06.32 – Cultivate compassion for the complete being of all living beings
“Aren’t spiritualists self-centered, being concerned only about their own liberation and not about the elevation of others?” Some people get this question when they see spiritualists spending significant time pursuing their personal spiritual realization.
The Bhagavad-gita (06.32) indicates that the topmost yogis are compassionate – they want to share with everyone all the spiritual joys that have enriched their lives. Significantly, this statement comes at the conclusion of the Gita’s description of the process of ashtanga-yoga, wherein the seeker-yogi retreats from the world to a secluded place (06.10) to focus exclusively on spiritual growth. The context of this statement emphasizes that even for those who have renounced the world, the climax of their realization comes when they become concerned about the world.
The yogis’ concern arises naturally and spontaneously when they recognize that we are all spiritually related as members of the trans-universal family of the one Supreme Being Krishna. We naturally feel concerned about the well-being of our brethren. Spiritual realization expands our conception of our brethren to include all living beings. Without such spiritual realization, our concern for others even if sincerely felt and sensitively expressed, still fails to do the best good for them, for we minister only to their bodies and minds, not to their souls. With spiritual realization, our concern encompasses the complete being of all living beings – their bodies, minds and souls.
And bhakti-yoga, which the Gita endorses conclusively, doesn’t ask us to withdraw from the world, but to act in it to fulfill Krishna’s mission of compassion for all living beings. Additionally, bhakti-yoga doesn’t position compassion only at the peak of spiritual realization, but also integrates it into the process, as the Gita (18.68-69) indicates.
Thus the personal spiritual practices don’t diminish, but deepen, the compassion of the seekers.
06.32 – He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all beings, in both their happiness and their distress, O Arjuna!