Swami Satyananda Saraswati

The last eight slokas of Chapter 12 comprise the very essence of bhakti and a bhakta. There is a general understanding that bhakti is necessarily associated with an ecstatic trance and hysterical singing of kirtan in a loud voice. However, you will find that in the last eight slokas the life of a bhakta is guided by practical actions of responsibility, nobility, grace and dignity. It is not only the singing and repeating of God’s name which is the decisive factor in the life of a bhakta, but it is his behaviour, qualities and action in relation to other beings which finally decide the issue.

I call these eight slokas (12:13-20) amritashataka. Amrit means nectar, and ashtaka is a group of eight.

That bhakta of Mine who is non-jealous, a friend of all beings, without notion of mineness, free from ego, balanced in pain and pleasure and tolerant;

Continuously contented and in communion with cosmic consciousness, self-controlled and firmly determined, dedicated to Me in mind and intellect, is dear to me. (13-14)

These two slokas are revelations to Arjuna that a devotee of God, who is full of the qualities given, is dear to Him. By this we understand that a bhakta has got to be much more than a lover of God.