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 4 – “The Yoga of Wisdom”


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Lord Krishna declares that He is born from age to age, in order to raise man and take him to the Supreme. Whenever there is a  prevalence of unrighteousness and the world is ruled by the forces of darkness, the Lord manifests Himself to destroy these adverse forces and to establish peace, order and harmony. Hence we see the appearance of the great saviours of the world. What is the secret of Yogic action? This the Lord proceeds to explain to Arjuna. Even though one is not engaged in action, but if the mind is active with the idea of doership and egoism, then it is action in inaction. On the other hand, though engaged physically in intense action, if the idea of agency is absent, if one feels that Prakriti does everything, it is inaction in action. The liberated man is free from attachment and is always calm and serene though engaged in ceaseless action. He is unaffected by the pairs of opposites like joy and grief, success and failure. One who has true union with the Lord is not subject to rebirth. He attains immortality. Such a union can only be achieved when one is free from attachment, fear and anger, being thoroughly purified by right knowledge.
The Lord accepts the devotion of all, whatever path they may use to approach Him. Various kinds of sacrifices are performed by those engaged in the path to God. Through the practice of these sacrifices the mind is purified and led Godward. Here also there must be the spirit of non-attachment to the fruits of actions. Divine wisdom, according to Sri Krishna, should be sought at the feet of a liberated Guru, one who has realised the Truth. The aspirant should approach such a sage in a spirit of humility and devotion. God Himself manifests in the heart of the Guru and instructs the disciple. Having understood the Truth from the Guru by direct intuitive experience the aspirant is no longer deluded
by ignorance. The liberated aspirant directly beholds the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self. Hecognises through internal experience or intuition that all beings, from the Creator down to a blade of grass, exist in his own Self and also in God. Arjuna is given the most heartening assurance that divine wisdom liberates even the most sinful. When knowledge of the Self dawns, all actions with their results are burnt by the fire of that knowledge, just as fuel is burnt by fire. When there is no idea of egoism, when there is no desire for the fruits of one’s actions, actions are no actions.
They lose their potency. In order to attain divine wisdom one must have supreme faith and devotion. Faith is therefore the most important qualification for a spiritual aspirant. The doubting mind is always led astray from the right path. Faith ultimately confers divine knowledge, which removes ignorance once and for all. Mere intellectual knowledge does not lead to liberation. It cannot grant one supreme peace and freedom. When one has achieved complete self-mastery and self-control, when one has intense faith and devotion, then true knowledge dawns within and one attains liberation and freedom from all weaknesses and sins. The Lord concludes by emphasising that the soul that doubts goes to destruction. Without faith in oneself, in the scriptures and in the words of the preceptor, one cannot make any headway on the spiritual path. It is doubt that prevents one from engaging in spiritual Sadhana and realising the highest knowledge and bliss. By following the instructions of the Guru and through sincere service, one’s doubts are rent asunder and divine knowledge manifests itself within. Spiritual progress then goes on at a rapid pace.

The Blessed Lord said:
I taught this imperishable Yoga to Vivasvan; he told it to Manu; Manu proclaimed it to This, handed down thus in regular succession, the royal sages knew. This Yoga, by a long lapse of time, has been lost here, O Parantapa (burner of foes)!
COMMENTARY:
The royal sages were kings who at the same time possessed divine knowledge. They learnt this Yoga. That same ancient Yoga has been today taught to thee by Me, for, thou art My devotee and friend; it is the supreme secret.
COMMENTARY:
This ancient Yoga consists of profound and subtle teachings. Hence it is the supreme secret which the Lord reveals to Arjuna.
Arjuna said:
Later on was Thy birth, and prior to it was the birth of Vivasvan (the Sun); how am I to understand that Thou didst teach this Yoga in the beginning?
The Blessed Lord said:
Many births of Mine have passed, as well as of thine, O Arjuna! I know them all but thou knowest not Though I am unborn and of imperishable nature, and though I am the Lord of all beings, yet, ruling over My own Nature, I am born by My own Maya. Whenever there is a decline of righteousness, O Arjuna, and rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself!
COMMENTARY:
That which elevates a man and helps him to reach the goal of life and attain knowledge is Dharma (righteousness); that which drags him into worldliness is unrighteousness. That which helps a man to attain liberation is Dharma; that which makes him irreligious is Adharma or unrighteousness. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of righteousness, I am born in every age.
He who thus knows in true light My divine birth and action, after having abandoned the body is not born again; he comes to Me, O Arjuna! Freed from attachment, fear and anger, absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, purified by the fire of knowledge, many have attained to My Being. In whatever way men approach Me, even so do I reward them; My path do men tread in all ways, O Arjuna! Those who long for success in action in this world sacrifice to the gods, because success is quickly attained by men through action. The fourfold caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma; though I am the author thereof, know Me as the non-doer and immutable.
COMMENTARY:
The four castes are Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. This division is according to the Guna and Karma. Guna is quality. Karma is the kind of work. Both Guna and Karma determine the caste of a man. In a Brahmana, Sattwa predominates. He possesses serenity, purity, self-restraint, straightforwardness and devotion. In a Kshatriya, Rajas predominates. He possesses prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity, generosity and rulership. In a Vaisya, Rajas predominates and Tamas is subordinate to Rajas. He does the duty of
ploughing, protection of cattle and trade. In a Sudra, Tamas predominates and Rajas is subordinate to the quality of Tamas.
He renders service to the other three castes. Human temperaments and tendencies vary according to the Gunas. Actions do not taint Me, nor have I a desire for the fruits of actions. He who knows Me thus is not bound by actions. Having known this, the ancient seekers after freedom also performed actions; therefore, do thou perform actions as did the ancients in days of yore. What is action? What is inaction? As to this even the wise are confused. Therefore, I shall teach thee such action (the nature of action and inaction), by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from the evil (of Samsara, the world of birth and death). For, verily the true nature of action (enjoined by the scriptures) should be known, also (that) of forbidden (or unlawful) action, and of inaction; hard to understand is the nature (path) of action. He who seeth inaction in action and action in inaction, he is wise among men; he is a Yogi and performer of all actions.
COMMENTARY:
It is the idea of agency, the idea of “I am the doer” that binds man to worldliness. If this idea vanishes, action is no action at all. It does not bind one to worldliness. This is inaction in action. But if a man sits quietly, thinking of actions and that he is their doer, he is ever
doing actions. This is referred to as action in inaction. He whose undertakings are all devoid of desires and (selfish) purposes, and whose actions have been burnt by the fire of knowledge,—him the wise call a sage. Having abandoned attachment to the fruit of the action, ever content, depending on nothing, he does not do anything though engaged in activity. Without hope and with the mind and the self controlled, having abandoned all greed, doing mere bodily action, he incurs no sin. Content with what comes to him without effort, free from the pairs of opposites and envy, even-minded in success and failure, though acting, he is not bound.
To one who is devoid of attachment, who is liberated, whose mind is established in knowledge, who works for the sake of sacrifice (for the sake of God), the whole action is dissolved. Brahman is the oblation; Brahman is the melted butter (ghee); by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman; Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in action.
COMMENTARY:
This is wisdom-sacrifice, wherein the idea of Brahman is substituted for the ideas of the instrument and other accessories of action, the idea of action itself and its results. By having such an idea the whole action melts away. Some Yogis perform sacrifice to the gods alone, while others (who have realised the Self) offer the Self as sacrifice by the Self in the fire of Brahman alone.  Some again offer hearing and other senses as sacrifice in the fire of restraint; others offer sound and various objects of the senses as sacrifice in the fire of the senses. Others again sacrifice all the functions of the senses and those of the breath (vital energy or Prana) in the fire of the Yoga of self-restraint kindled by knowledge. Some again offer wealth, austerity and Yoga as sacrifice, while the ascetics of self-restraint and rigid vows offer study of scriptures and knowledge as sacrifice. Others offer as sacrifice the outgoing breath in the incoming, and the incoming in the outgoing, restraining the courses of the outgoing and the incoming breaths, solely absorbed in the restraint of the breath.
COMMENTARY:
Some Yogis practise inhalation, some practise exhalation, and some retention of breath. This is Pranayama. Others who regulate their diet offer life-breaths in life-breaths; all these are knowers of sacrifice, whose sins are all destroyed by sacrifice. Those who eat the remnants of the sacrifice, which are like nectar, go to the eternal Brahman. This world is not for the man who does not perform sacrifice; how then can he have the other, O Arjuna?
COMMENTARY:
They go to the eternal Brahman after attaining knowledge of the Self through purification of the mind by performing the above sacrifices. He who does not perform any of these is not fit even for this miserable world. How then can he hope to get a better world than this? various kinds of sacrifices are spread out before Brahman (literally at the mouth or face of Brahman). Know them all as born of action, and knowing thus, thou shalt be liberated. Superior is wisdom-sacrifice to sacrifice with objects, O Parantapa! All actions in their entirety, O Arjuna, culminate in knowledge! Know that by long prostration, by question and by service, the wise who have realised the Truth will instruct thee in (that) knowledge. Yajjnaatwaa na punarmoham evam yaasyasi paandava; Knowing that, thou shalt not, O Arjuna, again become deluded like this; and by that thou shalt see all beings in thy Self and also in Me! Even if thou art the most sinful of all sinners, yet thou shalt verily cross all sins by the raft of knowledge.
COMMENTARY:
One can overcome sin through Self-knowledge, As the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all actions to ashes! Verily there is no purifier in this world like knowledge. He who is perfected in Yoga finds it in the Self in time. The man who is full of faith, who is devoted to it, and who has subdued all the senses, obtains (this) knowledge; and, having obtained the knowledge, he goes at once to the supreme peace. The ignorant, the faithless, the doubting self proceeds to destruction; there is neither this world nor the other nor happiness for the doubting. He who has renounced actions by Yoga, whose doubts are rent asunder by knowledge, and who is self-possessed,—actions do not bind him, O Arjuna! Therefore, with the sword of knowledge (of the Self) cut asunder the doubt of the self born of ignorance, residing in thy heart, and take refuge in Yoga; arise, O Arjuna! 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 fourth discourse entitled: “The Yoga of Wisdom”