At the starting of 12th chapter of Bhagavad Geeta, Arjuna asked:

एवं सततयुक्ता ये भक्तास्त्वां पर्युपासते ।
ये चाप्यक्षरमव्यक्तं तेषां के योगवित्तमाः ॥

English translation (from vedabase):

Arjuna inquired: Which are considered to be more perfect, those who are always properly engaged in Your devotional service or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?

Krishna replied:

मय्यावेश्य मनो ये मां नित्ययुक्ता उपासते ।
श्रद्धया परयोपेतास्ते मे युक्ततमा मताः ॥

English translation:

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Those who fix their minds on My personal form and are always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith are considered by Me to be most perfect.

So, I want to know why Krishna considers worshipping as sagun superior than worshipping as nirguna? though both attain the god (BG 12.3-4)

  • you cannot worship Nirguna Brahman, you can only worship Saguna Brahman. Remember that Saguna and Nirguna are the same - Saguna is Nirguna when seen through maya. Apr 21, 2016 at 10:10
  • Well, one simple answer to that question would be that Brahman in the form of the Supreme Person or God, Lord Krishna, is superior to impersonal Brahman. Btw, terms saguna and nirguna do not appear in the text. And that would be Vaishnava understanding of the text. Apr 23, 2016 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


Good question. This love of Lord for His Saguna worshippers is discussed in verse 6.47 also. There should not be a question of which is better as Lord Himself declares that both attain the God in verse 12.4. Following is an attempt to write an answer without showing disrespect to any of them.

Saguna: Worship of all-inclusive God

Sri Krsna has declared in verse 7.30

Those in full consciousness of Me, who know Me, the Supreme Lord, to be the governing principle of the material manifestation, of the demigods, and of all methods of sacrifice, can understand and know Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even at the time of death.

So as per the Lord, He (Saguna Krsna) is the one who governs material world, celestial world, all methods of sacrifice and actions. His Saguna form is the all-inclusive God including Brahman, jeeva, actions and everything. And Saguna worshippers worship this all-inclusive form of God as they believe that it is God who has become everything. And knowing that Nirguna worshippers worship the Brahman and deny the rest, it can be said that Nirguna worship is worship of a part of all-inclusive God and Saguna worship is the worship of the all-inclusive God.

Devotion: Essence of all paths

How can one be determined to become a Karma-Yogi or a Jnana-Yogi if one has not felt the attraction of doing selfless service or living devoid of all boundations? This attraction of attainment of the highest is the driving force in every path. Devotion is nothing but intensified form of this attraction directed to God! Therefore, Devotion is the essence of each and every path.

Devotion and Discrimination

Worshippers of Nirguna follow the path of Discrimination while that of Saguna follow the path of Devotion. Nirguna worshippers discriminate between God and non-God. They practice dispassion for non-God part of the universe. But Saguna worshippers know only of devotion. They practice seeing God everywhere, there is no such thing as non-God for them; hence Devotion is more embracing and welcoming than Discrimination.

Love surpasses all

And it is Devotion, and not Knowledge, that is the delight of the all-delightful Lord. It is Love the force of which even the almighty Lord cannot resist. Nirguna worshippers have attainment of salvation as their aim. And Love is a divine stage even ahead of salvation. It is beyond salvation, enlightenment, self-knowledge and everything. Sri Ramakrishna would often sing a song describing the glory of Love here

Master sang: Though I am never loath to grant salvation, I hesitate indeed to grant pure love. Whoever wins pure love surpasses all;

Glory of pure love is unlimited. Sri Ramacharitamanas also discusses this here:

Love alone attracts Sri Råma; let those who are curious take note of it.

And here are the words of Sri Rama on love and knowledge:

It is an easy and pleasant road, brethren, that of devotion to My feet, extolled in the Puråƒas and Vedas. Gnosis is difficult to attain and beset with numerous obstacles. The path is rugged and there is no solid ground for the mind to rest on. Scarcely one attains it after a hard struggle; yet, lacking in Devotion, the man fails to win My love.

Again, this is a very good question and even a book would be shorter for a proper answer to this. This is all I could attempt.



  1. Two students, 'A' & 'B' are studying under a very genuine Guru 'G'. Due to their upbringing, 'A' trusts the things easily, while 'B' demands lot of time & questions to trust something. One day 'G' imparts an important lesson. Due to inherent faith in 'G', 'A' starts believing straight away, while 'B' does counter questions, does his own research and goes till the root of that teaching.

  2. Husband-Wife, 'H' & 'W' were very loving. Due to some misunderstanding, they got separated and are staying in different cities. After a while, 'H' sees no point in separation and decides to reconcile by offering apology over the phone. 'W' insists that the forgiveness will be granted only if 'H' asks for it in person by meeting.

As seen in the 1st analogy, due to faith, for 'A' the words of 'G' are enough. 'A' implements the lesson quickly. While 'B' has his own set of questions & analysis on the way. Until those things are answered, 'B' cannot genuinely follow the teachings. After all the verification, 'B' accepts the lesson from 'G'. Both 'A' and 'B' are right in their own ways.

In 2nd analogy, 'W' could have accepted efforts of 'H' just by hearing his voice. Things would have mended easily & bring the life on track. Right decision by 'W'. However, she demands 'H' to visit personally to her. She is still right. Because she doesn't want any stone to be unturned & make sure that the reunion is really sincere.

Above analogies explain the similar situation of why "formful" has upper hand over "formless". Both, "believers" and "disbelievers" are right. "Believers of form" attain the supreme quickly due to easy surrender and "Non believers of form" naturally take time to surrender to supreme.


Krishna refers 'I/Me' as the supreme nature [of Brahman]. The true nature of "I/Me" is "unmanifested / formless". But it's not any ordinary "unmanifested". It can neither be thought (chintan) nor be described (being). In a way, this "formless" is beyond whatever "formeless" one can imagine.

BG 2.25 - 'That' is said to be unmanifest, unthinkable, non-distortable. Hence knowing 'that' thus, you shouldn't grieve.

BG 8.20 - But beyond that "unmanifested", there is another eternal "unmanifested" nature; That which doesn't get destroyed, when all beings are destroyed.

BG 13.13 - I shall speak of that which is knowable. Knowing which, one attains immortality. The supreme Brahman (god) dwelling under Me, is beginningless. 'That' is said to be neither existent nor non-existent. (existent = being)

Now, relate the believers of "formless" with above analogies. These "formless believers:

  • Either like 'B' with full of doubts, they go into the minutest detail to understand "formless 'Me'"
  • Or like stringent 'W', they want to realize "formless 'Me'" by personal visit!

Hence, Don't question 'My' identity too much. Attain 'Me' by trusting my representatives ("forms").

Where are those representatives?
"I" is purely "Nothing"-ness. But to conceive it, Gita chapter 10 is dedicated to I's representative forms. However if still none of them impresses, then whatever impresses, is 'My' form only. Because 'I' is everywhere.

BG 10.41 — Whichever influential excellence(Sattva) [entity] certainly has prosperity(Shrimad) or energy(Urjita); those you know to be possible as part of 'My' aura only.

If "Nothing" impresses, that means only "I" impresses ("I" = "Nothing"-ness). :-) That's still fine, but that path is painful & time consuming. We ourselves are "forms" (i.e. embodied) of 3 modes and with our forms, we can understand other "forms [of god]" better than complete "formless" which is even beyond thinkable "formless".
Exact answer to your question is replied by Krishna as below:

BG 12.4 - For them who have mind attached to the Unmanifested the struggle is greater; For embodied [beings], the destination to unmanifested is painful.

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