The Path of the Hero – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 5


This post addresses the Imperishable Absolute, the potential difficulty of approaching God solely as Impersonal, and the path of the Hero. 

The Bhagavad Gita appears in the story of the Mahabharata. It is a conversation between Lord Krishna and his devotee and childhood friend, Arjuna. Listening in, we receive the teachings of Lord Krishna as he relates them to Arjuna.

Those highest initiated worship Me with their minds absorbed in Me with supreme faith. They are the most fit and most naturally attached to Me. But those who worship the imperishable, unalterable Absolute, non-manifest and invisible, intangible, undefinable and not comparable to anything, with all their senses restrained and delighting impartially in all beings, they also attain to Me.

However, for one whose mind is fixed on the Invisible Non-manifest Absolute, the effort is greater, for the goal of the unseen is difficult to reach for embodied beings.


Now that we know that worship of both Personal and Impersonal God can get us to God, Lord Krishna points out something more: It is difficult for us as embodied beings to grasp Impersonal God. As embodied human beings, the idea of a separate entity who is greater than ourselves is easier. This is the way of most religions.

  • Worship, resort to, surrender to, fix the mind on, renunciation and sacrifice, all have essentially the same meaning.

“For one whose mind is fixed on the Invisible Non-manifest Absolute”

The word for ‘mind’ in the previous verse was buddhi (intellect), but in this verse it is chetas, which means ‘consciousness’. It is sometimes translated as ‘mind’ because consciousness is what the mind is made of. Consciousness, the stuff of the mind as a whole, is the subtlest of energies. We use the word Attention for the flow of this energy from you to something other than you that you can be conscious of.

The Attention, being a subtle but powerful primal energy, flows out through the gateways of the senses (ears, eyes, skin, tongue and nostrils) in order to provide us with consciousness of things. This is the means of perception we are familiar with and depend on. But the non-manifest Absolute cannot be reached this way, for there is nothing there for your senses to perceive. It is not manifest, and therefore not visible or perceptible by the senses. This makes it difficult for us to grasp. 

We humans like to see, feel and touch a thing before we consider it to be real. We have come to rely on this indirect means of perception, but anything that is not manifest cannot be experienced this way. We have been assured by Lord Krishna however, that there is a way to overcome this obstacle easily.

The Path of Surrender

Through surrender to that very Absolute God that we seek, any potential difficulty is resolved. Once we have given ourselves over to That, we begin to lose our identification with the body as ourselves, and our senses as our only means of perception.

Once we have experienced direct perception in meditation, we begin to lose the limitation of this false identity with the body. The idea of “who” we are, which was once thought to be the body, feelings, mind, personality, and the things we do, begins to change. The packaging that hides our Real Selves gets thinner and thinner, and ultimately disappears as we become Self Realized.

The Path of the Hero

You can can take the Divine as Personal or Impersonal or both. The way of the non-manifest Absolute is more difficult only if you insist on it exclusively.

  • Absolute God – Personal and Impersonal God

If you must have it one way or the other, the path of Devotion (Personal God) is much more doable and easier than trying to grasp and surrender to the abstract, invisible Absolute. But with both, you will achieve God-realization easily and quickly. This is the path of the Hero. 

The Spiritual Hero is not concerned that others will see him as soft by consorting with Personal God, or as aloof by contemplating Impersonal God. The Hero surrenders to God as both.

In the Sanskrit of this verse, it is found that the path of surrender to the Impersonal Absolute is the path that brings about the most rapid progress. I do not see this in other translations, but it is there in the Sanskrit. If you are a Hero, this is your path. With the inclusion of devotion to Personal God, you will override the difficulties of the Impersonal Absolute and find great joy in accomplishing the full extent of yoga sadhana

Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
Durga Ma

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