maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca
santuṣṭaḥ satataḿ yogī
yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 12.13-14
One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me—such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Coming again to the point of pure devotional service, the Lord is describing the transcendental qualifications of a pure devotee in these two verses. A pure devotee is never disturbed in any circumstances. Nor is he envious of anyone. Nor does a devotee become his enemy’s enemy; he thinks, “This person is acting as my enemy due to my own past misdeeds. So it is better to suffer than to protest.” In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.8) it is stated: tat te ’nukampam susamiksamano bhunjana evatma-kritam vipakam. Whenever a devotee is in distress or has fallen into difficulty, he thinks that it is the Lord’s mercy upon him. He thinks, “Thanks to my past misdeeds I should suffer far, far greater than I am suffering now. So it is by the mercy of the Supreme Lord that I am not getting all the punishment I am due. I am just getting a little, by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Therefore he is always calm, quiet and patient, despite many distressful conditions. A devotee is also always kind to everyone, even to his enemy.
Nirmama means that a devotee does not attach much importance to the pains and trouble pertaining to the body because he knows perfectly well that he is not the material body. He does not identify with the body; therefore he is freed from the conception of false ego and is equipoised in happiness and distress. He is tolerant, and he is satisfied with whatever comes by the grace of the Supreme Lord. He does not endeavor much to achieve something with great difficulty; therefore he is always joyful. He is a completely perfect mystic because he is fixed in the instructions received from the spiritual master, and because his senses are controlled he is determined. He is not swayed by false arguments, because no one can lead him from the fixed determination of devotional service. He is fully conscious that Krishna is the eternal Lord, so no one can disturb him. All these qualifications enable him to fix his mind and intelligence entirely on the Supreme Lord. Such a standard of devotional service is undoubtedly very rare, but a devotee becomes situated in that stage by following the regulative principles of devotional service. Furthermore, the Lord says that such a devotee is very dear to Him, for the Lord is always pleased with all his activities in full Krishna consciousness.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
What is the description of the devotee who has attained such peace? In response, different natures of many types of devotees are described in eight verses.
Advesta means that one does not have hatred even for those who hate you. Rather one has friendliness towards them (maitrah). One is merciful to them, thinking that they should not end up in unfortunate circumstances (karunah).
“But by making what type of discriminating powers can one have friendliness and mercy even to enemies?”
“One should not make distinctions at all. By non-possessiveness of children and wife (nirmamah), by not thinking of the body as the self (nirahankarah), my devotee never develops hatred. Why should he accept such distinctions if he wants to reduce suffering produced from hatred (a distinction)?”
“But then one will be suffering pain in the body by getting punched or kicked.”
“It is said by Siva:
narayana-parah sarve na kutascana bibhyati
svargapavarga-narakesv api tulyartha-darsinah
Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord. SB 6.17.28
“One should consider happiness and distress equally (sama duhkha sukham). Moreover, that person thinks that he should necessarily endure his prarabdha karmas. In being equal to happiness and distress, he should be tolerant of the suffering (ksami).” Ksami means having tolerance, coming from the root ksam meaning to endure.
“But how will such a devotee be able to maintain his life?”
“He is satisfied to eat what comes of its own accord, or with very little effort (santusthah).”
“But since you have said that one should be equal in happiness and distress, then how can one express satisfaction (santusthah) with getting something to eat?”
“That person is constantly engaged in bhakti yoga (satatam yogi). He is acting for the purpose of attaining perfection in bhakti. It is said:
aharartham yatataiva yuktam tat-prana-dharanam
tattvam vimrsyate tena tad vijnaya param vrajet
If required, one should endeavor to get sufficient foodstuffs, because it is always necessary and proper to maintain one’s health. When the senses, mind and life air are fit, one can contemplate spiritual truth, and by understanding the truth one is liberated. SB 11.18.34
“Moreover, by chance he does not attain required food, his mind is restrained (yata atma), without agitation. If his mind happens to become disturbed, he does not resort to astanga yoga or other processes to bring about peace. He remains convinced that he should only perform ananya bhakti (drdha niscayah). His devotion does not become weakened. The cause of all of this is mentioned: he should be absorbed in meditating on and contemplating me (mayy arpita mano buddhih). Such a devotee greatly pleases me (me priyah).”
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
12.13 – 12.14 In these and succeeding verses the Lord mentions the nature of the Karma Yogi who adores Him through his works. In other words the Bhakti element in Karma Yoga is emphasised. He never hates any being even though they hate him and do him wrong. For he thinks that the Lord impels these beings to hate him and do him wrong for atoning for his transgressions. He is ‘friendly’, evincing a friendly disposition towards all beings whether they hate him or do him wrong. He is ‘compassionate’, evincing compassion towards their sufferings. He is free from the ‘feeling of mine,’ i.e., he is not possessive with regard to his body, senses and all things associated with them. He is free from the feeling of ‘I’, i.e., is free from the delusion that his body is the self. Therefore, ‘pain and pleasure are the same to him,’ i.e., he is free from distress and delight resulting from pain and pleasure arising from his deeds. He is ‘enduring’, unaffected even by those two (i.e., pleasure and pain) due to the inevitable contact of sense-objects. He is ‘content’, namely, satisfied with whatever chance may bring him for the sustenance of his body. He ‘ever meditates,’ i.e., is constantly intent on contemplating on the self as separate from the body. He is ‘self-restrained’, namely, he controls the activities of his mind. He is of ‘firm conviction’ regarding the meanings taught in the science of the self. His ‘mind and reason are dedicated to Me’ i.e., his mind and reason are dedicated to Me in the form ‘Bhagavan Vasudeva alone is propitiated by disinterested activities, and when duly propitiated, He wil bring about for me the direct vision of the self.’ Such a devotee of mine, i.e., who works in this manner as a Karma Yogin, is dear to Me.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The characteristics of Lord Krishna’s devotees which quickly lead to divine grace are now being elucidated in seven verses beginning with advesta-sarva- bhutanam meaning devoid of malice towards anyone, is non-envious of anyone and benevolent towards everyone, free from concepts of possessiveness and ideas of ego consciousness as well as free from false identification of being the physical body, compassionate to the unfortunate, always forgiving, content and cheerful with loss or gain, tolerant, equipoise in happiness or distress, satisfied with what comes by its own accord, firmly resolved in the teachings of the spiritual master about the Supreme Lord, one is contemplative and dedicating their mind, intellect and heart to the Supreme Lord Krishna is very dear to Him.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna explained in the previous verse that by following renunciation for the rewards of actions one achieves the Supreme peace. Now explaining further He declares that His devotee who has become renounced should also possess the virtues given in seven verses beginning with advesta sarva- bhutanam meaning free from enmity towards any living being. One reflects that all misfortunes are due to their past karma or reactions from one’s own actions. One is also karuna or compassionate to those in need and is nirmamo or free from possessiveness of even relatives and nirahankarah or ego sense from even one’s physical body and things other than the atma or eternal soul. Who is dukha-sukha or even minded and self-satisfied in happiness or distress with whatever comes of its own accord. Who is ksami or tolerant and drdha-niscaya meaning firmly resolved and resolutely determined to fully follow the teachings of the spiritual master and the Vedic scriptures and perform bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna. One who has ceased to pursue the desires of the senses and mental tendencies of the mind and has instead directed their consciousness internally to the atma in the heart surrendering their mind and intelligence to the Supreme Lord Krishna verily worship Him and are very dear to Him.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
12.13 Advesta, he who is not hateful; sarva-bhutanam, towards any creature: He does not feel repulsion for anything, even for what may be the cause of sorrow to himself, for he sees all beings as his own Self. Maitrah, he who is friendly-behaving like a friend; karunah eva ca, and compassionate: karuna is kindness, compassion towards sorrow-stricken creatures; one possessing that is karunah, i.e. a monk, who grants safety to all creatures. Nirmamah, he who has no idea of ‘mine’; nirahankarah, who has no idea of egoism; sama-duhkha-sukhah, who is the same under sorrow and happiness, he in whom sorrow and happiness do not arouse any repulsion or attraction; ksami, who is forgiving, who remains unperturbed even when abused or assaulted;
12.14 Santustah satatam, he who is ever content: who has the sense of contentment irrespective of getting or not getting what is needed for the maintenance of the body; who is similarly ever-satisfied whether he gets or not a good thing. Yogi, who is a yogi, a man of concentrated mind; yata-atma, who has self-control, whose body and organs are under control; drdha-niscayah, who has firm conviction-with regard to the reality of the Self; arpita-mano-buddhih, who has dedicated his mind and intellect; mayi, to Me-(i.e.) a monk whose mind (having hte characteristics of reflection) and intellect (possessed of the faculty of taking decisions) are dedicated to, fixed on, Me alone; sah yah, he who is; such a modbhaktah, devotee of Mine; is priyah, dear; me, to Me. It was hinted in the Seventh Chapter, ‘For I am very much dear to the man of Knowledge, and he too is dear to Me’ (7.17). That is being elaborated here.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
12.13-14 Advesta etc. Santustah etc. [Friend] : he who has friend-liness (or goodwill) i.e. unselfishness. In the same manner ‘compassionate’ [is to be interpreted]. ‘These are mine’ etc., is the sence of ‘mine’ (or sense of possessiveness); ‘I am generous’, ‘I am powerful’, ‘I am victorious’ etc., is the sense of ‘I’ (or egotism). In whom these two are absent that man is free from the senses of ‘mine’ and of ‘I’. Forbearance : a thought that entertains no enmity even towards an enemy who has [actually] injured. A man of Yoga at all times : because his internal organ remains completely quiet even at the stage of his mundane dealings.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca
santuṣṭaḥ satataḿ yogī
yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
adveṣṭā — nonenvious; sarva-bhūtānām — toward all living entities; maitraḥ — friendly; karuṇaḥ — kindly; eva — certainly; ca — also; nirmamaḥ — with no sense of proprietorship; nirahańkāraḥ — without false ego; sama — equal; duḥkha — in distress; sukhaḥ — and happiness; kṣamī — forgiving; santuṣṭaḥ — satisﬁed; satatam — always; yogī — one engaged in devotion; yata-ātmā — self-controlled; dṛḍha-niścayaḥ — with determination; mayi — upon Me; arpita — engaged; manaḥ — mind; buddhiḥ — and intelligence; yaḥ — one who; mat-bhaktaḥ — My devotee; saḥ — he; me — to Me; priyaḥ — dear.