yo māḿ smarati nityaśaḥ
tasyāhaḿ su-labhaḥ pārtha
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 8.14
For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pritha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
This verse especially describes the final destination attained by the unalloyed devotees who serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead in bhakti-yoga. Previous verses have mentioned four different kinds of devotees—the distressed, the inquisitive, those who seek material gain, and the speculative philosophers. Different processes of liberation have also been described: karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and hatha-yoga. The principles of these yoga systems have some bhakti added, but this verse particularly mentions pure bhakti-yoga, without any mixture of jnana, karma or hatha. As indicated by the word ananya-cetah, in pure bhakti-yoga the devotee desires nothing but Krishna. A pure devotee does not desire promotion to heavenly planets, nor does he seek oneness with the brahmajyoti or salvation or liberation from material entanglement. A pure devotee does not desire anything. In the Caitanya-caritamrita the pure devotee is called niskama, which means he has no desire for self-interest. Perfect peace belongs to him alone, not to them who strive for personal gain. Whereas a jnana-yogi, karma-yogi or hatha-yogi has his own selfish interests, a perfect devotee has no desire other than to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Lord says that for anyone who is unflinchingly devoted to Him, He is easy to attain.
A pure devotee always engages in devotional service to Krishna in one of His various personal features. Krishna has various plenary expansions and incarnations, such as Rama and Nrisimha, and a devotee can choose to fix his mind in loving service to any of these transcendental forms of the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee meets with none of the problems that plague the practitioners of other yogas. Bhakti-yoga is very simple and pure and easy to perform. One can begin simply by chanting Hare Krishna. The Lord is merciful to all, but as we have already explained, He is especially inclined toward those who always serve Him without deviation. The Lord helps such devotees in various ways. As stated in the Vedas (Katha Upanishad 1.2.23), yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas/ tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam: one who is fully surrendered and engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord can understand the Supreme Lord as He is. And as stated in Bhagavad-gita (10.10), dadami buddhi-yogam tam: the Lord gives such a devotee sufficient intelligence so that ultimately the devotee can attain Him in His spiritual kingdom.
The special qualification of the pure devotee is that he is always thinking of Krishna without deviation and without considering the time or place. There should be no impediments. He should be able to carry out his service anywhere and at any time. Some say that the devotee should remain in holy places like Vrindavana or some holy town where the Lord lived, but a pure devotee can live anywhere and create the atmosphere of Vrindavana by his devotional service. It was Sri Advaita who told Lord Caitanya, “Wherever You are, O Lord—there is Vrindavana.”
As indicated by the words satatam and nityasah, which mean “always,” “regularly,” or “every day,” a pure devotee constantly remembers Krishna and meditates upon Him. These are qualifications of the pure devotee for whom the Lord is most easily attainable. Bhakti-yoga is the system that the Gita recommends above all others. Generally, the bhakti-yogis are engaged in five different ways: (1) santa-bhakta, engaged in devotional service in neutrality; (2) dasya-bhakta, engaged in devotional service as servant; (3) sakhya-bhakta, engaged as friend; (4) vatsalya-bhakta, engaged as parent; and (5) madhurya-bhakta, engaged as conjugal lover of the Supreme Lord. In any of these ways, the pure devotee is always constantly engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Supreme Lord and cannot forget the Supreme Lord, and so for him the Lord is easily attained. A pure devotee cannot forget the Supreme Lord for a moment, and similarly the Supreme Lord cannot forget His pure devotee for a moment. This is the great blessing of the Krishna conscious process of chanting the maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Having spoken of pradhani bhuta bhakti, bhakti mixed with karma, mentioned in arto jijnasur artharthi (BG 7.16), and with desire for liberation in jara marana moksaya (BG 7.29), and also bhakti mixed with yoga in this chapter (verse 9-13), now the Lord speaks of kevala bhakti, the best bhakti, devoid of any material tinge. The mind of that devotee is free from performing other process of karma or jnana yoga, free from worship of the Persons or devatas, and free from other goals, such as attainment of svarga or moksa. Thus he is called ananya cetah, with mind not thinking anything else except the Lord. He remembers me every day, (nityasah), constantly (satatam), not depending upon appropriate time, place, person, or purity. I can be easily attained (sulabhah) by that person, by that bhakti. It is not mixed with the difficulties encountered in practicing yoga or jnana or other processes. He constantly desires association with me (nitya yuktasya). This grammatical form expresses desire in the past as well as the future. Yoginah here refers to the person doing bhakti yoga. Or it can mean a person who has a relationship (yoga) with the Lord, in dasya, sakhya or other relationships.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
8.14 I am easy to access to that Yogin who is ‘ever integrated with Me,’ i.e., who wants constant contact with Me, who recollects Me; and whose mind is not in ‘anything else without break’ (Nityasah), i.e., at the time of meditation and also during all other times (Satatam). As I am exceedingly dear to him, he is unable to sustain himself without remembering Me and cherishing My memory which is incomparably dear to him. I am the only object he wants to attain and not any mode of My being like sovereignty, etc. I Myself grant him the capacity to attain full maturity in devotional practice necessary for attaining Me — namely, the annulment of all obstacles and the establishment of the state of mind that renders Me exceedingly dear to oneself. The Sruti also says: ‘He whom this (Self) chooses, by him He can be obtained’ (Mun. U., 3.2.3 and Ka. U., 2.22). And Sri Krsna Himself will teach: “To those, ceaselessly united, who worship Me, I bestow that discernment by which they come to Me. Out of mercy for them, I, abiding in their heart, dispel the darkness born of ignorance, by the brilliant lamp of knowledge” (10.10;11). In the remaining part of this chapter, He teaches that the Jnanis and the aspirants after Kaivalya do not deturn, and that the seekers after power and prosperity return.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Attaining the Supreme Lord Krishna by meditation in this manner at the time of death is only possible if there was diligent practice on a daily basis throughout one’s life and by no other means can it be made possible. The words nitya-yuktasya mean unwaveringly engaged. To the enlightened and self realised yogi or one perfected in the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness whose mind is unwaveringly focused upon the Supreme Lord continuously without cessation relishing and remembering His rupa or form, His guna qualities and His lilas or divine pastimes every day then He is very easily accessible but those who do not He is not easily accessible.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Ever situated in equanimity is the one who constantly endeavors. Such a yogi or one perfected in the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness is always fully cognizant in equanimity.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Thus Lord Krishna described the final departure of the body by a normal aspirant at the time of death. Now He will discourse about the final departure of the yogi or one perfected in the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness, who is His exclusive devotee. He asserts this with the words ananya-cetasa meaning with fixed consciousness. What does this mean? It means undivided attention to the rupa or form, guna or qualities, lilas or divine pastimes etc. Although these attributes are beyond the reach and scope of non-devotees; for His surrendered devotees He, Himself is not able to behold His devotees pangs of separation from Him and thus Lord Krishna is incapable of being separated from them due to the fact that He is totally attached to their feelings of deep love for Him in vatsalya rasa or parental affection, sakhya rasa or affectionate friendship, etc. So the yogi who has achieved such an exalted state internally who is always thinking of Him who is always expressing devotion to Him with consciousness unwavering from Him. Such a person is equally as dear to Him and thus very easily is able to have regular communion with the Supreme Lord.
This verse also infers that He is not easily accessible to those who are not His devotee even if thy have dedicated their lives to performing different yoga practices. The reason for this being is that Lord Krishna’s transcendental nature is such that He can only be accessed by exclusive devotion and by no other way. Various Vedic scriptures confirm that only by by bhakti or loving devotion can the Supreme Lord by revealed. The Katha Upanisad I.II.VII states: The Supreme Lord is He whom, even when heard is not known without loving devotion. The Katha Upanisad I.II.XXIII states: The Supreme Lord is not to be attained by instruction, nor by intellect, nor by instruction. He is attained only by one whom He has chosen and only to such a one does He reveals Himself. So it is absolute that only bhakti can attract Him and only bhakti can reveal Him. So bhakti is the best.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
8.14 Partha, O son of Prtha, tasya yoginah, to that yogi; nitya-yuktasya, of constant concentration, who is ever absorbed (in God); and ananya-cetah, of single-minded attention, a yogi whose mind is not drawn to any other object; yah, who; smarati, remembers; mam, Me, the supreme God; satatam, uninteruptedly; and nityasah, for long-. By satatam, uninterrupteldy, is meant ‘without any break’. By niryasah, is meant along duration. Not six months, nor even a year! What then? The meaning is: He who remembers Me for his whole life, continuously. To that yogi aham, I; am sulabhah, easy of attainment. Since this is so, therefore one should remain ever absorbed in Me, with mind given to nothing else. ‘What follows from Your being easy of attainment?’ This is being answered: ‘Hear what follows from My being easy of attainment.’
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
8.12-14 Sarvadvarani etc., upto Yoginah. The gates : the sense organs, like the eyes and not the place of excrement etc. Restraining the mind in the heart : By this, only the absence of attachment towards the objects, and not any seat, is stated. One’s own Prana : the driver of one’s own Self (the vital air). So, the meaning is ‘Fixing this Prana in the head i.e., the very Self with the Power-of-Will, lying beyond all categories. Thus the controlling of body [has been prescribed]. Reciting Om : This denotes the act of controlling the sense of speech. Meditating on Me : It signifies the non-wandering of the mind over other objects. Whosoever travels well : Whosoever travels day after day not to return back (i.e., for final emancipation). Therefore casting away the body i.e., longing ‘How to avoid taking once again the body, a repository of all troubles’, whosoever remembers Me always with his mind, that thinks nothingelse-he reaches Me i.e., he realises My state. Really the Sage (Vyasa) does not favour [the idea of] upward flight [of the Soul from the body] that may go against the pronounced intention of [attaining] total identity with the Absolute Brahman that admits no duality. Therefore it has been said : ‘If the Siva-existence (the Absolute State) is Omnipresent, then the upward flight serves no purpose indeed. On the othe hand, if Siva (the Absolute) is not Omnipresent then the upward flight cannot yield Siva (the Auspicious one, the Absolute)’. Alternately [the Gita passage may be interpreted as :] If some persons have not undergone the process of constant practice, yet at the time of death there arises [in them] – due to some undefinable reason, like the Free Will of the Lord and the like-a condition, similar to the one mentioned above, then [in the case of those persons] this condition itself – characterised as ‘the flight from the body’ (getting oneself disassociated from the body) – is stated [by the Sage] as a means obstructing all the other potential mental impressions. That is why in the passage starting ‘That unchanging one which the Veda-knowers speek of’ and ending ‘I shall tell you that’, [the Sage] has made a solemn declaration in order to explain the astonishing nature of the reflection on the Bhagavat – even though it lasts only a moment – marked by the destruction of all the [other] potential mental impressions. Hence the great teachers also say : ‘O Sambhu ! If You could set Your foot, atleast for the duration of a single winking of the eye, in [my] blemishless mind, what else would You not accomplish [for me]’. That is why, with a view to satisfy those who raise the question ‘But the breaking [of body of the wise] has been found without remembrance [of the Lord] at the time of departure’, here it is said ‘He who [remembers Me] constantly with the mind, not attached to any other thing.’ The meaning of it is : ‘He whose mind is not attached to any other result to be achieved.’ For him I am easy to attain : For him there is no need to undertake the trouble of searching for a suitable time for departure; making pilgrimage to sacred places; [waiting for] the time of the summer solastice; taking shelter in the temples; augmenting the [Strand] Sattva; remaining absorbed in the thought [of the Lord]; [expecting] the auspicious moment of equinox and of the day [time]; selecting a locality that is naturally pure; having body free from dirt of attachment (or unguent); wearing clean cloth; and similar other ones. Hence it has been stated earlier [under VIII, 5-7 above] ‘Either in a sacred place or in the house of a dog-cooker’ etc. But it has been declared that ‘He attains My State.’ Will there he rebirth for him even after attaining that State ? Considering this doubt [the Lord] says :
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
yo mam smarati nityasah
tasyaham su-labhah partha
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
ananya-cetāḥ — without deviation of the mind; satatam — always; yaḥ — anyone who; mām — Me (Kṛṣṇa); smarati — remembers; nityaśaḥ — regularly; tasya — to him; aham — I am; su-labhaḥ — very easy to achieve; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; nitya — regularly; yuktasya — engaged; yoginaḥ — for the devotee.