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Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII Verse 18

Noble indeed are all these, but the wise man I regard as My very Self, for with his mind ever steadfast he is established in Me alone as the Supreme Goal. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII Verse 18)

All are noble. There is no devotee of Mine but is dear to Me. There is, however, this difference: the wise man is the most dear to Me. Why so? Because others still have some ignorance which stands between them and Me, and that prevents the perfect manifestation of My love to them. I love all alike in the sense that My love flows out to all in the same measure. But their imperfection stands between them and my overflowing love. The barrier is in them. When you put a shield between yourself and the fire, its full heat cannot reach you. Remove the shield of ignorance and My full love will embrace you.

Yet it is better to worship the Deity for a selfish end than not to worship Him at all; for the selfish worshipper can at any time become a true worshipper by abandoning his selfish tendencies. In time they all can become jnanis. The wise man is My very Self, not different from Me. He has entered the fire of My divine Being and all that separates man from Me is burned up in his case. He has died in My love (as a great saint expressed it) and all self has passed away. Ever steadfast, the jnani is established in Me. He seeks Me alone. His love for Me is so great, so steady, that he forgets himself and is absorbed in Me. He identifies himself with Me. He knows no difference between us; neither do I. Therefore, our love being mutual, all distinction vanishes.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII Verse 16 – Source - Reflections on the Bhagavad Gita By Swami Atulananda – Prabuddha Bharata August 2003 Issue