Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 8, Verse 22

पुरुष: स पर: पार्थ भक्त्या लभ्यस्त्वनन्यया |
यस्यान्त:स्थानि भूतानि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् || 22||

puruṣhaḥ sa paraḥ pārtha bhaktyā labhyas tvananyayā
yasyāntaḥ-sthāni bhūtāni yena sarvam idaṁ tatam

puruṣhaḥthe Supreme Divine Personality; saḥhe; paraḥgreatest; pārthaArjun, the son of Pritha; bhaktyāthrough devotion; labhyaḥis attainable; tuindeed; ananyayāwithout another; yasyaof whom; antaḥ-sthānisituated within; bhūtānibeings; yenaby whom; sarvamall; idamthis; tatamis pervaded


BG 8.22: The Supreme Divine Personality is greater than all that exists. Although he is all-pervading and all living beings are situated in him, yet he can be known only through devotion.


The same Supreme Lord, who resides in his divine abode in the spiritual sky, is seated in our hearts; he is also all-pervading in every atom of the material world. God is equally present everywhere; we cannot say that the all-pervading God is twenty-five percent present, while in his personal form he is a hundred percent present. He is one hundred percent everywhere. However, that all-pervading presence of God does not benefit us because we have no perception of it. Sage Shandilya states:

gavāṁ sarpiḥ śharīrasthaṁ na karotyaṅga poṣhaṇam (Śhāṇḍilya Bhakti Darśhan)[v6]

“Milk resides in the body of the cow, but it does not benefit the health of the cow, which is weak and sick.” The same milk is extracted from the body of the cow and converted into yogurt. The yogurt is then fed to the cow with a sprinkling of black pepper and it cures the cow.

Similarly, the all-pervading presence of God does not have the intimacy to enrich our devotion. We need to first worship him in his divine form and develop the purity of our heart. Then we attract God’s grace, and by his grace, he imbues our senses, mind, and intellect with his divine Yogmaya energy. Our senses then become divine and we are able to perceive the Divinity of the Lord, whether in his personal form or in his all-pervading aspect. Thus, Shree Krishna states that he can be known only through bhakti.

The need for doing bhakti has been repeatedly emphasized by Shree Krishna in the Bhagavad Geeta. In verse, 6.47, he stated that he considers one who is engaged in devotion to him to be the highest of all. Here, he emphatically uses the word ananyayā, which means “by no other path” can God be known. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu puts this very nicely:

bhakti mukh nirīkṣhata karm yog jñāna (Chaitanya Charitāmṛit, Madhya 22.17)[v7]

“Although karm, jñāna, and aṣhṭāṅg yog are also pathways to God-realization, all these require the support of bhakti for their fulfillment.” Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says the same thing:

karm yog aru jñāna saba, sādhana yadapi bakhān

pai binu bhakti sabai janu, mṛitaka deha binu prān (Bhakti Śhatak verse 8)[v8]

“Although karm, jñāna, and aṣhṭāṅg yog are paths to God-realization, without blending bhakti in them, they all become like dead bodies without life-airs.” The various scriptures also declare:

bhaktyāhamekayā grāhyaḥ śhraddhayātmā priyaḥ satām (Bhāgavatam 11.14.21)[v9]

“I am only attained by my devotees who worship me with faith and love.”

milahiṅ na raghupati binu anurāgā, kieṅ joga tapa gyāna birāgā (Ramayan)[v10]

“One may practice aṣhṭāṅg yog, engage in austerities, accumulate knowledge, and develop detachment. Yet, without devotion, one will never attain God.”