mahaatmaanastu maam paartha daiveem prakritimaashritaahaa |
bhajantyananyamanaso jnyaatvaa bhootaadimavyayam || 13 ||

But, noble individuals take refuge in my divine nature, O Paartha. Knowing me as the imperishable source of all beings, they worship me single-mindedly.
mahaatmaanahah : noble individuals
tu : but
maam : my
paartha : O Paartha
daiveem : divine
prakritim : nature
aashritaahaa : take refuge
bhajanti : worship
ananyamanasaha : single-minded
jnyaatvaa : having known
bhootaadim : source of all beings
avyayam : imperishable
Shri Krishna now begins to describe those individuals who have understood the true, divine nature of Ishvara. These “mahaatmaas” or noble individuals treat Ishvara as their one and only one refuge, and worship him with unwavering devotion. With a view to instruct us in the ways of such noble individuals, Shri Krishna devotes the next few shlokas to this topic.
The word “aashritaha” or refuge is key to understanding this shloka. What does this word mean? It is how we answer the question “when I am in trouble, what do I turn to?”. Most of us have various sources of refuge. For some, it is their ancestral inheritance. For some, it is their academic qualifications. For some, it is their family. Whenever we are in trouble, we pursue those avenues for comfort and security.
However, the mahaatmaas or noble individuals do not look to any of these sources for refuge. They have understood one simple fact: anything that can change over time is under the control of Prakriti. Prakriti, the realm of name and form, is every changing and can never be relied upon for support all the time. We ourselves would have encountered several instances where money or family did not help someone in their time of need. The noble individuals know that there is only one true refuge that is universal and unchanging: it is Ishvara.
Knowing this, what do the noble individuals do? They are “ananya manasaha”, they are singularly devoted to Ishvara. Even though they may be tempted by Prakriti’s play and dazzle of name and form, they know that ultimately every source of joy that it gives, turns into sorrow eventually. Furthermore, their devotion for Ishvara is not for the attainment for anything else. It is solely for the attainment of Ishvara.
Unlike these noble individuals, most of us still rush into Prakriti for joy, comfort, security and support. But Prakriti teaches us a lesson over our lifetime when we repeatedly seek joy which turns into sorrow. How do the noble individuals remain focused in Ishvara while living in the world of Prakriti? We shall see next.