Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6 (Dhyaana Yoga)

Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6  (Dhyaana-Yoga – Yoga of Meditation)

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: Introduction

  • The journey into the Bhagavad-Geeta begin in Chapter 1 with delusion and confusion. In Chapter 2, the source and motility of existence, Brahman is explained. Thereafter, in Chapters 3, 4 and 5, Sri Krishna explains action, knowledge of action and renunciation of action respectively. 
  • In this Chapter, dhyaana-Yoga, Sri Krishna closes a critical gap, a tool that cleans the student’s Self internally (aatmashudhye).
  • Let us review components of any action?
    • There are two types of action – we act without stimulus/ input or react to incoming stimulus!
    • When we act without stimulus, we are driven by an internal desire for an outcome. Our action is a manifestation of our sense of self-worth (asmita).
    • When we react, we respond to stimulus. In this case, in addition to manifestation of self-worth, we also protect our sense of self-worth.
    • Both, action and reaction are driven by fear (tamas) or desire (rajas).
    • Importantly, any activity (karma), by itself is inanimate. It gets texture by two factors – desire for outcome, which drives motivation to perform (sankalpa), expectation of result or fruits of action (karmaphala) which results in fear of outcome and duality (like-dislike, good-bad-right-wrong etc.) and the feeling of being the doer (ahamkaara). 
  • The action process…
    • There has to be someone who initiates action, owns it and performs it.
    • This is the doer or (karta).
    • Next, the doer needs a reason (kaaranam). Also, this is called causation, or cause for the action being performed.
    • The reason needs to transform into motivation (sankalpa) so that action (karma) may be initiated and completed.
    • Finally, from effort comes result (karmaphala).
  • Everything in action is about whether we control it. Ability to control action comes from free-will, but to what extent is free-will actually free? How can we increase the span of free will?

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: acting without stimulus, yagnya and sankalpa

  • Firstly, all action (karma) arises from motivation (sankalpa) (Ch6 verse 1-3).
  • Next, once a cause is established, then effort (karma) has to be applied to achieve the result.
  • Almost always, sanctioned actions also involve personal sacrifice or yagnya. For example, a parent looking after his child has to sacrifice time, energy and resources.
  • However, it is important to remember that motivation (sankalpa) will result in expectation of outcome or desire (iccha).
  • As a result, self-worth (asmita) becomes attached to the outcome because once expectations get set, everyone’s self-worth is dependent on success and good reviews.  
  • Importantly, quality of will (sankalpa) includes capability, resources and other factors which determine quality of action and outcome. For example, a person wanting to pass a competitive exam will need to have the ability or will for sustained effort, resources to buy or borrow study material and build an ability to write the exam etc.
  • Additionally, self-worth (asmita) determines the quantum of agitation when action is performed. For example, when we are confident of what we are doing, there is minimal agitation. However, when we are afraid or unsure of our actions, or afraid of an adverse outcome, there is enormous stress, fear and agitation.
  • Thus, excellence and expectation become key factors of how we will perceive the outcome. Read about Hrta (the ancient Indian law of excellence… at this link).

Thus, one can see that free-will may motivate the beginning of any activity, but as factors such as expectations (karma-phala), desire (kama), frustration with obstacles, personality issues and other factors kick-in, free-will becomes difficult to sustain and one often gets hijacked by the situation. 

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: reacting to stimulus

Reaction to stimulus has two parts; Primary response and secondary response.

  • Primary response – When we receive stimulus, we react in the following manner; First, we assess the risk. This is done by the amygdala which uses prior conditioning (dharma) to trigger a fight or flight response. This reaction is mostly instinctive and has no free-will component in it. It has only awareness (pragnya) but the rational brain is mostly hijacked in any instinctive response.
  • Secondary response – depending on the strength of the primary response, the rational brains cognitive and intellectual systems get activated. Here again, conditioning (dharma) determines the strength of free-will, but the elemental sense of Self (asmita) is able to assert itself and control the response. 

Before examining our reaction to stimulus, let us review our system capability for action. Like computers, we have hardware and software. Our hardware is our DNA that determines our ability to handle information, our memory, our speed of processing information and quality of our sensory apparatus. The software is our operating system and other software. Together, this forms our conditioning or natural state, the envelope of existence that we are most comfortable in. This is our dharma.

So, where does free-will come in? How can we control our actions and reactions? The fact is that like computers, our ability to act or react is mostly set by our dharma, which is derived to a large extent by our prarabda-karma (debt that has come up for repayment). So, scope for free-will is weak unless it has been nourished and can overcome fear that comes with overcoming conditioning (dharma), embedded desire arising from prarabda-karma or vaasana, anxiety, fear of failure, expectation loss, opinion of others and loss of awareness (pragnya). 

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: application of will (sankalpa)…

  • Topping everything is the realisation that we are our best friend or worst enemy. So, the only way to improve our abilities is by using our Self to improve our Self! (C6 verse 4-10)
  • While the awareness of self-dependence is will, the ability to exercise that will does not happen easily.
  • Importantly, upon determining course of action, the degree of calmness and awareness that we retain when acting determines the quality of activity and outcome. 
  • Additionally, if expectation or desire of outcome is removed, then will (sankalpa) reduces in value because the action is performed for itself and not personal gain.
  • Also, when one removes expectation of outcome, fear is removed and self-worth (asmita) remains unaffected.
  • As a result, the person acts with reduced passion which ensures personalities are separated from the action. When this happens, everyone whose self-worth is likely to be affected is protected from disruption and the action becomes beneficial to everyone. 
  • When we remove ahamkaara (the feeling of being the doer) and perform the action for itself and not for gain or out of desire, there is more focus and stability in our action.
  • Consequently, one who aspires to sannyasa and to be a yogi should renounce all will (sankalpa) and perform action as duty, without seeking any fruits from his actions.
  • However, the yogi must not sacrifice logic or method. This is because, without proper process or system adherence, outcome is bound to be sub-optimal. For example, when preparing for an exam, the right approach is to try and dissociate ourselves from the outcome. However, if the preparation is without proper effort or systematic and sustained study, then there can be no hope of success.
  • Obviously, to increase the strength of will and reduce the impact of illusion (maya) is not easy and requires effort. The good news is that once a person reaches this stage of perfection (siddha-purusha), then the person remains unaffected by any or all turbulence that he encounters and remains calm in any situation.
  • As children, we go to school. To compete is natural. Our capabilities get tested and our abilities emerge when we compete. However, competing can be stressful. So, when competing in a game, if we are asked to enjoy the game rather than win it, then our ability to be in harmony with ourselves, use our capabilities to the fullest and enjoy the game becomes very high.
  • Unfortunately, as professionals, competition can become very toxic as the rat race can often mean employment or loss of it. Here, the stakes increase dramatically, as does the stress level. In such circumstances, keeping a cool, level head can often be difficult. Actually, what most people don’t realise is that backing off from competition reduces stress and allows us to work in a sustained and sensible manner without increasing perception of threat with our co-workers. Consequently, our output improves and as results show, reward follow.
  • As managers or supervisors, the problem of using will and detaching self-worth from the outcome becomes even more difficult. Often, team outcome determines existence and health of the team. Also, like any team, members come with different skill sets, motivations, personalities and maturity levels. Thus, keeping them aligned to a goal without personalities becoming involved is crucial to success. Conversely, the danger of removing personalities is that passion is often destroyed. Hence, the leadership skills of any manager require him to diffuse the impact of success or failure. Often, this means stepping back from the action, reducing his or her own drive, setting goals and monitoring performance and wisely distributing rewards and punishment which allow the team to focus and function effectively. In this manner, anxieties of reaching or failing to achieve overall targets do not affect present performance and the team functions to achieve short term goalposts while being steered to the overall target.

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: increasing strength of one’s will (verse 11-17)

  • Firstly, in order to rise in the practice of Yoga, one should reduce material contact or reduce their impact on cognition (manas). The fact is, all stimuli comes in through the senses. So, when the number of stimuli points increase, our ability to pay sufficient attention to each point of stimulus reduces commensurately. For example, if we are studying for an exam in front of the TV while the rest of the family is eating chocolate cake or chips, the ability to pay attention to studies will reduce dramatically.
  • Secondly, to reduce attachment towards material stimuli, view all entities as having a soul (atman) which is equal to our own (sama-drishti). When we do this, our ability to relate to the object without getting overwhelmed by its significance to us, improves. For example, when studying for an exam or preparing a project report, if we were to view the exam or project as a soul which is equal to our own, we stop giving it more weightage or less weightage that we ordinarily would have. While this does not reduce the importance of the exam, it brings equanimity to our transactions and allows balanced reactions.
  • Thirdly, a key aspect of managing matters of the Soul is to recognise that we are “Our best friend or worst enemy”. Additionally, control of the Soul (atma) is about controlling what happens to the Soul when we are exposed to stimulus, good or bad. Consequently, when we decode the stimulus with full awareness (pragnya), process the information without passion, personalities or assigned value, focus on the outcome and remove fear, we begin to control the process as well as the outcome.
  • As a result, the Soul begins to harmonise towards a state of peace. Of course, this requires practice, but when we do it consciously (control the chitta or consciousness), then free-will and self-reliance increase and there is a deeper anchor in the state of peace.
  • Lastly, how do we know that we are on the right track? When we are at peace, or to use a colloquial term “feel cool or positive about everything”, then we know that we are in control. 

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: what Hatha Yoga Pradeepika (Chapter 1, verse 10 – 16) says about dhyana (Meditation).

Hatha Yoga protects the yoga practitioner from pain like a house and supports his efforts like a tortoise. In fact, the yoga practitioner should keep the knowledge secret.

He should practice in a small room, situated in an isolated place, free from stones, fire and water or disturbances of any kind and governed in a dharmic manner (meaning all citizens conformed to the rule of law and live in peace).

Also, the room should have a small door, level, be free from holes and hollows, be neither too high or low, be well plastered with cow dung and be free from dirt, filth and insects. Outside, there should be a shaded area with raised seat with a well, enclosed in a compound.

Finally, the person should rid himself of anxiety and then begin the practice of Hatha Yoga as instructed by his guru.

(15) 6 virtues impede development in Hatha Yoga – they are over-eating, excessive exertion, excessive talking, excessive adherence to rules, company of humans and unsteadiness.

(16) 6 habits bring success – zeal, boldness of drive and willingness to start, patience, perseverance, ability to discriminate, clarity of purpose and aloofness.

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: how should one meditate? (verse 11-17)

  • Firstly, the practitioner should rely only on himself for all improvements, for each person is his own best friend or worst enemy.
  • Secondly, the yogi should be steady and without agitation within. This happens when one views all creation equally, without assigning differential personal value (I want this more, I hate this, I don’t like that person). Also, this includes animate and inanimate objects, friends and foes, relatives and saints. Additionally, this means that one should be calm and peaceful when experiencing opposites such as cold / heat, pleasure / pain or honour / dishonour.
  • Undoubtedly, the most important requirement for a serious practitioner is finding a country or region (desh) which is well administered. This ensures that there are no disturbances and turbulences on account of the surroundings, law and order and that the practice of meditation is undisturbed.
  • Next, the practitioner should sit in a clean place which is neither high nor low, over a bed of cloth and kusa. So, why is the seat important? Why should it be neither too high nor too low?
    • When we sit too high or low, we never get the right perspective of our environment. Consequently, there is perceptual feeling of discomfort.
    • When we sit in a place where we are unable to view our surroundings, then we get uncomfortable and insecure,
    • For example: when travelling, most of us prefer facing the direction of travel, because we get to see where we are going and what’s coming. Similarly, when we are sitting in the rear seat of a car, we prefer a place from where we can see the road and where we are going. Lastly, at home, we each have a preferred seat, which mostly will be one which gives us maximum view of our surroundings.
  • Then, the practitioner should control the sensory organs (indriyas) and cognitive apparatus (manas) by turning the consciousness (chitta) inward. After this, the yogi should try and hold his (manas) steady to a single point (ekagrat) to purify the awareness of the Self (prajnya).
  • Lastly, the yogi should hold his body, head and neck in a balanced (samam) position and gazing at the tip of the nose (nasikagra).
  • Additionally, he should avoid getting distracted by avoiding outside contact during the practice.

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: progression in meditation (verse 18-20).

  • Slowly, the practitioner is able to slow down the speed with which the consciousness (chitta) reaches out to objects for affirmation of existence, increasing free-will  .
  • When this happens, the consciousness becomes steady like a lamp in a windless room. In fact, one may compare the breeze in a room to external disturbances and the lamp to the reaction of the consciousness to those disturbances.
  • When the consciousness (chitta) is quietened, it stops seeking and looks at its own Self or Soul (atman) for sustenance. Then, the consciousness slowly merges (yoga) with its own Self (atman). When this happens and the consciousness is no longer agitating or looking for sustenance, it ceases to operate the sensory organs (indriyas) and cognitive apparatus (manas). 
  • Finally, this results in what is called nir-vikalpa-samadhi or changeless merger, the final state of yoga.

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: grief in yoga (verse 21-25).

  • When the practitioner begins to slow down the movement of the consciousness, it turns inwards towards the Soul (atman) for sustenance. When this happens, a lot of the suppressed and repressed emotions, desires and memories are released.
  • Consequently, there is great experience of loss, pain and grief because the memory remembers negative stimuli more starkly than positive one because they result in lessons in self-preservation and sustenance.
  • How does this happen? Importantly, let’s look at how maya (illusion or farce) works!
    • We are born with a particular configuration or DNA.
    • Next, our parents load our operating systems. Later, we get various other programmes loaded onto us by school, our teachers and friends.
    • Finally, we get hooked onto a system called society.
    • This process of conformance management gives us a conditioning called dharma.
    • Dharma is that natural state where we are at peace with ourselves and our surrounding. Also, dharma is the basis on which we decide like-dislike, good-bad, right-wrong etc.
    • Consequently, we apply dharma to all our transactions and relationships.
    • As a result, often there are conflict between our dharma and dharma of others, which results in issues that do not get resolved, resulting in ruptured or damaged relationships.
    • This causes grief and pain which needs to be reconciled and healed.
    • However, when we are active, we engage with our environment, the consciousness (chitta) is outward looking and busy, so the impact of this damage is not pronounced.
    • But, when the chitta (consciousness) slows down and looks at the Self (atman), all the suppressed experiences find a space for self-expression and seek resolution.
    • So, the asmita generates grief and pain based on blurred images, repressed desires and unfulfilled expectations.
    • Also, depending on the importance of the object, there is an additional weightage of sentiment (bhaava) which either amplifies or reduces the experience of grief and pain. With effort, there is reconciliation. For example, a misunderstanding with our parents or children, if it has severe consequences, is likely to generate more grief than a disagreement with a boss, friend or neighbour. So, the degree depends on proximity, bond, relationship and outcome.
    • However, overcoming this stage is critical because it a turbulent or distracted consciousness (chitta) will not become steady unless the source of stimuli is reconciled.

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: concept of agitation in meditation:

  • Competence in meditation comes with psychosomatic balance. The starting point is ensuring good health because, agitation occurs when the homeostatic balance is disturbed. Homeostasis is that aspect of the body whereby the operating conditions of the body are within established parameters, such as temperature, blood pressure, haemoglobin etc. along with other chemical parameters such as potassium, iron, calcium etc. and also hormonal balance. When these parameters are in balance, the person feels comfortable and at peace.
  • Next, imbalance occurs when the person experiences the need to change. Since change requires readjustment, it creates disruption and insecurity and the person gets stressed. Thus, there is pressure on the person’s self-esteem (asmita) as the psyche seeks to establish understanding and control over the situation.
  • Consequently, the consciousness continuously seeks confirmation of existence from an external entity, especially one that it trusts.
  • Additionally, during meditation, homeostasis balance is disturbed when the consciousness (chitta), after turning inwards begins to experience old suppressed and repressed baggage that come out and seek expression in the form of loss, pain and grief. Obviously, this will disturb any meditation practice.
  • Lastly, there is the material nature of consciousness (chitta) itself that hampers meditation.
  • By nature, consciousness (chitta) seeks expression and establishes bonds. For a yogi, this becomes a major impediment because the cognitive apparatus keeps moving from one entity to another and does not allow steady focus (ekagrath).
  • Hence, constant cleaning and calming of the soul (atmashuddye) is very important. Particularly, old baggage needs to be discarded, pain and grief reconciled, disturbances and stains on the soul (atman) need to be continuously cleaned.
  • Finally, the yogi should try to live in solitude to subdue internal agitations until he begins to achieve steady and constant awareness of the Self (shithaprajnya).

School of Yoga summarises Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6: final aspects of meditation solutions:

  • Firstly, the yoga of equanimity is difficult because the cognitive apparatus (manas) keeps shifting (chanchalam), it is like the wind – turbulent (pramathi), strong (balavat) and unyielding to control (dhridam). Additionally, it is restless (chanchalatvat) and this acts as an impediment to achieving the state of steadiness (sthitim-sthiram) (C6 verse 26-40).
  • Doubtlessly, the cognitive apparatus is difficult to control on account of the nature of the consciousness and the fact that it continuously seeks external and internal verification of its own existence. However, with practice and dispassion (vairagyam) this control can be exerted.
  • Arjuna asks – what happens to one who is dedicated but whose cognitive apparatus wanders? Does he face destruction, the yogi who has not achieved perfection?? (C6 verse 37-39)
  • Sri Krishna says – Firstly, no destruction can come to him that acts in good faith. In fact, what happens is that such a person is reborn into a pure and prosperous surrounding or into a family of enlightened yogis where he can continue where he can continue where he left off. Thereafter, when intent and effort are employed in a dedicated manner, the practitioner will reach liberation over time (C6 verse 41 onwards).
  • In fact, the yogi is superior to ascetics, philosophers, intellectuals and, men of action. So, one must aspire to be a yogi, one that is completely anchored in the source.

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6 – some practical tips on meditation:

  • First, sit in a secluded place. Ensure that the place is one where you can go to regularly and should have a pleasant atmosphere. Also, the temperature in the room should be conducive for long practice (sadhana)
  • Next, sit on a chair or on the floor. Floor postures hold the body more firmly, this is preferred.
  • Lastly, sit in a comfortable pose. Padmasanasukhasana or vajrasana are preferred, but it is possible that there is discomfort initially. If this happens, start with one of the above asanas and re-seat to a comfortable posture for the remainder of the meditation period. Over time, one pose will become the preferred pose and the body will fall naturally into it. But the important point to remember is that the back must be erect from the coccyx upwards. The perineum, which is the seat of the mooladhara chakra must touch the ground, forcing the spine erect.
  • Next, relax the body using auto-suggestion (suggestive commands given the person to one self). Start from the top of the head and slowly relax each part. Also, try to break the command into specific locations. For example; instead of saying “relax the brain”, say “relax the front of the brain, relax the left side, relax the right side, relax the back… etc…” Consequently, this will lead to quicker and more effective relaxation. Then, relax completely. Remember that relaxation becomes deeper with practice.
  • In fact, when the body has relaxed completely, it will be noticed that breathing becomes shallow and even. Observe the breathing. Importantly, watch the interval between puraka (inhalation) and rechaka (exhalation) and vice-versa. Here, there is a minuscule period of silence where the breath crosses over from inhalation to exhalation and vice-versa. Focus on this emptiness. Try to extend the silences even when breathing restarts. Also, try to keep the breathing even and without ripples or agitation.
  • Stay in this position for around 10-20 minutes. Also, do not practice more than once or twice a day or for longer periods unless you are interested in deeper spiritual investigation.
Some tips on reducing distraction:
  • First, to avoid distraction, reduce interaction with people. Additionally, this includes social media. So, if you are active in groups, slowly reduce your activity. As a result, you will have less disturbances, because you will think less about what you wish to say.
  • Second, reduce watching TV. If you are addicted to serial binging, slowly reduce the frequency and finally stop. Rightfully, the TV is called an “idiot box”, it makes an idiot out of the viewer. 
  • Next, reduce your exposure to news. Most of the stuff that is spoken about is sensationalised and you have no control over the outcome anyway.
  • Lastly, reduce speaking. In fact, speak only when you know that you can add value or make a difference. Try to increase the silence in speech to silence within and peace all-around.

School of Yoga explains the lesson learned in Chapter 6

In chapter 6, Sri Krishna teaches a person how free-will may be increased.

  • First, the ability to control free-will in action is limited in action (karma) because our response is controlled by conditioning (dharma).
  • Increase of free-will is only possible when control over movement of consciousness (chitta) increases. Then, both primary and secondary responses are controlled and hijack by the amygdala of responses is reduced.
  • However, all efforts to control consciousness will be opposed by the sense of Self (Purusha or Siva) because of fear of loss of Identity. This results in increased internal conflict, pain and a sense of dissociation from society as one tried to increase the strength of free-will over instinct.
  • In fact, effort to increase free-will also increases awareness of the Self (pragnya), discrimination between permanent and impermanent (vivekam) and dispassion (vairagyam).
  • As awareness (pragnya) increases, understanding understand one’s own natural state or conditioning (dharma) allows one to cognise the difference between sanctioned actions or actions without losing equilibrium and one is able to avoid those actions that are performed due to selfish interests or result in chaos or loss of peace (adharma).  Obviously, actions which create disharmony or chaos (adharma) come under the category of prohibited actions.
  • Also, when performing sanctioned action, one must understand the correct process, use the correct tools and resources and communicate to all concerned in the right manner if the sanctioned action is to deliver the desired result.
  • Lastly, one should learn to control expectations, accept the outcome with equanimity and avoid duality, so that internal state of peace is retained.
  • In order to increase free will and increase awareness (pragnya), one must practice “union by meditation” (dhyana-yoga). This will bring greater response contol as fear, anxiety, desire or expectation can be calibrated or controlled more easily.
  • Meditation is an exercise of increasing free-will by control of the consciousness (chitta). In fact, Sage Patanjali defines Yoga as “chitta-vritti-niridha” in Patanjali Yoga Sutra, which roughly translates to “stopping the consciousness from functioning”. Though the above state is clearly samaadhi or final merger state, there are multiple intermediate states that the consciousness has to transcend. These are;
  • Dhyaana-yoga is easier said than done. It requires steady effort, sacrificing of desire, and ability to endure pain, grief and failure. The stages that a person moves in 
    • Kshipta – scattered, where the consciousness is multi-tasking and distracted. There is poor control of the individual over free-will.
    • Moodha – idiotic, where the consciousness engages activity inappropriate to the situation and moment. Here too, there is poor control over free will.
    • Vikshepa – inattention – where the consciousness does not adhere to any object. Here too, there is poor control over free will.
    • Ekagra – single point focus – the consciousness is focussed at particular point. There is considerable free-will depending on the level of sustained focus.
    • Niruddha – stopped – the consciousness does not respond. Free-will is one of complete awareness (prajnya). The final state of this state is stitha-prajnya or steady awareness.

The Transliteration of Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6 follows:

The Sanskrit words are in red italics and meaning, before the words, are in black.

(1-3) Sri Krishna said: Anyone that performs sanctioned action (karma) and is disengaged from the fruits of action (anashritah-karma-phalam-karyam-karoti-yaha), he is a sannyasi (ascetic) and yogi, not he that neither acts, not performs without a sacrificial fire (sa-sannyasi-cha-yogi-cha-na-nir-agni-na-cha-akriya)However, verily know that renunciation that they call yoga cannot be achieved by anyone without renunciation of sankalpa (yam-samnyasam-iti-praduh-yogam-tam-viddhina-hi-asannyasast-samkalpo-yogi-bhavati-kaschana). It is said that saints desirous of advancing must harmonise action with motivation (aruruksho-muneh-yogam-karma-kaaranam-uchyate). In fact, it is said that even those who have achieved complete harmony are those who have brought calmness to their reason for action (yogaroodasya-tasya-eva-shama-kaaranam-uchyate).

(4-6) Also, it is said that when one has risen in yoga, then there is no clinging to sense-objects or actions and there is detachment from all drive of the will (yada-hi-na-indriyartheshu-na-karmasu-anusajjate-sarva-samkapla-samnyasi-yogaroodah-tada-uchyate). So, elevate the Soul by the Soul itself do not allow the Soul to drop in performance (uddharet-aatmanam-atmanam-na-aatmanam-avasaad-ayate), for the Soul, in truth its only associate and the only adversary of the Soul is itself (atmana-atma-eva-hi-aatmano-bandhu-aatma-eva-ripuh-aatmanaha). The Soul becomes a relative when Soul is conquered by the Soul (bandhu-atma-atmanah-tasya-yena-aatmaiva-aatmana-jita), however, the Soul of the unconquered Soul will be like an enemy until it is conquered by the Soul (atma-anaatman-astu-shatruvte-varteta-aatmaiva-shatru-vat). 

(7-8) The self-controlled, tranquil, Supreme Soul is equipoised in cold/ heat, happiness or sadness as well as honour and dishonour (jitat-manah-prashanta-asya-param-atma-samaa-hitaha-sitoshna-sukh-dukh-thatha-maan-apamaan-ayoh). It is said that the soul which is secure in the knowledge of the Self and surrounding, has attained unshakable victory over the senses, and harmonised itself, that yogi views everything as gold (jnana-vijnana-triptatma-koota-astho-vijite-indriyah-yuktah-iti-uchyate-yogi-sama-loshta-asma-kanchanah).

(9-10) One who is is always in a state of undisturbed intellect with friends, allies, enemies, those that are sad, lawyers, the odious, relatives, mendicants or sinners always excels (suhrt-mitra-ari-udaaseen-madhyastha-dvesya-bandhushu-sadhusu-api-cha-paapeshu-sama-buddhih-visisyate. Let the yogi, in solitude, maintain constant and steady Soul (yogi-yunjita-satatam-aatmanam-rahasi-sthithah) alone, with a Soul whose consciousness has no hope and free from greed (ekaaki-yam-th-chitt-atma-nirashi-aparigrahah).

(11-13) In a pure country, establish a firm seat that is neither very high nor very low, for the Self, of cloth, antelope skin, kusha grass, one over the other (shuchau-deshe-prathishtapya-sthiram-asanam-aatmanaha-na-ati-ucchritham-na-ati-neecham-chaila-ajina-kush-uthram). There, with a single pointed cognition, bring consciousness and senses under control, being seated in asana, let him practitice yoga cognition for purification of the Soul (tattrai-ekagrat-manah-kritvah-yat-chitta-indriya-kriyaha-upavishasya-asane-yunjyat-yogam-atma-vishuddaye). Then, holding body, head and neck exactly still, gaze at the tip of own nose and don’t look around (saman-kaay-shiro-greevam-dhaarayan-achalam-sthiraha-samprekshya-nasikagram-svam-dishah-cha-na-anav-lokayan).

(14-15) The fearless serene Soul that has taken the vows of celibacy, has stable cognition, with a consciousness that is united with me, as the final goal (prashant-atma-vigathabih-brahmacharya-vrate-sthitha-manah-samyama-ma-chit-yukta-aaseet-matparah),  Thus, the ever balanced peaceful Soul of the yogi, with controlled cognition attains primordial absolute liberation at my abode (yujnann-eva-sada-atmanam-yogi-niyat-manasa-shantim-nirvaana-paramam-math-samstham-adhi-gacchati), 

(16-17) The yogi is one that does not overeat, not, not eat at all he should not dream too much, nor should he be excessively engaged in activity (na-athya-nasta-tu-yogo-asith-na-cha-ekantam-anas-nathah-na-cha-ati-svapna-sheel-jagrataha-na-eva-bhavati). He must keep sensible diet and entertainment, keep his consciousness in action, keep sensible balance between sleep and wakefulness, the yogi overcomes pain (yukta-aahaar-viharasya-yukta-chestasya-karmasu-yukta-svapna-avabodhasya-yogo-bhavati-dukkhaha).

(18-20) When he is able to restrain the consciousness solely on the Soul, then freedom from all passion is established, it is said (yada-viniyatam-chittam-atmanam-eva-avathishtate-nihsprhah-sarva-kaamebho-yuktaha-iti-uchhyate-tada). Just like a lamp placed in an airless place does not flicker that consciousness of yogi harmonises the soul (yatha-deepo-nivaathastho-na-ingatye-yoginah-yath-chittasya-yunjataha-yogam-atmanah). Where consciousness has been quietened, restrained by dedication to yoga and where the soul is satiated by the soul (yatra-uparamate-chittam-niruddham-yoga-sevaya-yatra-cha-eva-atmanah-atmanam-tusyate). 

(21-23) An infinite peace that cannot be grasped by reason and beyond the senses this changeless knowledge becomes established in all its subtlety (sukham-atyantikam-yat-tat-buddhi-graahyam-atindriyam-vetti-yatra-na-cha-evam-ayam-sthitha-chalathi-tattvataha). Once the cognition has obtained that, no other gain is adequate thereafter it is unmoved even by heavy sorrow (yam-labdva-ch-aparam-labham-manyate-na-adhikam-tatah-yasmin-sthitha-na-dukkhena-guruNa-api-vichalyatea). The knowledge of pain merger and separation is the knowledge of Yoga that union must be practiced with determination with a consciousness that is not downcast (tam-vidyad-dukha-samyoga-viyogam-yoga-samjnitam-sa-nischayena-yoktavya-yogo-anirvinna-chetasa).  

(24-25) Having abandoned all vows born out of desires completely restrict cognition and also all the of senses in totality (sankalpa-prabhavan-kaamaan-tyaktva-sarvan-asheshataha-manasa-eva-indriya-gramam-viniyamya-samantataha). Slowly, slowly stop the intellect, hold it firmly in the Self, make the cognition nothing and reflect (shanaih-shanaih-uparamet-buddhya-dhrti-grhitaya-atma-samstham-manah-krtva-na-kimchit-api-chintayet). 

(26-28) Whenever there is appearance of disturbance and unsteadiness in the cognition then onward, using self-control, bring the Soul under control (yato-yato-nischarati-manah-chanchalam-asthiram-tatah-tatah-niyamya-etat-aatmani-eva-vasham-nayet). Truly, the serene soul yields supreme peace, developing peace creates brahman in one that is unstained (prashant-atmasam-hi-enam-yogin-sukham-uttamam-upaiti-shanta-rajasam-brahma-bhootam-akalmasham). Thus, the Soul of the practicing Yoga is always unstained the peaceful merger with Brahman gives infinite happiness (yunjjan-evam-sada-aatmanam-yogi-vigat-kalmasham-sukhena-Brahma-samsparsham-atyantam-sukham-ashnute).

(29-32) Souls exist in all creation, all creation has a Soul, so the yogi all Souls to be one and views all with an equal gaze (sarva-bhootasta-atmanam-sarva-bhootani-cha-atmani-eekshate-yoga-yuktatma-sarvatr-sam-darshanah). He sees me everywhere and in me sees he is not lost to me and I am not lost to him (yo-ma-pashyati-sarvatr-sarva-cha-mayi-pashyati-tasyaham-na-pranasyami-sa-cha-me-na-pranasyati). Whoever worships me in the same manner across all creation in every way the yogi remains in me wherever he proceeds (sarva-bhoota-sthithamyo-maam-bhajante-ekatva-asthithaha-sarvattha-varthamanaha-api-sa-yogi-mayi-vartate).  All Souls everywhere he that views as the same in happiness and grief, he is regarded as the highest yogi (atma-aupamya-sarvatra-samam-pasyati-sukham-va-yadi-dukham-sa-yogi-paramo-mathaha).

Arjuna asked (33-34) – This Yoga of equality that you are propounding, I am unable to relate due to unsteadiness and abiding steadiness (yah-ayam-yogaha-tvaya-proktah-saamyena-etasya-aham-na-pashyami-chanchalatvat-sthithim-sthiraam). The cognition is fickle, agitation is strong and unyielding I find controlling the cognition which is like the wind difficult to do (chanchalam-hi-manah-pramaathi-balavat-drdham-tasya-aham-nigraham-manya-vaayoh-suduskaram). 

Sri Krishna replied – (35-36) Without doubt, cognition is difficult to control and restless by practice and dispassion it is controlled (asamshayam-mano-durnigraha-chalam-abhyasena-tu-vairagyam-cha-grhate). A Soul without controlled cognition finds it hard to attain harmony, in my opinion but it is possible to acquire an obedient Soul by implementing proper methodology (asam-yat-atmana-yogo-dushprapam-iti-me-mathihi-vashy-atmanah-tu-yatataa-shaktah-avapti-upayatah). 

Arjuna asked – (37-39) what is the fate of one who does not possess dedication in Yoga and has a disturbed cognition, what happens to him who is unable to reach perfection in Yoga?  (ayati-shraddhaya-upetah-yoga-chalita-manasah-aprapya-yoga-sam-siddhim-ka-gatim-gacchati). Is it not that without steadfastness one is separated from both sides and destroyed without steadfast or confused effort on the path of the Brahman (kacchi-na-ubhavi-brashta-chinna-abrahm-eva-nashyati-apratishto-vimud-Brahmana-pathi)?  this is my confusion Krishna, please remove it completely, other than you, none is capable of dispelling it completely (etat-me-samshyam-chettum-arhasi-ashesataha-tvat-anyaha-samshayasya-asya-chetta-na-hi-upapadyate). 

(40-41) Partha – truly, not here nor in the next world is there destruction of him, nor does reversal of fate come to anyone performers of beneficial deeds, my son (na-eva-iha-na-amutra-vinasha-tasya-vidhate-na-hi-kalyanakrt-kaschit-durgatim-thaat-gacchati). Having acquired meritorious outcomes through everlasting equilibrium when on earth the one fallen from yoga is reborn at a home where there is purity and prosperity (prapya-punya-krtam-lokan-ushitva-shashvati-samah-shuchina-srimathaam-gehe-yoga-bhrashtah-abhijaayate).

(42-43) Or, within yogi or even clans of the wise, for truly, getting a human birth like this is difficult (athva-yoginam-eva-kule-bhavati-dheematam-etat-hi-durlabhataram-loka-janme-yad-idrisam). There his wisdom is harmonised with that obtained during prior existence, then with more effort there can be complete perfection, son of Kurus (tatra-tam-buddhi-sam-yogam-labhate-poorva-dehikam-yatate-cha-tatho-bhooyaha-sam-siddhau). 

(44-45) Truly, from previous learnings is born a helplessness to carry forward inspite of himself, to go beyond the word of Brahman and obtain the wisdom of Yoga (poorv-abhyasena-tena-eva-hryate-hi-avasho-api-sah-jijnyasu-api-yogasya-sabda-Brahman-ativartate). With effort and self-control, the yogi gets purified from faults of many births and attains the goal of supreme perfection (prayatnat-yatamaanaha-astu-yogi-sam-shuddha-kilbisah-aneka-janma-sam-siddhah-tatah-yati-param-gatih).

(46-47) Superior to ascetics are yogis, even superior to those who have achieved great wisdom (tapasvibhyo-adhiko-yogi-jnanibhyo-api-math-adhikah), even superior to people of action is the yogi, therefore become a yogi, Arjuna(karmibhyo-ch-adhiko-yogi-tasmat-yogi-bhava). Of all the yogi’s, those that place me in their inner Soul (yoginam-api-sarvesham-mada-gaten-antar-atmana), worships with dedication, that I consider most integrated Soul (shraddhavan-bhajate-yo-mam-sa-me-yukt-atma-matah).

Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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Excellent explanation.

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