ananyaashchintayanto maam ye janaahaa paryupaasate |
teshaam nityaabhiyuktaanaam yogakshemam vahaamyaham || 22 ||

 
With single-pointed meditation, those who are constantly engaged in my worship, I carry the burden of acquisition and preservation of their needs.
 
ananyaaha : single-pointed
chintayantaha : meditation
maam : me
ye : those who
janaahaa : people
paryupaasate : worship
teshaam : their
nityaabhiyuktaanaam : constantly engaged
yogakshemam : acquisition and preservation of needs
vahaami : carry the burden
aham : I
 
Many commentators compare this shloka to a shining gem located right in the middle of the Gita. This oft-quoted shloka contains Ishvara’s promise to all devotees. Here, Shri Krishna assures us that Ishvara will personally attend to the needs of his devotees. But he also defines the type of devotee that is being discussed here. It is one who is ever absorbed in the contemplation of Ishvara. For such people, there is no fear, suffering, sorrow or lack of anything.
 
Previously, we learned about the “sakaama bhakta” or desire oriented devotee. This shloka describes the “nishkaama bhakta” or desireless devotee. Who is a nishkaama bhakta? It is the one who is only seeking one thing: moksha, liberation. His desire for moksha is equal to no other desire, for that desire will permanently eliminate all other desires. it is a desire for infinitude or poornatva. He has “ananya” or focused goal, other devotees have “anya” or diverse goals.
 
So if we are desireless devotees, if our only desire is liberation which is the attainment of Ishvara, what does Ishvara do for us? Shri Krishna says that Ishvara takes care of “yoga” and “kshema”. Our entire life comprises two major activities: acquisition and preservation. The early part of our life goes in acquisition of knowledge, wealth, family, position and title. This is denoted by the word “yoga”. The later part of our life is devoted to preservation of what we have acquired. This is “kshema”.
 
Many commentators cite a wonderful story to illustrate this shloka. There was a brahmin who had great faith in this shloka, but lost it one day because his family did not get enough alms to have a proper meal one day. In disgust, he tore the palm leaf on which this shloka was written and went out of the house. Later, a boy came to his house with a sack of rations. He informed the brahmin’s wife that her husband had sent her the food.
 
The brahmin’s wife noticed that the boy’s tongue was bleeding. She found out from the boy that it was her husband who had cut off the boy’s tongue. When the brahmin came back, the wife rebuked him for injuring the boy who had delivered the rations. The brahmin, it turns out, knew nothing about the boy or the rations. He quickly realized that it was Ishvara who delivered the food, and that when he tore the palm leaf, it injured Ishvara in the form of that boy. So Ishvara did not just deliver the food, he also carried the rations on his back. This is what is meant by the word “vahaami” which means “to carry”.
 
What is the practical implication of this shloka? If we wholly devote ourselves to the pursuit of Ishvara, we need not spend any time incessantly worrying about our needs. As long as we perform our duties efficiently and in a spirit of service to Ishvara, we will be well taken care of. Ishvara will not just carry our burden of needs, he will also carry all of our worries as well.
 
The culmination of this shloka’s vision is the knowledge that there is no such thing as “my” need or “your” need. If everything is Ishvara and everything is in Ishvara, then he will take care of his own needs, just like our fingers are not worrying about someone taking care of their individual needs.
 
What happens to those who do not worship Ishvara in his infinite nature? This is explained in the upcoming shlokas.

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