Prayer is for purity of the mind

The devotee who worships with worldly desire was described in previous verses, now devoteee who worships without asking for worldly desires (either one who is till working on abiding in the self-knowledge or one who already abides in this vision of ātmā), is described in next verse.

ananyāścintayanto mām ye janāh paryupāsate |

tesām nityābhiyuktānām yogaksemam vahāmyaham ||9.22||

Those people who (see themselves as) non-separate from Me, recognising Me, gain Me. For those who are always one with Me, I take care of what their want to acquire and protect.

I take care of their yoga and ksema - yogaksemam vahāmyaham. Yoga here means acquiring what we do not have, and ksema is retaining or protecting what we have acquired. Whose yoga and ksema are being taken care of by Īśvara?

Those who recognise or inquire into Īśvara - cintayanto mām, they gain or seek me - mām paryupāsate. They are ananyāh - who are not separated from Īśvara. Does it mean those who are mentioned in previous verses are separated from him? Since everything here is his manifestation alone, nothing is separated from him, therefore ananyāh - are those who do not look upon Īśvara as other than themselves. They are the people with clear vision of non-duality. Others are also not separated from Īśvara, they just don't recognise this fact.

Is Īśvara not taking care of others bhakta's yoga-ksema? Of course he does, since he is the giver of the result including the answer of prayers. But remember that other bhakta only desire limited things, therefore to fulfil their desires, they only get what they wanted. Bhakta who wants nothing else, only to know Īśvara as themselves, all yoga-ksema will be with them, because all yoga-ksema which have taken place is Īśvara himself.

Next Lord Krsna point out the difference between two devotees even though the form of worship is the same.

ye'pyanyadevatā bhaktā yajante śraddhayānvitah |

te'pi māmeva kaunteya yajantyavidhipūrvakam ||9.23||

Kaunteya (Arjuna)! Even those devotees who worship other devatās with śraddhā, worship Me only, (but) backed by ignorance.

aham hi sarvayajñānām bhoktā ca prabhureva ca |

na tu māmabhijānanti tattvenātaścyavanti te ||9.24||

I am indeed the recipient of all rituals and the only Lord. But they do not know Me in reality. Therefore, they fall away.

They worship devatās with śraddhā, but they see them other than Īśvara - ye'pyanyadevatā bhaktā. They don't know Īśvara in reallity - na tu māmabhijānanti tattvena, who actually is the recipient of their worship - aham hi sarvayajñānām bhoktā, and the giver of the result - aham prabhureva ca. Their worship is backed by ignorance - avidhipūrvakam, therefore they fall away - cyavanti te. Because not knowing the recipient of the worship is that reality by gaining which one owned up the limitless self, one only gets limited object. Since one only knows limited, asks for limited, then one also gets limited result, therefore he/she falls away from the highest result.

Therefore one must know there is limitless self, interested in moksa and understand prayer is done for purity of the mind - antahkaranaśuddhi, then one will gain limitless with the same worship. This is called karma-yoga, doing whatever needed to be done only for purity of the mind as the qualification to gain Īśvara alone.

Even though those who worship with ignorant are said to be fall away, but as devotees they definitely get results. No one is denied from the law of karma, this is pointed out in next verse.

yānti devavratā devān piten yānti pitrvratāh |

bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā yānti madyājino'pi mām ||9.25||

Those who are committed to the Gods reach the world of the Gods. Those who are committed to the manes reach the plane of the manes. Those who worship the spirits go to the realm of the spirits. Whereas, those who worship Me, reach Me.

devavratā - people whose devotion are to a particular god, and they do ritual and go to that plane of experience where the god is. Similarly some are interested to go to the plane where the departed soul is living - pitrvratāh. And some worship spirits - bhūtejyā, will gain their world. But those who are committed to Īśvara, will reach him - yānti madyājino'pi mām. Even though the effort is the same, the results are different if one worships with the knowledge of reality.

When limitless is the result, don't think the worship should be very complicated. It is not so, thus Lord Krsna says...

patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyā prayacchati |

tadaham bhaktyupahrtam aśnāmi prayatātmanah ||9.26||

He who offers Me with devotion - a leaf, a flower, a fruit, water - I receive that offering imbued with the devotion of the person whose mind is pure.

Īśvara accepts offerings in any form from the person whose mind only focuses on gaining self-knowledge. He will grant the result in the form of clarity of the mind and also conducive situations to gain self-knowledge.

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