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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 12 Verse 5

Greater is their trouble whose minds are set on the Unmanifest, for the Unmanifest is a goal very hard to attain for the embodied (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 12 Verse 5).

We see from the context that the bhakta and the jnani reach the same goal, and therefore the one is not superior to the other. What is meant when Sri Krishna calls the worshippers of the qualified Brahman the best versed in yoga is that they have chosen the easier path. Great indeed is the trouble of those who are engaged in doing work for My sake, but greater still is the difficulty of those who identify themselves with the Absolute, with those who contemplate the supreme Reality. Why is it so? Because they must abandon all attachment to the body.

The path of the jnani is almost insurmountable, and the reason is that we are embodied. We live in a body; we are closely connected with it, bound up with it, attached to it. Nay, we identify ourselves with it. All these wrong attitudes towards the body have to change. Our fear of losing it, our love for and attachment to it, must go. The jnani has to cut down all body-ideas; he has to forget the body. He must live in the Spirit. Jnana means identifying the soul with God, not with the body and ego.

There is no room for the body-idea. ‘So’ ham, ‘so’ ham; I am the Spirit, I am the Spirit -  that is his constant meditation. It is his business to forget the body in constant remembrance of his divine nature. In difference towards the body, denying the body-idea, and identification with the Spirit – that is very difficult. It goes straight against nature. It is rowing against the tide. And only the strong are able to succeed. Only those who have a steady and powerful stroke can swim against the current.

Only the spiritually strong can realize the attributeless divine essence. Only they will be able to attain an unbroken perception of the mysterious identity between the individual and the universal Spirit. The great difficulty lies in the abandonment of the identification of the soul with the body. The jnani must remember always that he is the Atman, beyond pleasure, beyond pain, beyond want of any kind, beyond health and disease, poverty and prosperity. He severs connection with all these conditions. When he has reached that state, then, though living in a body, he is beyond embodiment. Still in the body, he is free from it. To him the body has become like a shadow. He is free from fear, shame, passion, and all other bodily desires. Worldly existence appears to him like a dream. He is no longer frightened by the imaginary serpent; he sees the rope. He realizes that the wave and the foam and the bubble are in reality nothing but water. And so the body and all manifestation is only Consciousness, the one pure Consciousness, beyond mind and speech. He is no longer drunk with the wine of maya.

Later on Sri Krishna will describe the conduct of the jnanis; but first He posits the path of salvation through the worship of Ishvara, the Personal God.