naaham vedairna tapasaa na daanena na chejyayaa |
shakya evamvidho drishtum drishtvaanasi maam yathaa || 53 ||

Not through the Vedas, penance, charity, nor through worship can I be seen, in the manner in which you have seen me.
na: not
aham : I
vedaihi : through Vedas
na : not
tapasaa : through penance
na : not
daanena : through charity
na : not
cha : and
ijyayaa : through worship
shakyaha : possible
evam : this
vidhaha : manner
drishtum : seen
drishtvaan : you seen
asi : have
maam : me
yathaa : like
In this shloka, Shri Krishna lists tools that help us lead a fruitful life. First, he lists the Vedas, which refer to material and spiritual teachings, give us knowledge to lead a purposeful and ethical life. By encouraging action in life’s early stages, then emphasizing renunciation in the later stages, they get us from harbouring selfish desires to desirelessness. Austerity and charity further reduce our ego, and penance strengthens us internally and externally. Worship invokes Ishvara’s grace and blessings.
However, Shri Krishna reminds us that none of these methods will give us attainment of Ishvara as their result. This point is of such importance that he brings it up for the second time in the same chapter. Each of the means outlined above have their own results which are valid in life’s various stages, but they can only purify us, not give us Ishvara directly. If we don’t understand this, we are like the child who wants to go to a dentist not to take care of a tooth issue, but to get the lollipop at the end of the visit.
Attainment of Ishvara is purely in the hands of Ishvara himself, as we saw earlier. It is his choice as to whom he will bestow his grace upon. But so far, Shri Krishna himself has described that there is no bias in the way he has set up the machinery of the universe. This leads us to believe that Ishvara will not arbitrarily bestow his grace upon anyone randomly. There has to be a logic to it. Shri Krishna reveals this answer next.