Verse 4.9: One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.
"Stop the world, I want to get off!" It's a thought that crosses my mind often. Normally this occurs when I'm experiencing a sense of frustration and disappointment with living life in this material world. To all those who are trying to practice the path of bhakti yoga, a word to the wise. Don't despair when encountering this since it can actually help you!
Although bhakti is about experiencing the positive, in order to do so, we must leave those things that hinder us behind.
Or in other words, the loss and emptiness that we may experience actually serves to help us if we look deeper than what meets the eye or emotion. It signifies that we deserve more than what this material world promises us and that we are the proverbial fish out of water.
We are eternal beings who are sojourning through this world. The soul is seeking permanency and shelter - a true home. Encased in this material body, we try to do our best to make our bodies our home to no avail. After all, ever body undergoes birth, death, disease and old age. So how does one get out and find their true home?
This verse gives the yoga seeker the "path to freedom". The Gita is teaching that by understanding the world of transcendence and the soul's connection with the Divine, just by remembering that at the time of death, one escapes the cycle of birth and death. It's a simple as that.
Although it sounds simple, it takes practice. After all, thinking of the Divine isn't as easy as turning a light switch off and on. Our minds are constantly filled with numerous thoughts and often they are the same ones running through over and over and over again. That is why the key practice in bhakti yoga is that of mantra meditation.
Sound has such a powerful effect and by repeating the maha mantra daily, it starts to remove the layers of dust off of our soul. That dust which has accumulated from numerous births is what prevents us from realizing that we are the soul and not this body.
In tandem with practicing mantra meditation, hearing and reading about the Divine fills one's thought with remembrance. By nature we are curious about others and so we can engage that natural propensity to learn more about the one who we've forgotten.
That's why the practice of bhakti yoga is so simple and joyful. It's about engaging our normal tendencies of hearing, talking and remembering and centering it around a focus point: the Divine. Just by doing that, we can leave this world of temporality behind and experience true eternality, knowledge and bliss.