka. For some it might be boring, but press on. It is worth the effort.


The three excepting the Gnani has the desire as a driving force for their worship. This desire is of two types The first for this present life and the other for the after life. The latter is all about mukti. The Jignasu yearns to know the truths about mukti (emancipation). Thinking deeper here this yearning is a need and not a desire per se. The search for truth is a fundamental need. Such needs, once satisfied never rise again unlike desires which rise again and again and are never satiated. This ‘need’ belongs to the ‘sat’ (truth) category. But 'desire' belongs to the ‘asat’ (untruth)

The other yearning is for the Lord’s love. Though this Love is a priceless one, the benefits of such Love is never one’s own. They are God’s only. The seeker surrenders himself to God totally. We can instantly say that these two are not desires at all.


Now let us see the other desire. That is, the desire for this present life. This desire is one directed towards the world. They are of two types. The first is for seeking pleasures in this life and the other is for removal of pain from this life.

The pleasure seeking expresses itself in seeking fame, material comfort, physical comfort, sensual gratification, sexual satisfaction and so on. Secondly, there is that desire that wants pains or obstacles removed. What are these pains ? They are of three types. Adi Daivikam, Adi Boudikam, and Adhyatmikam.

The pain or grief arising out of flood, draught, earthquakes, wind and cold form the Adi Daivikam.

The grief arising due to animals, birds and evil people are called Adi Boudikam.

The grief produced due to the body and the anta: karanas ( senses, mind and ahankara) is called Adhyatmikam. Adhyatmikam is further divisible into two. They are Adi and Vyadi. Worry is Adi. Bodily disease is Vyadi. Adi is of two types. First is mental disease. Second is due to worry, grief, shock, and suppressed emotions. The second is due mainly to ignorance and wisdom (gnana) dispels them. But mental disease per se is due to karma and will remain as long as the fruits of Karma remain.


The above text marked in blue show the technical or scriptural aspect of desires and their effect , grief.

For one who can see through the four different people who worship God, a simple difference can be ascertained. The first three , namely Artharthi, Artha and Jignasu are clinging lesser and lesser to the world in their given order. In other words they represent different aspects or levels of worship. When they reach the stage of the Gnani, the world no longer exists for them.

By this, I do not degrade the the first three. The Artharthi is not contented with his possessions. The Artha cannot tolerate grief. Jignasu cannot satisfy his curious intellect. But the great aspect that differentiates from mere money mongers and knowledge seekers is that they seek help from God himself.

They are burdened by matters of the world since sensual pain, matter and intellect are all connected with the jagat or world or the ‘asat’ category. As long as they carry the world with them they are variously called Artha, Artharthi and Jignasu. Once they cease to carry it, they become true Gnanis instantly.

To the Gnani, the realization of ‘Vasudeva: Sarvam’ happens.The Gnani no longer carries the world in his consciousness. He has transcended the above three to attain that stage where he sees God only everywhere. Bhagavan acknowledges this Gnani in the sloka 7-18 where he says gnAni tvAtmaiva me matam” ( my view is that this Gnani is verily of my nature)

Hare Krishna

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