Bhagwat Geeta – Chapter 6 – THE YOGA OF MEDITATION


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Summary of Sixth Discourse
Sri Krishna emphasises once again that the Yogi or Sannyasin is one who has renounced the fruits of actions, not the actions themselves. The performance of actions without an eye on their fruits brings about the purification of the mind. Only a purified mind, a mind free from desires, can engage itself in constant meditation on the Atman. Desire gives rise to imagination or Sankalpa, which drives the soul into the field of action. Therefore, none can realise permanent freedom and tranquillity of mind without renouncing desires. The lower self must be controlled by the higher Self. All the lower impulses of the body, mind and senses must be controlled by the power of the higher Self. Then the higher Self becomes one’s friend. He who has perfect control of the body, mind and senses and is united with God, sees God in all objects and beings. He sees inwardly that there is no difference between gold and stone,
between friends and enemies, between the righteous and the unrighteous. He is perfectly harmonised. Sri Krishna proceeds to give various practical hints as to the practice of meditation. The aspirant should select a secluded spot where there is no likelihood of disturbance. He should arrange his meditation seat properly and sit in a comfortable posture, with the head, neck and spine erect but not tensed. He should fix his purified mind on the Atman by concentrating between the eyebrows or on the tip of the nose. The practice of Brahmacharya is absolutely necessary if one is to succeed in meditation. The conservation and transformation of the vital fluid into spiritual energy gives immense power of concentration. Fearlessness, too, is an essential quality on the Godward path. It is faith in the sustaining protection and Grace of God. The aspirant is advised to practise moderation in his daily habits—in eating, sleeping, recreation, etc. Extremes are to be avoided as they hinder the practice of meditation. Living a life of such moderation, and gathering up all his forces and directing them towards meditation upon the Atman, the aspirant gradually transcends the senses and intellect and merges himself in the blissful Atman. He finds that the bliss of the Atman is incomparable, that there is no gain greater than the Self. Having thus attained perfect union with the Self, the Yogi no more descends into ignorance or delusion. He does not relish any more the pleasures of the senses. Lord Krishna again emphasises that the concentration of the mind on the Atman should be like a steady flame in a windless place. This ultimately leads to the vision of the Lord in all beings and creatures. Arjuna is doubtful whether it is at all possible to engage the mind steadily on the higher Self, as its very nature seems to be one of restlessness. Krishna assures him that the practice can succeed through Vairagya (dispassion) and constant effort. Arjuna wishes to know the fate of the aspirant who fails to realise the Supreme in spite of his faith and sincerity. Krishna tells him that the accumulated power of his Yogic practices will assure him a better birth in the future, with more favourable conditions for Sadhana. The aspirant will then be compelled to carry on his Yogic practices with greater vigour and faith and will finally achieve God-realisation. Krishna concludes that the Yogi—one who has attained union with the Supreme Lord—is superior to the ascetics, to the men of book knowledge and the men of action, as the latter have not transcended ignorance and merged in the Self.
The Blessed Lord said:

He who performs his bounden duty without depending on the fruits of his actions—he is a Sannyasin and a Yogi, not he who is without fire and without action. Do thou, O Arjuna, know Yoga to be that which they call renunciation; no one verily becomes a Yogi who has not renounced thoughts!
COMMENTARY:
Lord Krishnaeulogises Karma Yoga here because it is a means or a stepping stone to the Yoga of meditation. In order to encourage the practice of Karma Yoga it is stated here that it isSannyasa. For a sage who wishes toattain to Yoga, action is said to be the means; for the same sage who has attained to Yoga, inaction (quiescence) is said to be the means. When a man is not attached to the sense-objects or to actions, having renounced all thoughts, then he is said to have attained to Yoga. Let a man lift himself by his own Self alone; let him not lower himself, for this self alone is the friend of oneself and this self alone is the enemy of oneself. The self is the friend of the self for him who has conquered himself by the Self, but to the unconquered self, this self stands in the position of an enemy like the (external) foe. The Supreme Self of him who is self-controlled and peaceful is balanced in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, as also in honour and dishonour. The Yogi who is satisfied with the knowledge and the wisdom (of the Self), who has conquered the senses, and to whom a clod of earth, a piece of stone and gold are the same, is said to be harmonised (that is, is said to have attained the state ofNirvikalpa Samadhi). He who is of the same mind to the good-hearted, friends, enemies, the indifferent, the

neutral, the hateful, the relatives, the righteous and the unrighteous, excels. Let the Yogi try constantly to keep the mind steady, remaining in solitude, alone, with the mind and the body controlled, and free from hope and greed. In a clean spot, having established a firm seat of his own, neither too high nor too low, made of a cloth, a skin and kusha grass, one over the other, There, having made the mind one-pointed, with the actions of the mind and the senses controlled, let him, seated on the seat, practise Yoga for the purification of the self. Let him firmly hold his body, head and neck erect and perfectly still, gazing at the tip of
his nose, without looking around. Serene-minded, fearless, firm in the vow of a Brahmachari, having controlled the mind, thinking of Me and balanced in mind, let him sit, having Me as his supreme goal. Thus, always keeping the mind balanced, the Yogi, with the mind controlled, attains to the peace abiding in Me, which culminates in liberation. Naatyashnatastu yogo’sti nachaikaantamanashnatah;
Na chaatiswapnasheelasya jaagrato naiva chaarjuna. Verily Yoga is not possible for him who eats too much, nor for him who does not eat at all; nor for him who sleeps too much, nor for him who is (always) awake, O Arjuna! Yoga becomes the destroyer of pain for him who is always moderate in eating and recreation (such as walking, etc.), who is moderate in exertion in actions, who is moderate in sleep and wakefulness. When the perfectly controlled mind rests in the Self only, free from longing for the objects of desire, then it is said: “He is united.”
COMMENTARY:
Without union with the Self neither harmony nor balance nor Samadhi is possible. As a lamp placed in a windless spot does not flicker—to such is compared the Yogi of controlled mind, practising Yoga in the Self (or absorbed in the Yoga of the Self).
COMMENTARY:
This is a beautiful simile which Yogis often quote when they talk of concentration or one-pointedness of mind. When the mind, restrained by the practice of Yoga, attains to quietude, and when, seeing the Self by the Self, he is satisfied in his own Self, When he (the Yogi) feels that infinite bliss which can be grasped by the (pure) intellect and which transcends the senses, and, established wherein he never moves from the Reality, Which, having obtained, he thinks there is no other gain superior to it; wherein established, he is not moved even by heavy sorrow,— Let that be known by the name of Yoga, the severance from union with pain. This Yoga

should be practised with determination and with an undesponding mind. Abandoning without reserve all the desires born of Sankalpa, and completely restraining the whole group of senses by the mind from all sides,
COMMENTARY:
The mind is so diplomatic that it keeps certain desires for its secret gratification. So one should completely abandon all desires without reservation. Little by little let him attain to quietude by the intellect held firmly; having made the mind establish itself in the Self, let him not think of anything. From whatever cause the restless, unsteady mind wanders away, from that let him restrain it and bring it under the control of the Self alone. Supreme bliss verily comes to this Yogi whose mind is quite peaceful, whose passion is
quieted, who has become Brahman, and who is free from sin. The Yogi, always engaging the mind thus (in the practice of Yoga), freed from sins, easily enjoys the infinite bliss of contact with Brahman (the Eternal). With the mind harmonised by Yoga he sees the Self abiding in all beings and all beings in the Self; he sees the same everywhere. He who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, he does not become separated from Me nor do I become separated from him.
COMMENTARY:
The Lord describes here the effect of oneness. He who, being established in unity, worships Me who dwells in all beings,—that Yogi
abides in Me, whatever may be his mode of living. He who, through the likeness of the Self, O Arjuna, sees equality everywhere, be it
pleasure or pain, he is regarded as the highest Yogi!

Arjuna said:

This Yoga of equanimity taught by Thee, O Krishna, I do not see its steady continuance, because of restlessness (of the mind)! The mind verily is restless, turbulent, strong and unyielding, O Krishna! I deem it as difficult to control as to control the wind.
COMMENTARY:
The mind ever changes its point of concentration from one object to another. So it is always restless. It is not only restless but also turbulent and impetuous, strong and obstinate. It produces agitation in the body and in the senses. That is why the mind is even more
difficult to control than to control the wind.
The Blessed Lord said:
Undoubtedly, O mighty-armed Arjuna, the mind is difficult to control and restless; but, by practice and by dispassion it may be restrained! I think that Yoga is hard to be attained by one of uncontrolled self, but the self~controlled and striving one attains to it by the (proper) means.
Arjuna said:

He who is unable to control himself though he has the faith, and whose mind wanders away from Yoga, what end does he meet, having failed to attain perfection in Yoga, O Krishna? Fallen from both, does he not perish like a rent cloud, supportless, O mighty-armed
(Krishna), deluded on the path of Brahman? This doubt of mine, O Krishna, do Thou completely dispel, because it is not possible for
any but Thee to dispel this doubt.
COMMENTARY:
There is no better teacher than the Lord Himself as He is omniscient.
The Blessed Lord said:
O Arjuna, neither in this world, nor in the next world is there destruction for him; none, verily, who does good, O My son, ever comes to grief! Having attained to the worlds of the righteous and, having dwelt there for everlasting years, he who fell from Yoga is reborn in the house of the pure and wealthy. Or he is born in a family of even the wise Yogis; verily a birth like this is very difficult to obtain in this world. There he comes in touch with the knowledge acquired in his former body and strives more than before for perfection, O Arjuna! By that very former practice he is borne on in spite of himself. Even he who merely wishes to know Yoga transcends the Brahmic word.
COMMENTARY:
One who had fallen from Yoga is carried to the goal (which he intended to reach in his previous birth), by the force of the impressions of his past Yogic practices, though he may be unconscious of it and may not be willing to adopt the course of Yogic discipline due to the force of some evil Karma. But, the Yogi who strives with assiduity, purified of sins and perfected gradually through many births, reaches the highest goal. The Yogi is thought to be superior to the ascetics and even superior to men of knowledge (obtained through the study of scriptures); he is also superior to men of action; therefore, be thou a Yogi, O Arjuna! And among all the Yogis, he who, full of faith and with his inner self merged in Me, worships Me, he is deemed by Me to be the most devout.
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the sixth discourse entitled:
“The Yoga of Meditation”

Bhagwat Geeta – Chapter – 5 – THE YOGA OF RENUNCIATION OF ACTION


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In spite of Sri Krishna’s clear instructions, Arjuna still seems to be bewildered. He wants to know conclusively which is superior, the path of action or the path of renunciation of action. The Lord says that both the paths lead to the highest goal of God-realisation. In both cases the final realisation of the Atman is the aim, but the path of Karma Yoga is superior. Actually there is no real difference between the two. Krishna further asserts that perfection can be attained and one can be established in the Atman only after the mind has been purified through the performance of selfless action. The Karma Yogi who is aware of the Atman and who is constantly engaged in action knows that although the intellect, mind and senses are active, he does not do anything. He is a spectator of everything. He dedicates all his actions to the Lord and thus abandons attachment, ever remaining pure and unaffected. He surrenders himself completely to the Divine Shakti. Having completely rooted out all desires, attachments and the ego, he is not born again. The sage who has realised Brahman and is always absorbed in It does not have any rebirth. Such a sage sees Brahman within and without—within as the static and transcendent Brahman, and without as the entire universe. He sees the one Self in all beings and creatures—in a cow, an elephant, and even in a dog and an outcaste. He is ever free from joy and grief and enjoys eternal peace and happiness. He does not depend upon the senses for his satisfaction. On the other hand the enjoyments of the senses are generators of pain. They are impermanent. Sri Krishna reminds Arjuna that desire is the main cause of pain and suffering. It is the cause of anger. Therefore, the aspirant should try to eradicate desire and anger if he is to reach the Supreme. The Lord concludes by describing how to control the senses, mind and intellect by concentrating between the eyebrows and practising Pranayama. One who has achieved perfect control of the outgoing senses and is freed from desire, anger and fear attains liberation and enjoys perfect peace.
Arjuna said:
Renunciation of actions, O Krishna, Thou praisest, and again Yoga! Tell me conclusively which is the better of the two.
The Blessed Lord said:
Renunciation and the Yoga of action both lead to the highest bliss; but of the two, the Yoga of action is superior to the renunciation of action. He should be known as a perpetual Sannyasin who neither hates nor desires; for, free from the pairs of opposites, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he is easily set free from bondage!
COMMENTARY:
A man does not become a Sannyasin by merely giving up actions due to laziness, ignorance, some family quarrel or calamity or unemployment. A true Sannyasin is one who has neither attachment nor aversion to anything. Physical renunciation of objects is no
renunciation at all. What is wanted is the renunciation of egoism and desires. Children, not the wise, speak of knowledge and the Yoga of action or the performance of action as though they are distinct and different; he who is truly established in one obtains the fruits

of both. That place which is reached by the Sankhyas or the Jnanis is reached by the (Karma) Yogis. He sees who sees knowledge and the performance of action (Karma Yoga) as one. But renunciation, O mighty-armed Arjuna, is hard to attain without Yoga; the

Yoga-harmonised sage proceeds quickly to Brahman! He who is devoted to the path of action, whose mind is quite pure, who has conquered the self, who has subdued his senses and who has realised his Self as the Self in all beings, though acting, he is not tainted.
“I do nothing at all”—thus will the harmonised knower of Truth think—seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing, Speaking, letting go, seizing, opening and closing the eyes—convinced that the senses move among the sense-objects.
COMMENTARY:

The liberated sage always remains as a witness of the activities of the senses as he identifies himself with the Self. He who performs actions, offering them to Brahman and abandoning attachment, is not tainted by sin as a lotus leaf by water. Yogis, having abandoned attachment, perform actions only by the body, mind, intellect and also by the senses, for the purification of the self. The united one (the well poised or the harmonised), having abandoned the fruit of action, attains to the eternal peace; the non-united only (the unsteady or the unbalanced), impelled by desire and attached to the fruit, is bound. Mentally renouncing all actions and self-controlled, the embodied one rests happily in the nine-gated city, neither acting nor causing others (body and senses) to act. Neither agency nor actions does the Lord create for the world, nor union with the fruits of actions; it is Nature that acts. The Lord accepts neither the demerit nor even the merit of any; knowledge is enveloped by ignorance, thereby beings are deluded. But, to those whose ignorance is destroyed by knowledge of the Self, like the sun, knowledge reveals the Supreme (Brahman). Their intellect absorbed in That, their self being That; established in That, with That as their supreme goal, they go whence there is no return, their sins dispelled by knowledge. Sages look with an equal eye on a Brahmin endowed with learning and humility, on a cow, on an elephant, and even on a dog and an outcaste. Even here (in this world) birth (everything) is overcome by those whose minds rest in

equality; Brahman is spotless indeed and equal; therefore, they are established in Brahman. Resting in Brahman, with steady intellect, undeluded, the knower of Brahman neither rejoiceth on obtaining what is pleasant nor grieveth on obtaining what is unpleasant. With the self unattached to the external contacts he discovers happiness in the Self; with the self engaged in the meditation of Brahman he attains to the endless happiness. The enjoyments that are born of contacts are generators of pain only, for they have a beginning and an end, O Arjuna! The wise do not rejoice in them. He who is able, while still here in this world to withstand, before the liberation from the body, the impulse born of desire and anger—he is a Yogi, he is a happy man. He who is ever happy within, who rejoices within, who is illumined within, such a Yogi attains absolute freedom or Moksha, himself becoming Brahman. The sages obtain absolute freedom or Moksha—they whose sins have been destroyed, whose dualities (perception of dualities or experience of the pairs of opposites) are torn asunder, who are self-controlled, and intent on the welfare of all beings. Absolute freedom (or Brahmic bliss) exists on all sides for those self-controlled ascetics who are free from desire and anger, who have controlled their thoughts and who have realised the Self. Shutting out (all) external contacts and fixing the gaze between the eyebrows, equalising

the outgoing and incoming breaths moving within the nostrils, With the senses, the mind and the intellect always controlled, having liberation as his supreme goal, free from desire, fear and anger—the sage is verily liberated for ever. He who knows Me as the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, the great Lord of all the worlds and the friend of all beings, attains to peace.
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna ends the fifth discourse entitled:
“The Yoga of Renunciation of Action”