मां हि पार्थ व्यपाश्रित्य येऽपि स्यु: पापयोनय: |
स्त्रियो वैश्यास्तथा शूद्रास्तेऽपि यान्ति परां गतिम् || 32||
māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśhritya ye ’pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ
striyo vaiśhyās tathā śhūdrās te ’pi yānti parāṁ gatim
mam hi partha vyapashritya ye ’pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaishyas tatha shudras te ’pi yanti param gatim
BG 9.32: All those who take refuge in Me, whatever their birth, race, gender, or caste, even those whom society scorns, will attain the supreme destination.
There are souls who have the good fortune of being born in pious families, where they are educated in good values and virtuous living from childhood. This is a consequence of their good deeds in past lives. Then, there are also souls who have the misfortune of being born in families of drunks, criminals, gamblers, and atheists. This is also the result of sins committed in past lives.
Here, Shree Krishna states that irrespective of birth, gender, caste, or race, whoever takes complete shelter of Him will attain the supreme goal. Such is the greatness of the path of devotion that everyone is eligible for it, whereas in other paths there are strict criteria for eligibility.
For the path of jñāna-yog, Jagadguru Shankaracharya states the eligibility:
vivekino viraktasya śhamādiguṇa śhalinaḥ
mukukṣhoraiva hi brahma jijñāsā yogyatā matāḥ
“Only those who possess the four qualifications—discrimination, detachment, disciplined mind and senses, and a deep yearning for liberation—are eligible for practicing the path of jñāna-yog.
In the path of karm kāṇḍ (Vedic rituals), there are six conditions to be met:
deśhe kāle upāyena dravyaṁ śhraddhā samanvitam
pātre pradīyate yattat sakalaṁ dharma lakṣhaṇam
“Six criteria must be fulfilled for the fruition of ritualistic activities—the proper place, the correct time, the exact procedure and correct enunciation of mantras, utilization of pure materials, a qualified Brahmin who performs the yajña, and staunch faith in its efficacy.”
In the path of aṣhṭāṅg-yog as well, there are strict regulations:
śhuchau deśhe pratiṣhṭhāpya (Bhagavatam 3.28.8)
“Perform haṭha-yog in a pure place, while seated immovably in the proper asan.”
In contrast, bhakti-yog is such that it can be done by anyone, at any time, place, and circumstance, and with any material.
na deśha niyamastasmin na kāla niyamasthathā (Padma Purāṇ)
This verse states that God is not concerned with the time or place where we perform devotion. He only sees the love in our heart. All souls are the children of God, and He is willing to accept everyone with open arms, provided they come to Him with genuine love.”