Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6 (Part-2) Dhyaana Yogah:Yoga of Meditation

Preamble

We have seen Sri Bhgavan describing the process of meditation. He continues the discussion in the following verses pointing out that the controlled mind remains peaceful and explaining the process by which the seeker can gain the experience of the Essential Self through such disciplined mind. By training the mind, one must give up its preoccupation with the world and direct it to the Self within and make it introvert. As soon as the mind tastes the bliss of the Self it will realize that there is no greater enjoyment. Being established therein, even the greatest of the sorrows in the world cannot disturb its equanimity and peace. One practices that Yoga (union with the Self) through complete control of the senses and the thought flow which are the source-point of all desires. This sets the stage for practicing meditation and the realization of the Self.

The mind in the state of meditation thinks of the Self. The intellect holds the mind single pointedly upon the Self without allowing it to slip into any other thought. Whenever the mind wanders away the intellect brings it back through supervision and control. By maintaining single pointed thought of the Self, the mind becomes absolutely tranquil and quiet. The Jnani then experiences the infinite bliss of Brahman. Thereafter, he sees the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self. He sees the Supreme Being everywhere.

When he heard the exposition on how to discipline and control the mind, Arjuna raises a doubt as to whether the mind is such a thing which can be controlled at all. He wonders how the mind, a restless, turbulent, strong and obstinate entity, can be brought under control. And even if forcefully brought under control, how can the mind continue to remain steady and calm? Krishna assures Arjuna that the intellect can control the mind through sustained practice and dispassion.

Arjuna wonders as to what will happen to a seeker and his efforts if he fails to attain Self-realization in his lifetime. Will he not be denied the benefits of both the material and spiritual worlds? Krishna allays Arjuna’s logical and natural concern and assures him that no seeker falling short of Realization in his life time will ever suffer either here or hereafter.  Such a person will gain a heavenly bliss and reincarnate in a pure and pious home or in a family of wise yogis, which will provide him with an ideal environment for pursuing spiritual goal of Realization in his new life. Therefore, Krishna advises Arjuna to practice yoga with devotion and determination until he merges with the Supreme Brahman.

The Text

WHO IS A YOGI


yadaa viniyatam chittamaatmanyevavatishthate

nihsprihah sarvakaamebhyo yukta ityuchyate tadaa // 6.18 //

When the well-controlled mind rests in the Self alone, free from longing for objects of desires, then one is said to have attained yoga.

When the mind is completely under control it rests peacefully in the Self alone. Uncontrolled mind is the one which wanders in search of satisfaction among the sense objects. To make the mind withdraw from its nomadic nature for contemplating continuously on the Self, which is the substratum that illumines all perceptions and experiences, one has to make it free from desires. While desires by themselves are not unhealthy, Gita advises us to renounce our cravings for all objects of desires seen or unseen, belonging to this world or the next.

When the mind is withdrawn from sense objects, it becomes capable of contemplating on the Self as it is free from agitations.  The finite and limited sense objects disturb the mind, while the unlimited and infinite Self brings peace and joy to it. This condition of replacing sense oriented thoughts with contemplation on the Self is called steadfastness.  The steadfast mind of a Yogi is described in the next verse.

yathaa deepo nivaatastho nengate sopamaa smritaa

yogino yatachittasya yunjato yogamaatmanah  // 6.19 //

“Like a lamp kept in a windless place which does not flicker” – that is the figure (used by the wise) for the disciplined mind of a yogi practicing concentration on the Self.

Mind is as unstable as a flickering flame of a lamp. But when the same mind is made to concentrate in the Self by the meditator its vacillations and wanderings are stopped. It becomes brilliant just as a flickering lamp when placed in a windless spot.

yatroparamate chittam niruddham yogasevayaa

yatra chaivaatmanaatmaanam pashyannaatmani tushyati // 6.20 //

When the mind, restrained by the practice of yoga, attains quietitude and when seeing the Self by the self, he is rejoiced in his own Self.

sukhamaatyantikam yattad buddhi graahyamateendriyam

vetti yatra na chaivaayam sthitashchalati tattwatah  // 6.21 //

When he (the Yogi) feels that Infinite bliss – which can be grasped by the (pure) intellect and which transcends the senses, wherein established, he never moves from the Reality.

yam labdhwaa chaaparam laabham manyate naadhikam tatah

yasminsthito na duhkhena gurunaapi vichaalyate  // 6.22 //

Which having obtained, he thinks there is no other gain superior to it; wherein established, he is not moved even by the heaviest of  sorrows –

tam vidyaad duhkhasamyogaviyogam yogasamjnitam

sa nishchayena yoktavyo yogo’nirvinna chetasaa  // 6.23 //

Let that be known as Yoga which is severance from the contact of pain. This yoga should be practiced with perseverance and with an undaunted mind.

All these four Verses (20 – 23) should be taken together which give a complete picture of Yoga and explain the stages that a Yogi passes through whose mind has become single pointed by meditation.  They end with a call given by The Lord to all mankind to practice this Yoga of Meditation and self development.

The goal of the meditator is attaining serene quietitude when his mind becomes completely restrained and gains an experience of the Self, not as an entity separate from himself but as his own true nature.  This self discovery of the mind is nothing other than the process by which ego’s identification with body, mind and intellect is replaced by the principle of Divine Consciousness. The experience of the self is an enduring state from which there is no return.

Sri Krishna says that having gained this Infinite Bliss, no one can come to the worldly sorrows and feel the urge to go after the worldly objects and pursuits. The Yogi who attained the state of Supreme Truth will consider no other gain as equal to it and worth comparable. Thus Sri Krishna defines Yoga as a state of “DISUNION FROM EVERY UNION WITH PAIN”.

The term yoga means contact. Man is always in contact with finite worldly objects through the instruments of body, mind and intellect and gets finite joy only. When this temporary joy ends on account of the cessation of the instrumentality of the senses, sorrow begins. Therefore it is said that life through these matter instruments is called the life of union-with-pain.

Detachment from this union is the process in which we disassociate ourselves from the fields of objects and their experiences. As mind cannot exist without any attachment, once it is detached from the unreal and pain giving world of objects, it has to get itself attached to the Real and Permanent Bliss, which is called meditation. In deep meditation, the senses do not function; they are resolved into their cause i.e. the mind. And when the mind becomes steady and cognition alone functions, then the indescribable Self is realized.

Thus Yoga is nothing but a man’s renunciation of contacts with sorrows and turning towards Bliss which is his real nature. Sri Krishna says that this Yoga is to be practiced with an eager and decisive mind.  Success in meditation is possible only when it is carried out with firm conviction, perseverance and an un-despairing heart as the Yoga or connection with the Real can be gained only with Viyoga or disconnection from the Unreal. There should be no relaxation of effort even though there is no quick result and the practice appears difficult. If living among the finite objects with its limited joys is sorrow, then to get away from it all is to enter the realm of Bliss which is the Self.  This is Yoga.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras declare that the root of sorrow in the form of repeated births and deaths lies in the contact between the subject and the object or in the liaison due to ignorance between the soul and the objective world. With the termination of this contact, sorrows and sufferings also come to an end for all time.

Patanjali says “The great sorrow in the form of future births and deaths is called ‘Heya’- that which ought to be avoided (2.16). The cause of ‘Heya’ or suffering is the contact between the subject and the object (2.17). Ignorance is the root of that contact (2.24). The termination of that contact between the subject and the object through the eradication of the ignorance is known as ‘Hana’ – shutting out the ‘Heya’. This represents the aloofness of the subject – Kaivalya (2.25)

This state of God realization is termed ‘Yoga’ in the Gita. Further instructions on yoga are continued in the following verses.

sankalpaprabhavaan kaamaanstyaktwaa sarvaan asheshatah

manasaivendriyagraamam viniyamya samantatah  // 6.24 //

Abandoning without reserve all desires born of Sankalpa and completely restraining the whole group of senses by the mind from all sides…

shanaih shanairuparamed budddhyaa dhritigriheetayaa

aatmasamstham manah kritwaa na kinchidapi chintayet  // 6.25 //

Little by little let him attain quietitude by the intellect held in firmness; having made the mind established in the Self, let him not think of anything.

The goal of Yoga was to accomplish that state wherein the mind, through the practice of concentration, comes to get it absolutely restrained and achieves perfection or bliss. The way of attaining single pointedness of mind, what the single pointed mind should then do, how to approach and ultimately realize the Truth have all been exhaustively dealt with here. The various stages to be undergone in this regard are:

Renounce all desires fully by controlling the mind and restrain all the sense organs from their fields of sense objects. This mind-quietening process cannot be achieved at one go.  It is clearly advised that mind should achieve quietitude as a result of withdrawal from sense objects by degrees – slowly and slowly.

Thereafter, patiently, the mind should be made to contemplate on the Self with the aid of the intellect. A mind that continuously contemplates on the Self becomes still and gets pervaded by the divine quietitude.  This is the last stage of the journey that conscious and deliberate action can take any seeker.

Sri Krishna warns that the meditator after reaching the last stage of inner peace should not think of anything else. Undisturbed by any new thought waves he should maintain inner silence  and come to live it more and more deeply.

yato yato nishcharati manashchanchalamasthiram

tatastato niyamyai tadaatmanyeva  vasham nayet  // 6.26 //

From whatever cause the restless and the unsteady mind wanders away, from that let him restrain it and bring it back to be under the control of the Self alone.

Mind by its very nature is unsteady and restless; it always wanders away from the point of concentration.  The true seeker on the path of meditation will therefore get despaired at his inability to fix his mind on a focal point, contemplating on the Self. During the practice of meditation although the sense organs are controlled, the chasing of the sense objects by the mind will continue and cause dejection in the seeker.

The reasons for this roving mind may be many such as memories of the past, proximity of the tempting sense objects, attachments etc. Sri Krishna directs that whatever be the reason for the restlessness of the mind, the seeker is not to lose hope. On the contrary he should understand that these tendencies are the very characteristics of the mind and the process of meditation is the technique to eliminate them.

The means of bringing under control the restless mind are the realization of the illusoriness of sense-objects and the cultivation of indifference to them. Through practice of discrimination and detachment the mind gradually attains inner peace.

The Lord advises the seeker to bring back the mind that has gone out on a roaming mission.  As soon as the mind is withdrawn through will power it will go out again because mind means flow of thoughts and it can never be steady without any motion. Therefore in the meditation when the mind is withdrawn from the sense objects it should be provided with an alternative to keep it busy. That alternative is its application towards contemplating on the Self alone.

RESULT OF THE YOGA OF MEDITATION

prashaantamanasam hyenam yoginam sukhamuttamam

upaiti shaantarajasam brahmabhootamakalmasham  // 6.27 //

Supreme bliss verily comes to this yogi whose mind is completely tranquil, whose passions are quietened, who is free from sin and has become one with Brahman.

yunjannevam sadaa’tmaanam yogee vigatakalmashah

sukhena brahmasamsparsham atyantam sukham ashnute  // 6.28 //

The yogi always engaging the mind thus (in the practice of yoga) freed from sins easily enjoys the Infinite Bliss of contact with Brahman.

In these two verses the Lord describes the benefits of Yoga. During meditation when the mind is withdrawn from the world of objects and is concentrated on the Self, it acquires quietitude and the thought flow ceases.  Where there is no thought flow there is no mind. Where the mind has ended, there the seeker experiences the Infinite nature of the Self and the meditator reaches to the Supreme Bliss by ending all his mental agitations.

The ego discovers that it is none other than the Self and hence there is no dualism at this stage. Such a man of self-realization himself becomes Brahman. The meditator (Upasaka) becomes one with the object of meditation (Upasya).

A meditator step by step grows out of his own ignorance and imperfection represented by his ego and merges with the Supreme.  He loses contact with the objects of the senses and comes into contact with the Self within – Brahman. This means that the seeker becomes Brahman and comes to experience the Infinite Bliss as against contact with the world of objects (`not-Self’) whose joys are always finite. He becomes a Jivanmukta, liberated while living in a body.

Chandogya Upanishad (VII-xxiii.I) says “That which is infinite or great beyond all, is true happiness. There is no joy in that which is finite. Happiness lies in infinity. Efforts should be made in particular to know the Infinite alone”. It continues “The Infinite represents that plane of consciousness in which no other is cognized and the state in which another is seen, another is heard and another is cognized represents the finite. That which is infinite is immortal. That which is finite is mortal”. (VII-xxiv.I)

PURPOSE OF YOGA IS ACHIEVED

sarvabhootasthamaatmaanam sarvabhotani chaatmani

eekshate yogayuktaatma sarvatra samadarshanah  // 6.29 //

With the mind harmonized by Yoga he sees the Self abiding in all beings and all beings in the Self; he sees the same everywhere.

That the perfect man of Self-knowledge or God-Realization is not merely the one who realized his own divinity but is also one who has equally understood and has come to live in the knowledge of divinity inherent in all creatures without any distinction. He sees the same spirit dwelling in all objects. He sees the identity of Atman, the inmost reality of himself, and Brahman, the inmost reality of the universe.

The essence in all names and forms is the same Self which is the substratum in the world of objects just like the clay in all the pots, gold in all the ornaments, ocean in all the waves and electricity in all the gadgets. The Yogi observes oneness or unity of the Self everywhere.

Isa Upanishad says “But he who sees all beings in the Self and the self in all beings, no longer hates anyone”. (6)

yo maam pashyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pashyati

tasyaaham na pranashyaami sa cha me na pranashyati  // 6.30 //

He who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, never gets separated from Me (by time, space or anything intervening) nor do I get separated from him.

Here the words `I’ and `Me” mean the Self. On rediscovering the Self the ego becomes the Self and there is no distinction between the ego and the Self just as the dreamer becomes the waker and the waker is not separate from the dreamer. When we are one with the Divine in us, we become one with the whole stream of life.

sarvabhootasthitam yo maam bhajatyekatwamaasthitah

sarvathaa vartamaano pi sa yogee mayivartate // 6.31 //

He who, being established in oneness, worships Me, who dwells in all beings – that Yogi, in whatever way leads his life, lives in Me.

The Lord dwells in all beings as their inmost Self irrespective of their forms. The Yogi who sees the Lord in all beings and worships him through all beings has attained liberation. No matter how he lives and acts, he is always free. He is no longer under the control of scriptural injunctions.

aatmaupamyena sarvatra samam pashyati yo’rjuna

sukham vaa yadi vaa duhkham sa yogee paramo matah  // 6.32 //

I hold him to be a supreme yogi, O Arjuna, who looks on the pleasure and pain of all beings as he looks upon them in himself.

This verse is the golden rule of Hinduism. The highest yogi sees that whatever is pleasant to him is pleasant to all others, including subhuman beings and that whatever is painful to him is painful to all others. Therefore he cannot cause pain to any. He leads a life of complete non-violence. The true Yogi is one who feels the pains and joys of others as if they were his own. He feels the entire universe as his own form.

CONTROL OF MIND IS DIFFICULT BUT POSSIBLE

arjuna uvaacha

yo’yam yogastwayaa proktah saamyena madhusoodana

etasyaaham na pashyaami chanchalatwaat stithim sthiraam // 6.33 //

Arjuna said

This Yoga of equanimity, taught by You, O slayer of Madusudana (Krishna), I do not see how it can long endure, because of the restlessness of the mind.

Perfect equanimity, a mind free from torpidity and restlessness, in all circumstances, conditions and challenges of life seemed an uphill task and impracticable to Arjuna. He says that achieving evenness of mind is day dreaming because the human mind, by its very nature, is restless in its own excitements.


chanchalam hi manah krishna pramaathi balavad dridham

tasyaaham nigraham manye vaayor iva sudushkaram  // 6.34 //

The mind verily is restless, turbulent, powerful and unyielding, O Krishna; it seems to me, to control it is as hard as to control the wind.

Arjuna argues that the mind is without doubt restless, turbulent, strong and unyielding and is as difficult to control it as the wind.

The characteristics of the mind described in this verse are:

  • Restless – Because the mind constantly changes its focus from one object to another.

  • Turbulent – Because of the speed in the flow of thoughts and consequent agitations it creates in the body and the senses by bringing them under the control of the sense objects.

  • Strong – Because once it gets attached to any sense object, it gains strength in the same attachment and sticks to that object despite logical reasoning to the contrary.

  • Unyielding – Because of the impossibility of an individual to pull it back from its fasting journey into the world of sense objects and to make it steady on a predetermined focus.

sri bhagavaan uvaacha

asamshayam mahaabaaho mano durnigraham chalam

abhyaasena tu kaunteya vairaagyena cha grihyate  // 6.35 //

Sri Bhagavan said

Undoubtedly, O Mighty Armed, the mind is difficult to control and restless, but, by practice and detachment, O Son of Kunti, it is restrained.

Sri Krishna agrees that mind is unsteady and restless and therefore difficult to control and that the goal cannot be easily reached. But through practice and detachment mind can be brought under control.

Practice is the effort of the mind towards calmness. Practice becomes firmly grounded when it is followed for a long time and unremittingly with devotion. The end is easily achieved with the help of austerity, continence, discrimination and faith. The aspirant must not lose courage in the face of repeated failures.

Detachment is freedom from thirst for any pleasure seen or heard of. It is acquired through a constant perception of evil in sensuous happiness, either of this life or hereafter.

Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.12 says “abhyasavairagyabhyam tan nirodhaha” meaning that the restless mind, accustomed to act on impulse, can be controlled only by non-attachment and practice. Of these two methods, the attempt to make the mind steady is called practice. (Sutra 1.13)

Bhagavatam explains non-attachment (vairagya) as “When there is earth to lie upon, why trouble about bed? When one’s arm is readily available, why need pillows? When there is the palm of one’s hand, why seek for plates and utensils? When there is the atmosphere, the bark of trees etc., what need is there of silks?”

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Yoga Sutra (1.16) says “Supreme or the highest form of dispassion represents absence of thirst for all the three Gunas or modes of Prakriti. It is attained through the Knowledge of Purusha or Spirit, who is altogether different from Prakriti.”

asamyataatmanaa yogo dushpraapa iti me matih

vashyaatmanaa tu yatataa shakyo’vaaptumupaayatah  // 6.36 //

Yoga, I think, is hard to attain by one who is not self-controlled but by the self-controlled it is attainable through proper means.

An uncontrolled mind cannot progress in spiritual path unless it discovers the Self. The discovery of the Self is possible by self-control achieved through the withdrawal of sense organs from their respective objects. Yoga can be attained by striving hard to utilize the conserved energies for the Divine purposes.

Yoga is the science of religion. The test of its validity lies in one’s seeing results through actual experimentation. Hence the teachers of yoga emphasize self-control and other disciplines.

arjuna uvaacha

ayatih shraddhayopeto yogaacchalitamaanasah

apraapya yogasamsiddhim kaam gatim krishna gacchati  // 6.37 //

Arjuna said

He who is endowed with faith, but not with self-control, and whose mind wanders away from Yoga – to what end does he go, O Krishna, having failed to attain perfection in Yoga?

This verse relates to a seeker who has faith in the efficacy of Yoga but who is unable to control the senses and the mind. Arjuna asks what happens to such a person for he may lose both the joys of the sense objects and the Absolute Bliss hereafter. The word Sraddha does not mean blind faith but an intellectual understanding of the deeper significance of what the teachers teach and scriptures declare.

kacchinnobhayavibhrashtash chhinnaabhramiva nashyati

apratishtho mahaabaaho vimoodho brahmanah pathi  // 6.38 //

Fallen from both, does he not, O Mighty Armed, perish like a rent cloud, supportless and deluded in the path of Brahman?

Arjuna wonders as to what will happen to the seeker who though full of faith but for want of mental restraint fails to achieve success having fallen from both.  Fallen from both means achieving no success in the path of worldly success as also in the path of Yoga.

Rent cloud is that very small portion of the large cloud which gets detached from the latter on account of heavy winds and as a consequence moves about without any set direction hit by every passing breeze. Arjuna enquires whether such unsuccessful seekers will meander about the universe as the rented clouds and get lost.

etanme samshayam krishna chhettumarhasyasheshatah

twadanyah samshayasyaasya chhettaa na hyupapadyate  // 6.39 //

O Krishna, please dispel this doubt of mine completely for, it is not possible for anyone but you to dispel this doubt.

CLARIFICATION REGARDING PARTIAL SPIRITUAL EFFORTS

sri bhagavaan uvaacha

paartha naiveha naamutra vinaashastasya vidyate

nahi kalyaankrit kaschid durgatim taatagacchati  // 6.40 //

Sri Bhagavan said

O Partha, there is no destruction for him either in this world, or in the next world; none verily, who does good, O My Son, ever comes to grief.

In the following five verses Sri Krishna elucidates the path of progress of a seeker whose spiritual endeavors have not been met with any success either on account of death or due to any other temptation. The Lord assures him that he who does not achieve perfection in Yoga in this birth will not be destroyed either in this world or in the next. No destruction means that surely he will not take a birth lower than the present one in his next life. Doing good means striving for Self-realization.

What happens to him is as follows.

praapya punyakritaam lokaanushitwaa shaashwateeh samaah

shucheenaam shreemataaam gehe yogabhrashto’bhijaayate  // 6.41 //

He who has fallen from Yoga goes to the world of the righteous and having lived there for long years, he is born again in the house of the pure and the prosperous.

The Lord says that the one who was not able to attain perfection in Yoga or the one who achieved some progress in Yoga but had fallen due to lack of dispassion or on account of turbulent senses, attains the worlds inhabited by those pious souls who performed great religious sacrifices while living on this earth. Having lived there as long as the merit of his past spiritual life lasts he is born again in the house of those whose conduct is governed by religion where he can continue his spiritual journey from the point where he had left in the previous birth.

athavaa yoginaameva kule bhavati dheemataam

etaddhi durlabhataram loke janma yadeedrisham // 6.42 //

Or he is born in a family of yogis rich in wisdom; verily such a birth is very difficult to obtain in this world.

Sri Krishna says that those who are possessed of genuine dispassion but yet fail to achieve success in Yoga are born in the family of enlightened yogis poor in resources but rich in wisdom. A birth in such families is rare to obtain than the one mentioned in the preceding verse. It is rare because he is placed right from the beginning of his life in an environment which is conducive for the practice of Yoga so that he could start his spiritual journey from a very early stage. Considering the greatness of the illumined souls, a birth in their families is stated to be very difficult to obtain.

Mundaka Upanishad (III-ii-9) says “In the family of a Knower of Brahman, none remains ignorant of Brahman. Transcending both grief and sin, and freed from the knot of ignorance in the heart, the member of such a family becomes immortal, i.e. attains freedom for all time from birth and death”.

tatra tam buddhisamyogam labhate paurvadehikam

yatate cha tato bhooyah samsiddhau kurunandana // 6.43 //

There he comes in touch with the knowledge acquired in his former body and strives more than before for perfection, O Son of the Kurus.

When he takes a human body again in this world, his previous efforts and practice of Yoga do not go in vain. They bear fruit in this birth and hasten his moral and spiritual evolution. Our thoughts, actions and experiences are left in our subconscious mind in the form of subtle impressions. These impressions of the present and the past births will be re-energized in the next birth. The impressions of the yogic tendencies will compel the seeker to work with greater vigor than in his former birth. Whatever progress a man makes in the path of yoga he retains. He again starts from there when the next opportunity arises.

poorvaabhyaasena tenaiva hriyate hyavasho’pi sah

jijnaasurapi yogasya shabdabrahmaativartate  // 6.44 //

By that former practice alone he is borne on in spite of himself.  Even he who merely wishes to know Yoga goes beyond the world of Vedic rites.

The man who had failed in yoga is carried to the goal, which he intended to reach in the previous birth, by the force of impressions of his past yogic practices, though he may not be aware of it. If he had not done that many evil deeds as to overcome his yogic tendencies, he will certainly continue his yogic practices in this birth with great vigor by force of the impressions of the previous birth.

If the force of evil actions is very strong, the yogic tendencies would be overpowered or suppressed by them temporarily. As soon as the fruits of evil actions are exhausted the yogic vasanas will again manifest themselves and he will eventually attain the final realization.

Sri Krishna says even a man of enquiry in whom a desire to know about Yoga goes beyond the Brahmic word i.e. beyond Vedas. He raises superior to the Vedic rituals and ceremonies. He is not satisfied with mere ritualism and yearns for a higher fulfillment. If this is the case of an aspirant without any spiritual inclinations of the previous birth, how much more exalted will be the state of a seeker who takes up the practice of Yoga in this birth after having fallen from that path in his previous birth?

What the Lord implies is that no effort in the practice of yoga goes waste.  Even the least effort bears fruit either in this birth or in another and there is no cause for any disappointment for any one including the dullest seeker.

prayatnaadyatamaanastu yogee samshuddhakilbishah

aneka janma samsiddhastato yaati paraam gatim  // 6.45 //

But the Yogi, who strives diligently, purified from sins and perfected through many births, attains the Supreme Goal.

Mind and intellect of an individual function through the body in the world outside as per the qualities they assume because of the actions performed in their earlier births. The wrong and negative qualities of the mind and intellect are sins in the language of Vedanta. After purifying the mind from these sins the aspirant practices meditation and ultimately the mind becomes devoid of impressions which is called the end of the mind since the mind is nothing but a flow of thoughts.

When there is no thought, there is no mind and where there is no mind there is no ego which is termed as `reaching the highest goal’ or Self-Rediscovery. Little by little acquiring, through many births, the knowledge of Reality, he ultimately attains perfection. The Gita gives us hopeful belief in the redemption of all.

Although this theory is explained here in one or two sentences, in actual implementation, it is an achievement of many life times – `many births’ as The Lord puts it.

THE PERFECT YOGI

tapaswibhyo’dhiko yogee jnaanibhyo’pi mato’dhikah

karmibhyashchaadhiko yogee tasmaad yogee bhavaarjuna  // 6.46 //

The Yogi is thought to be superior to the ascetics and even superior to men of Knowledge (obtained merely through the study of scriptures); he is also superior to men of action; therefore, you strive to be a Yogi, O Arjuna .

Sri Krishna brings out here that meditation is more important than various other practices in the matter of Spiritual Development.  He says that the meditator is nobler than the Tapaswi, the one who observes austerities of the body and physical self-denials. The meditator is nobler than the Gnani also who deeply studies the scriptures and acquires their knowledge. The meditator is nobler than Karmis who undertake actions like sacrifices and other rituals enjoined in the Vedas as also charitable activities for obtaining rewards.

Through austerities, study, Vedic rituals, and philanthropic action, one attains purity of heart and then follows the path of Self-Knowledge. But the practice of yoga which is said to be superior to jnana, tapas and karma has the best of all the three and includes devotion. Yoga or union with God which is attained through Bhakti is superior because it enables one to arrive directly at the Supreme Goal. Arjuna is therefore advised to strive to be a yogi. Jnana here means scriptural learning and not spiritual realization.

yoginaamapi sarveshaam madgatenaantaraatmanaa

shraddhaavaan bhajate yo maam sa me yuktatamo matah  // 6.47 //

And among all the yogis, the one who worships Me with faith, his inmost self abiding in Me, I hold him to be the most closely united with Me in Yoga.

It has been told earlier that meditation is the best among all the paths of spirituality.  Meditation is a deliberate act by which the seeker strives to keep his thoughts channelized into one pre-determined line of thinking by not allowing the mind to entertain any other thoughts. It is therefore an attempt to fix the mind upon some object of contemplation.

According to the chosen nature of the object of contemplation and the method of controlling the mind from its wanderings, the art of meditation is classified as meditation upon a symbol, on a god-principle with a form, on the teacher, on the Kundalini, on any of the Great Elements or on a chosen text in the scriptures. Accordingly, the practitioners may be considered as followers of different kinds of meditation.

Yoga or union with the God which is attained through Bhakti is the highest goal. It also means the science of concentration and stilling of the modes of the mind. After giving a long account of the yoga discipline, the obstacles to be overcome, the Lord concludes that the greatest among the yogins is the devotee or the Bhakta.

This verse, following the praise of yoga, tells that devotion to God which makes one to cling to The Lord in utter faith and self-surrender makes yoga all the more exalted.

Gita stresses the importance of love of God or Ishwara and devotion to Him which make spiritual discipline complete. It emphasizes the path of Bhakti (devotion) as the easiest and best form of Yoga.

om tat sat iti srimad bhagavadgeetaasu upanishatsu brahma vidyaayaam yogashaastre

sri krishnaarjuna samvaade dhyaanayogo naama shashthodhyaayah

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

Concepts and Issues

Entitled ‘The Yoga of Meditation’, this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita elucidates meditation as the final gateway to Self-realization. Krishna begins with the definition of a sannyasi, a renounced person. Renunciation is not giving up enjoyments, abandoning one’s duties and escaping to a safe sanctuary. It is this misunderstanding that has turned away genuine seekers and prevented them from accessing the benefits of renunciation. Krishna describes a sannyasi as one who does what one ought to do, fulfils one’s duties and responsibilities fully, without depending on the fruit of action.


A sannyasi is not one without a higher ideal, nor is he an inactive person. Krishna describes the three stages of spiritual evolution, from an active yogi to a meditative sannyasi and, finally, to the exalted state of a jnani, the enlightened One.


A sannyasi has offloaded the bulk of his desires and is in contemplation of the higher. He is fit for meditation and embarks on the path of deep reflection and focus on reality. A jnani has reached the exalted state of enlightenment. Krishna describes the three stages in terms of mental states rather than external appearances.


Step by step, Krishna takes us through the preparatory disciplines as well as disqualifications for meditation. One must have a balanced contact with the world – neither too much nor too little. Every activity must be carefully supervised by the intellect so that no desire interrupts the subtle practice of meditation.


Krishna then gives the test of enlightenment. A realized soul is one who feels one with everyone. He sees his Self as the Self in all beings. In the end he worships God not in a temple, but in every living being. Thereafter, he lives in Atman, whatever his lifestyle. It is to be understood that declaring love for God has no meaning when we cannot connect with His images around us.

On hearing the glory of the qualities of equanimity of mind and equal vision Arjuna wants to know how the powerful turbulence of mind can be got over. Sri Krishna says that mind can be controlled by dispassion and practice.

Whenever the mind, due to its previous habits, strays away from the object of meditation, it should be repeatedly brought back on the object of concentration with effort. By such constant practice of meditation the meditator and the object of meditation will become one and then he will enjoy the supreme Bliss. The Yogi whose mind is thus harmonized will see the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self. He never becomes separate from The Lord nor does The Lord become separated from him. The perfected saint acts as an instrument in the hands of God. The key words are vairagya, dispassion and abhyasa, practice.

The mind must be made to rest in God like a lamp placed in a windless room. When the mind is restrained by the practice of meditation, it realizes the Self within. It experiences such Bliss as if there is nothing else in the three worlds worth possessing. Even the bitterest of the sorrows will not disturb such a mind. One should practice Sadhana with determination to enjoy that supreme joy.

In this Chapter Sri Krishna teaches that meditation is the only means to attain God-consciousness in all stages of human evolution and that attaining such consciousness is the purpose of all Yogas. In all the methods of spiritual practices (Yoga) the mind alone plays an important role.

When the mind is directed towards God, with a comprehensive understanding, one’s perception, attitude and desires for the world change automatically. On realizing the Self even the taste for the sense-objects ceases. Thus by experiencing the God-consciousness through continuous meditation one perceives the Unity in Diversity when all the desires come to an end.


Arjuna, like us, is afraid of leaving the safe confines of his present existence to discover the unknown realm of the Infinite. He asks Krishna what would be the fate of those who commit themselves to a spiritual life but die before realization. Krishna gives a fitting reply to reveal one of the most insightful laws of life. He says, “One who is righteous will never come to grief – either now or in the future. His efforts will not go in vain. He will carry forward the credits to his future life”.


A spiritually evolved person who falls short of realization will either be born in the family of the pious and the pure or Yogis. There, endowed with the wisdom acquired in previous lives, he will strive even more to attain enlightenment. Thus the diligent seeker effortlessly reaches Brahman.


Live as the Gita Teaches You to Live

Meditation is the highest spiritual technique that needs to be practiced diligently and devotedly by qualified practitioners. The essential prerequisite is a calm mind. A mind burdened with desires and attachments is unable to take off into subtler realms of concentration and meditation.

Yoga brings about a disciplined mind. This can be brought about by curtailing the outgoing tendencies of the mind. It leads to bliss. Once the state of bliss is reached, all other worldly matters lose their influence over the body and mind. Such a man will feel his oneness with God. He will experience unity in diversity. Any effort towards meditation is not wasted and it will have its benefits in the future births also.

 

Points to Ponder

  • State of thoroughly disciplined mind

  • State of the one who realized God

  • Process of meditation

  • Withdrawing and controlling the mind from its wanderings

  • The greatest among all types of Yogis

  • Seeing the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self

 

Next time we will take up Chapter 7

 

Harih Om

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