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Chapter 6 - The Yoga Of Meditation
Commentary by Sri Adi Sankaracharya, Translated by Swami Gambhirananda

The verses, 'Keeping the external objects outside' etc., forming aphorisms on the Yoga of Meditation which is the proximate discipline leading to complete illumination, have been presented at the end of the just preceding chapter. This sixth chapter is begun as an exposition of them. As to that, since rites and duties (i.e. actions) are the preliminary disciplines of the Yoga of Meditation (Dhyana-yoga), therefore actions have to be undertaken by a householder who is qualified for them, so long as he is unable to ascend to the Yoga of Meditation. Hence, the Lord eulogizes it.

Objection: Well, since obligatory duties have surely to be performed so long as one lives, why should ascending to Dhyana-yoga be prescribed as a limit?

Reply: Not so, because it has been specifically stated, 'For the sage who wishes to ascend to (Dhyana-) yoga, action is said to be the means', and because inaction alone has been prescribed as suitable for that person when he has ascended. If the intention was that inaction and action were both duties for the man desiring to ascend and to the one who has ascended, then the specification and differentiation between one trying to ascend and one who has ascended, from the point of view of the difference between the scopes of inaction and action, becomes meaningless.

Objection: In the empirical world, among people belonging to the different stages of life, some one becomes an aspirant for ascending to (Dhyana-) yoga, and some one has ascended to it, whereas others are neither trying to ascend nor have they ascended. May it not be said that with regard to them (the third), it is certainly logical to specify and differentiate by saying 'for one wanting to ascend' and 'for one who has ascended'?

Reply: No, because of the statement, 'for that person...alone'; and the use of the word '(Dhyana-) yoga' over again in, 'when he has ascended to (Dhyana-)yoga', amounts to asserting that, in the case of that very person who was earlier trying to ascend to Yoga, inaction itself becomes a duty as a means to the fruition of Yoga when he has already ascended to it. Hence, no work whatsoever becomes a duty to be followed throughout life.

This follows also from the statement about one who has fallen from Yoga. [The verses 37-9 refer to the fall of a monk who had to renounce all actions (rites and duties) before espousing monasticism. This fact indirectly points out that the injunction about one having to perform actions throughout life does not apply in the case of some people (e.g. monks).] If it be that in the sixth chapter (Dhyana-)yoga has been ordained for a householder who is engaged in rites and duties, then, even though he were to fall from (Dhyana-) yoga, he would still get the goal of actions, i.e. the results of rites and duties. This being so, the apprehension of his ruin (see 37-9) will be illogical. Since Liberation, by virtue of being eternal, is not an effect, therefore, a duty when performed, be it motivated (kamya) or obligatory (nitya), will certainly produce its own result [Brahman being self-existent, It cannot be the product of rites and duties; and yet, rites and duties must have some result because they have been enjoined by the Vedas.] (other than Liberation). And we have said that, since the nityakarmas (as also the naimittika-karmas) are known on the authority of the Vedas, therefore they must have some result. For, otherwise, there arises the contingency of the Vedas becoming purposeless. And hence, so long as rites and duties persist, the statement about 'falling from both' does not become meaningful,for, logically there is no cause for the destruction of (the results of) rites and duties.

Objection: May it not be said that, since actions are performed by dedicating them to God, therefore the results of actions do not accrue to their agent?

Reply: No, because it is reasonable that dedication to God should bring in greater results (to the agent).

Objection: May it not be said that they are meant only for Liberation? When dedication of one's own accomplished duties to God is conjoined with (Dhyana-) yoga, it results only in Liberation, not in anything else. And since he has become deflected from (Dhyana-) yoga, therefore in his case it is certainly reasonable to apprehend ruin.

Reply: No, because renunciation of actions has been enjoined in, 'alone, with body and mind controlled, free from expectations (and) free from acquisition,' (10) and 'firm in the vow of a celibate' (14). Moreover, in this context it cannot be imagined that during meditation there is need for help from one's wife-to deny which solitude has been enjoined. [Meditation, because of its very nature, is practised in solitude. Therefore,if the word ekaki (alone) were interpreted as prohibiting the participation (in meditation) of the wife of a householder, who otherwise needs her presence during all such Vedic rites as Agnihotra etc., that would amount to a prohibition against a situation that does not arise at all.] And the sentence, 'free from expectations, free from acquisition' (10), etc. is not applicable in the case of a householder; besides, the question of 'falling from both' becomes illogical.

Objection: Can it not be held that by the text, 'without depending on the results of action,' etc., renunciation and meditation are enjoined only for the men of aciton, and renunciation and meditation have been prohibited for one who does not keep a fire and does not perform rites and duties?

Reply: No, because that (verse) is meant as a eulogy of renunciation of hankering for the results of actions, which is a remote aid to Dhyana-yoga: The one who simply does not keep a fire and is acitonless is not a monk and a man of meditation. What then? Even a man of aciton who, for the sake of purification of the mind, performs the yoga of Karma by renouncing attachment to the results of actions may be considered a monk and a man of meditation. The man of action is thus eulogized.

Besides, it is not logical that one and the same sentence should mean an eulogy of renunciation of hankering for the results of actions and also a prohibition of the fourth stage of life (monasticism). Moreover, the Lord is not prohibiting the well-known renunciation and meditation enjoined by the Vedas, Smrtis, Puranas, Itihasas and the scriptures on Yoga for a monk who does not keep a fire, who is actionless, and a man of renunciation in the real sense. For that would contradict His own utterances as well. And the Lord has pointed out His own ideas in various places such as, '(The embodied man) having given up all actions mentally, continues (happily)...without doing or causing (others) to do anything at all' (5.13); 'who is silent, content with anything, homeless, steady-minded' (12.19); 'That man...who, after rejecting all desires, moves about' (2.71); 'he who has renounced every undertaking' (12.16). The prohibition of the fourth stage of life will run counter to these (verses).

Therefore, in the case of the sage who wants to attain to Dhyana-yoga but has already entered the householder's life, Agnihotra sacrifices etc., when performed without desire for their results, become a means to ascent to Dhyana-yoga through the purification of the heart. Accordingly, he is praised by saying that 'he is a monk and a man of meditation.'

The blessed Lord said:

1. He who performs an action which is his duty, without depending on the result of action, he is a monk and a yogi; (but) not (so in) he who does not keep a fire and is actionless.

Anasritah, without depending on;-on what?-on that which is karma-phalam, the result of action- i.e. without craving for the result of action-. He who craves for the results of actions becomes dependent on the results of actions. But this person is the opposite of such a one. Hence (it is said), 'wihtout depending on the result of action.

Having become so, yah he who; karoti, performs accomplishes; (karma, an action;) which is his karyam, duty, the nityakarmas such as Agnihotra etc. which are opposed to the kamya-karmas-.

Whoever is a man of action of this kind is distinguished from the other men of action. In order to express this idea the Lord says, sah, he ; is a sannyasi, monk, and a yogi. Sanyyasa, means renunciation. he who is possessed of this is a sannyasi, a monk. And he is also a yogi. Yoga means concentration of mind. He who has that is a yogi. It is to be understood that this man is possessed of these qualities. It is not to be understood that, only that person who does not keep a fire (niragnih) and who is actionless (akriyah) is a monk and a yogi. Niragnih is one from whom the fires [viz Garhapatya, Ahavaniya, Anvaharya-pacana, etc.], which are the accessories of rites, have bocome dissociated. By kriya are mean austerity, charity, etc. which are performed wityout fire.

Akriyah, actionless, is he who does not have even such kriyas.

Objection: Is it not only with regard to one who does not keep a fire and is acitonless that monasticsm and meditativeness are well known in the Vedas, Smrtis and scriptures dealing with meditation? Why are monasticism and meditativeness spoken of here with regard to one who keeps a fire and is a man of action-which is not accepted as a fact?

Reply: This defect does not arise, because both are sought to be asserted in some secondary sense.

Objection: How is that?

Reply: His being monk is by virtue of his having given up hankering for the results of actions; and his being a man of meditation is from the fact of his doing actions as accesories to meditation or from his rejection of thoughts for the results of actions which cause disturbances in the mind. Thus both are used in a figurative sense. On the contrary, it is not that monasticism and meditativeness are meant in the primary sense.

With a veiw to pointing out this idea, the Lord says:

2. That which they call monasticism (sanyasa), know that to be Yoga, O Pandava, For, nobody who has not given up expectations can be a yogi.

Yam, that which is characterized by the giving up of all actions and their results; which prahuh, they, the knowers of the Vedas and the Smrtis, call; sannyasam iti, monasticism, in the real sense; viddhi, known; tam, that monasticism in the real sense; to be yogam, Yoga, consisting in the performance of actions, O Pandava.

Accepting what kind of similarity between Karma-yoga, which is characterized by engagement (in actions), and its opposite, renunciation in the real sense, which is characterized by cessation from work, has their equation been stated?

When such an apprehension arises, the answer is this; From the point of view of the agent, there does exist a simialrity of Karma-yoga with real renunciation. For he who is a monk in the real sense, from the very fact of his having given up all the means needed for accomplishing actions, gives up the thought of all actions and their results-the source of desire that leads to engagement in work. [Thoughts about an object lead to the desire for it, which in turn leads to actions for getting it. (Also see note under 4.19)] also, even while performing actions, gives up the thought for results.

Pointing out this idea, the Lord says: Hi, for; kascit, nobody, no man of action whosoever; asannyasta-sankalpah, who has not given up expactaions-one by whom has not been renounced expectation, anticipation, of results;bhavati, becomes, i.e. can become; yogi, a yogi, a man of concentration, because thought of results is the cause of the disturbance of mind. Therefore, any man of action who gives up the thought of results would become a yogi, a man of concentration with an unperturbed mind, because of his having given up thought of results which is the cause of mental distractions. This is the purport.

Thus, because of the similarity of real monasticism with Karma-yoga from the point of veiw of giving up by the agent, Karma-yoga is extolled as monasticism in, 'That which they call monasticism, know that to be Yoga, O Pandava.'

Since Karma-yoga, which is independent of results, is the remote help to Dhyana-yoga, therefore it has been praised as monasticism. Thereafter, now the Lord shows how Karma-yoga is helpful to Dhyana-yoga:

3. For the sage who wishes to ascend to (Dhyana-) yoga, action is said to be the means. For that person, when he has ascended to (Dhyana-)yoga, inaction alone is said to be the means.

Aruruksoh, for one who wishes to ascend, who has not ascended, i.e. for that very person who is unable to remain established in Dhyana-yoga;-for which person who is desirous to ascend?-munch, for the sage, i.e. for one who has renounced the results of actions;-trying to ascend to what?-yogam, to (Dhyana-) yoga; karma, action; ucyate, is said to be; the karanam, means. Tasya, for that person, again; yoga-arudhasya, when he has ascended to (Dhyana-) yoga; samah, inaction, withdrawl from all actions; eva, alone; ucyate, is said to be; karanam, the means for remaining poised in the state of meditation. This is the meaning.

To the extent that one withdraws from actions, the mind of that man who is at cease and self-controlled becomes concentrated. When this occurs, he at once becomes established in Yoga. And accordingly has it been said by Vyasa: 'For a Brahmana there is no wealth conparable to (the knowledge of) oneness, sameness, truthfulness, character, equipoise, harmlessness, straightforwardness and withdrawal from various actions' (Mbh. Sa. 175.37).

After that, now is being stated when one becomes established in Yoga:

4. Verily, [Verily: This word emphasizes the fact that, since attachment to sense objects like sound etc. and to actions is an obstacle in the path of Yoga, therefore the removal of that obstruction is the means to its attainment.] when a man who has given up thought about everything does not get attached to sense-objects or acitons, he is then said to be established in Yoga.

Hi, verily; yada, when; a yogi who is concentrating his mind, sarva-sankalpa-sannyasi, who has given up thought about everything-who is apt to give up (sannyasa) all (sarva) thoughts (sankalpa) which are the causes of desire, for things here and hereafter; na anusajjate, does not become attached, i.e. does not hold the idea that they have to be done by him; indriya-arthesu, with regard to sense-objects like sound etc.; and karmasu, with regard to actions-nitya, naimittika, kamya and nisiddha (prohibited) because of the absence of the idea of their utility; tada, then, at that time; ucyate, he is said to be; yoga-arudhah, established in Yoga, i.e. he is said to have attained to Yoga.

From the expression, 'one who has given up thought about eveything', it follows that one has to renounce all desires and all actions, for all desires have thoughts as their source. This accords with such Smrti texts as:

'Verily, desire has thought as its source. Sacrifices arise from thoughts' (Ma. Sm. 2.3);

'O Desire, I know your source. You surely spring from thought. I shall not think of you. So you will not arise in me' (Mbh. Sa. 177.25).

And when one gives up all desires, renunciation of all actions becomes accomplished. This agrees with such Upanisadic texts as, '(This self is identified with desire alone.) What it desires, it resolves; what it resolves, it works out' (Br. 4.4.5); and also such Smrti texts as, 'Whatever actions a man does, all that is the effect of desire itself' (Ma. Sm. 2.4). It accords with reason also. For, when all thoughts are renounced, no one can even move a little. So, by the expression, 'one who has given up thought about everything', the Lord makes one renounced all desires and all actions.

When one is thus established in Yoga, then by that very fact one's self becomes uplifted by oneself from the worldly state which is replete with evils.


5. One should save oneself by oneself; one should not lower oneself. For oneself is verily one's own friend; oneself is verily one's own enemy.

Uddharet, one should save; atmanam, oneself sunk in the sea of the world; atmana, by oneself; one should save, ut-haret, should uplift (oneself) from that, i.e. make it attain the state of being established in Yoga. Na avasadayet, one should not lower, debase; atmanam, oneself. Hi, for; atma eva, oneself is verily; atmanah one's own; bandhuh, friend. Centainly there is no other friend who can bring about liberation from this world. In fact, even a friend is an obstacle to Liberation, he being the source of such bondages as love etc. Therefore the emphatic statement, 'For one is one's own friend, is justifiable.

Atma eva, oneself verily; is atmanah, one's own: ripuh, enemy. Anyone else who is an external harmful enemy, even he is of one's own making! Therefore the firm conclusion, 'oneself verily is one's own enemy's is reasonable.

It has been said that 'oneself is verily one's own friend, oneself verily is one's own enemy.' As to that, (the self) [Ast. has this additional word, atma, self.-Tr.] of what kind is one's own friend, or (the self) of what kind is one's own enemy? This is being answered:

6. Of him, by whom has been conquered his very self by the self, his self is the friend of his self. But, for one who has not conquered his self, his self itself acts inimically like an enemy.

Tasya, of him; yena, by whom; jitah, has been conquered, subdued; his eva atma, very self, the aggregate of body and organs; that atma, self; is bandhuh, the friend; atmanah, of his self. The idea is that he is a conqueror of his senses. Tu, but; anatmanah, for one who has not conquered his self, who has no self-control; atma eva, his self itself; varteta, acts; satruvat, like an enemy; satrutve, inimically, with the attitude of an enemy. As an enemy, who is different from oneself, does harm to oneself, similarly one's self behaves like an enemy to oneself. This is the meaning. [If the body and organs are under control, they are helpful in concentrating one's mind on the Self; but, if they are not under control, they oppose this concentration.]

7. The supreme Self of one who has control over the aggregate of his body and organs, and who is tranquil, becomes manifest. (He should be equipoised) [These words are supplied to complete the sentence.] in the midst of cold and heat, happiness and sorrow, as also honour and dishonour.

Parama-atma, the supreme Self; jita-atmanah, of one who has control over the aggregate of his body and organs; prasantasya, who is tranquil, who is a monk with his internal organ placid; samahitah, becomes manifest, i.e. becomes directly manifest as his own Self. Moreover, (he should be equipoised) sita-usna-sukha-duhkhesu, in the midst of cold and heat, happiness and sorrow; tatha, as also; mana-apamanayoh in honour and dishonour, adoration and despise.

8. One whose mind is satisfied with knowledge and realization, who is unmoved, who has his organs under control, is sadi to be Self-absorbed. The yogi treats equally a lump of earth, a stone and gold.

A yogi, jnana-vijnana-trpta-atma, whose mind is satisfied with knowledge and realization-jnana is thorough knowledge of things presented by the scriptures, but vijnana is making those things known from the scriptures a subject of one's own realization just as they have been presented; he whose mind (atma) has become contented (trpta) with those jnana and vijnana is jnana-vijnana-trpta-atma-; kutasthah, who is unmoved, i.e. who becomes unshakable; and vijita-indriyah, who has his organs under control;- he who is of this kind, ucyate, is said to be; yuktah, Self-absorbed. That yogi sama-losta-asma-kancanah, treats equally a lump of earth, a stone and gold.


9. He escels who has sameness of view with regard to a benefactor, a friend, a foe [Ari (foe) is one who does harm behind one's back.], a neutral, an arbiter, the hateful, [Dvesyah is one who openly hateful.] a relative, good people and even sinners.

The first line of the verse beginning with 'benefactor,' etc. is a single compound word.

Visisyate, he excels, i.e. he is the best among all those who are established in Yoga-(a different reading is vimucyate, he becomes free); sama-buddhih, who has sameness of view, i.e. whose mind is not engaged with the question of who one is and what he does; with regard to a suhrd, benefactor-one who does some good without consideration of return; mitram, a friend, one who is affectionate; arih, a foe; udasinah, a neutral, who sides with nobody; madhyasthah, an arbiter, who is a well-wisher of two conflicting parties; dvesyah, the hateful, who is repulsive to oneself; bandhuh, a relative;- to all these as also sadhusu, with regard to good people, who follow the scriptures; api ca, and even; papesu, sinners, who perform prohibited actions-with regard to all of them.

Therefore, to acquire this excellent result-

10. A yogi should constantly concentrate his mind by staying in a solitary place, alone, with mind and body controlled, free from expectations, (and) free from acquisition.

A yogi, a man of meditation; satatam yunjita, should constantly concentrate; atmanam, his mind; sthitah, by staying; rahasi, in a solitary place, in mountain caves etc.; ekaki, alone, without any companion; yata-citta-atma, with mind and body controlled; nirasih, without expectations, free from hankering; and aparigrahah, free from acquisition.

From the use of the qualifying words, 'in a solitary place' and 'alone', it follows that (he has to undertake all these) after espousing monasticism. And even after renunciation, he should concentrate his mind by desisting from all acquisition. This is the meaning.

Now then have to be stated the rules regarding seat, food, movements, etc. as disciplines for yoga in the case of one practising concentration; as also the signs of one who has succeeded in Yoga, and the consequent result etc. Hence this is begun. Among these, the seat is being first spoken of:

11. Having firmly established in a clean place his seat, neither too high nor too low, and made of cloth, skin and kusa-grass, placed successively one below the other;

12. (and) sitting on that seat, he should concentrate his mind for the purification of the internal organ, making the mind one-pointed and keeping the actions of the mind and senses under control.

Pratisthapya, having established; sthiram, firmly; sucau, in a clean; dese, place, which is solitary, either naturally or through improvement; atmanah, his own; asanam, seat; na ati ucchritam, neither too high; na ati nicam, nor even too low; and that made of caila-ajina-kusa-uttram, cloth, skin, and kusa-grass, placed successively one below the other-the successive arrangement of cloth etc. here is in a reverse order to that of the textual reading-.

What follows after thus establishing the seat?

Upavisya, sitting; tatra, on that; asane, seat; yogam yunjyat, he should concentrate his mind. To what purpose should he concentrate his mind? In answer the Lord says: atma-visuddhaye, for the purification of the internal organ. How? Krtva, making; manah, the mind; ekagram, one-pointed,by withdrawing it from all objects; and yata-citta-indriya-kriyah, keeping the actions (kriyah) of the mind (citta) and senses (indriya) under control (yata).

The external seat has been spoken of. Now is being stated how the posture of the body should be:

13. Holding the body, head and neck erect and still, being steady, looking at the tip of his own nose-and not looking around;

14. He should remain seated with a placid mind, free from fear, firm in the vow of a celibate, and with the mind fixed on Me by controlling it through concentration, having Me as the supreme Goal.

Dharayan, holding; kaya-siro-girvam, the body (torso), head and neck; samam, erect; and acalam, still-movement is possible for one (even while) holding these erect; therefore it is specified, 'still'-; sthirah, being steady, i.e. remaining steady; sampreksya, looking svam nasikagram, at tip of his own nose -looking at it intently, as it were; ca, and; anavalokayan, not looking; disah, around, i.e. not glancing now and then in various directions-. The words 'as it were' are to be understood because what is intended here is not an injunction for looking at the tip of one's own nose! What then? It is the fixing the gaze of the eyes by withdrawing it from external objects; and that is enjoined with a veiw to concentrating the mind. [What is sought to be presented here as the primary objective is the concentration of mind. If the gaze be directed outward, then it will result in interrupting that concentration. Therefore the purpose is to first fix the gaze of the eyes within.] If the intention were merely the looking at the tip of the nose, then the mind would remain fixed there itself, not on the Self! In, 'Making the mind fixed in the Self' (25), the Lord will speak of concentrating the mind verily on the Self. Therefore, owing to the missing word iva (as it were), it is merely the withdrawl of the gaze that is implied by sampreksya (looking).

Further, prasantatma, with a placid mind, with a mind completely at peace; vigata-bhih, free from fear sthitah, firm; brahmacari-vrate, in the vow of a celibate, the vow cosisting in serivce of the teacher, eating food got by beggin, etc.-firm in that, i.e. he should follow these; besides, mat-cittah, with the mind fixed on Me who am the supreme God; samyamya, by controlling; manah, the mind, i.e. by stopping the modifications of the mind; yuktah, through concentration, i.e. by becoming concentrated; asita, he should remain seated; matparah, with Me as the supreme Goal. Some passionate person may have his mind on a woman, but he does not accept the woman as his supreme Goal. What then? He accepts the king or Sive as his goal. But this one (the yogi) not only has his mind on Me but has Me as his Goal.

After that, now is being stated the result of Yoga:

15. Concentrating the mind thus for ever, the yogi of controlled mind achieves the Peace which culminates in Liberation and which abides in Me.

Yunjan, concentrating; atmanam, the mind; evam, thus, according to the methods shown above; sada, for ever; the yogi, niyata-manasah, of controlled mind; adhi-gacchati, achieves; santim, the Peace, the indifference to worldly attachments and possessions; nirvana-paramam, which culminates in Liberation; and mat-samstham, which abides in Me.

Now are bieng mentioned the rules about the yogi's food etc.:

16. But, O Arjuna, Yoga is not for one who eats too much, nor for one who does not eat at all; neither for one who habitually sleeps too long, nor surely for one who keeps awake.

(Tu, but) O Arjuna, Yoga na asti, is not; atiasnatah, for one who eats too much, for one who eats food more than his capacity; na ca, nor is Yoga; anasnatah, for one who does not eat; ekantam, at all. This accords with the Vedic text, 'As is well known, if one eats that much food which is within one's capacity, then it sustains him, it does not hurt him; that which is more, it harms him; that which is less, it does not sustain him' (Sa. Br.; Bo. Sm. 2.7.22). Therefore, a yogi should not eat food more or less than what is suitable for him. Or the meaning is that Yoga is not for one who eats more food than what is prescribed for a yogi in the scriptures on Yoga. Indeed, the quantity has been mentioned in, 'One half of the stomach is to be filled with food including curries; the third quarter is to be filled with water; but the fourth quarter is to be left for the movement of air,' etc.

Similarly, Yoga is not for ati svapna-silasya, one who habitually sleeps too long; and Yoga is na eva, surely not; jagratah, for one who keeps awake too long.

How, again, does Yoga become possibel? This is being stated:

17. Yoga becomes a destroyer of sorrow of one whose eating and movements are regulated, whose effort in works is moderate, and whose sleep and wakefulness are temperate.

Yogah bhavati, Yoga becomes; duhkha-ha, a destroyer of sorrow-that which destroys (hanti) all sorrows (duhkhani)-, i.e., Yoga destroys all worldly sorrows; yukta-ahara-viharasya, of one whose eating and movements are regulated- ahara (lit. food) means all that is gathered in, [According to the Commentator, ahara, which also means food, includes mental 'food as well. See Ch. 7.26.2.-Tr.] and vihara means moving about, walking; one for whom these two are regulated (yukta) is yukta-ahara-vihara-; and also yukta-cestasya, of one whose effort (cesta) is moderate (yukta); karmasu, in works; similarly, yukta-svapna-avabodhasya, of one whose sleep (svapna) and wakefulness (avabodha) are temperate (yukta), have regulated periods. To him whose eating and movements are regulated, whose effort in work is moderate, whose sleep and wakefulness are temperate, Yoga becomes a destroyer of sorrows.

When does a man become concentrated? That is being presently stated:

18. A man who has become free from hankering for all desirable objects is then said to be Self-absorbed when the controlled mind rests in the Self alone.

A yogi, nihsprhah, who has become free from hankering, thirst; sarva-kamebhyah, for all desirable objects, seen and unseen; is tada, then; ucyate, said to be; yuktah, Self-absorbed; yada, when; the viniyatam, controlled; cittam, mind, the mind that has been made fully one-pointed by giving up thought of external objects; avatisthate, rests; atmani eva, in the non-dual Self alone, i.e. he gets established in his own Self.

An illustration in being given for the mind of that yogi which has become Self-absorbed:

19. As a lamp kept in a windless place does not flicker, such is the simile thought of for the yogi whose mind is under control, and who is engaged in concentration on the Self.

Yatha, as; a dipah, lamp; nivata-sthah, kept in a windless place; na ingate, does not flicker; sa upama, such is the simile-that with which something is compared is an upama (smile)-; smrta, thought of, by the knowers of Yoga who understand the movements of the mind; yoginah, for the yogi; yata-citasya, whose mind is under control; and yunjatah, who is engaged in; yogam, concentration; atmanah, on the Self, i.e. who is practising Self-absorption.

By dint of practising Yoga thus, when the mind, comparable to a lamp in a windless place, becomes concentrated, then-

20. At the time when the mind restrained through the practice of Yoga gets withdrawn, and just when by seeing the Self by the self one remains contented in the Self alone [A.G. construes the word eva (certainly) with tusyati (remains contented).-Tr.];

Yatra, at the time when; cittam, the mind; niruddham, restrained, entirely prevented from wandering; uparamate, gets withdrawn; yoga-sevaya, through the practice of Yoga; ca, and; yatra eva, just when, at the very moment when; pasyan, by seeing, by experiencing; atmanam, the Self, which by nature is the supreme light of Consciousness; atmana, by the self, by the mind purified by concentration; tusyati, one remains contented, gets delighted; atmani eva, in one's own Self alone-. [Samadhi is of two kinds, Samprajnata and Asamprajnata. The concentration called right knowledge (Samprajnata) is that which is followed by reasoning, discrimination, blisss and unqualified egoism. Asamprajnata is that which is attained by the constant practice of cessation of all mental activity, in which the citta retains only the unmanifested impressions.-Cf. C. W., Vol. I, 1962, pp. 210, 212.

According to A.G. the verses upto 6.20 state in a general way the characteristics of samadhi. From the present verse to the 25th, Asamprajnata-samadhi is introduced and defined.-Tr.]


21. When one experienece that absolute Blisss which can be intuited by the intellect and which is beyond the senses, and being established (thus) this person surely does not swerve from Reality;

Yatra, when, at the time when; vetti, one experiences; tat, that; atyantikam, absolute-which is verily limitless, i.e. infinite; sukham, Bliss; yat, which; buddhi-grahyam, can be intuited by the intellect, intuited by the intellect alone, without the help of the senses; and which is atindriyam, beyond the senses, i.e. not objective; (-when one experieneces this kind of Bliss) and sthitah, being established in the nature of the Self; ayam, this person, the illumined one; eva, surely; na calati, does not swerve; tattvatah, from that Reality-i.e. does not deviate from the nature of Reality-.


22. Obtaining which one does not think of any other acquisition to be superior to that, and being established in which one is not perturbed even by great sorrow;

Labdhva, obtaining; yam, which-by acquiring which Self-attainment; na manyate, one does not think; that there is aparam, any other; labham, acquisition; tatah adhikam, superior to that; and also, sthitah,being established; yasmin, in which Reality of the Self; na vicalyate, one is not perturbed; api, even; guruna, by great; duhkhena, sorrow, as may be caused by being struck with weapons, etc.-.

The yoga that has been spoken of as a particular state of the Self, distinguished by its characterisics in the verses beginning with 'At the time when the mind gets withdrawn,' (20) etc.-

23. One should know that severance of contact with sorrow to be what is called Yoga. That Yoga has to be practised with perservance and with an undepressed heart.

Vidyat, one should know; tat, that; duhkha-samyoga-viyogam, severance (viyoga) of contact (samyoga) with sorrow (duhkha); to be verily yoga-sanjnitam, what is called Yoga-i.e. oen should know it through a negative definition.

After concluding the topic of the result of Yoga, the need for pursuing Yoga is again being spoken of in another way in order to enjoin 'preservance' and 'freedom from depression' as the disciplines for Yoga: Sah, that; yogah, Yoga, which has

the results as stated above; yoktavyah, has to be practised; niscayena, with perservance; and anirvinnacetasa, with an undepressed heart. That which is not (a) depressed (nirvinnam) is anirvinnam. What is that? The heart. (One has to practise Yoga) with that heart which is free from depression. This is the meaning.


24. By totally eschewing all desires which arise from thoughts, and restraining with the mind itself all the organs from every side;

25. One should gradually withdraw with the intellect endowed with steadiness. Making the mind fixed in the Self, one should not think of anything whatsoever.

Tyaktva, by eschewing; asesatah, totally, without a trace; sarvan, all; the kamam, desires; sankalpa-prabhavan, which arise from thoughts; and further, viniyamya, restraining; manasa eva, with the mind itself, with the mind endued with discrimination; indriya-gramam, all the organs; samantatah, from every side; uparamet, one should withdraw, abstain; sanaih sanaih, gradually, not suddenly;-with what?-buddhya, with the intellect;- possessed of what distinction?-dhrti-grhitaya, endowed with steadiness, i.e. with fortitude.

Krtva, making manah, the mind; atma-samstham, fixed in the Self, with the idea, 'The Self alone is all; there is nothing apart from It'-thus fixing the mind on the Self; na cintayet, one should not think of; kincit api, anything whatsoever.

Thisis the highest instruction about Yoga.

26. (The yogi) should bring (this mind) under the subjugation of the Self Itself, by restraining it from all those causes whatever due to which the restless, unsteady mind wanders away.

In the beginning, the yogi who is thus engaged in making the mind established in the Self, etat vasamnayet, should bring this (mind) under the subjugation; atmani eva, of the Self Itself; niyamya, by restraining; etat. it; tatah tatah, from all those causes whatever, viz sound etc.; yatah yatah, due to which, doe to whatever objects like sound etc.; the cancalam, restless, very restless; and therefore asthiram, unsteady; manah, mind; niscarati, wanders away, goes out due to its inherent defects. (It should be restrained) by ascertaining through discrimination those causes to be mere appearances, and with an attitude of detachment. Thus, through the power of practice of Yoga, the mind of the yogi merges in the Self Itself.

27. Supreme Bliss comes to this yogi alone whose mind has become perfectly tranquil, whose (quality of) rajas has been eliminated, who has become identified with Brahman, and is taintless.

Uttamam, supreme, unsurpassable; sukham, Blisss; upaiti, comes; hi enam yoginam, to this yogi alone; prasanta-manasam, whose mind has become perfectly tranquil; santa-rejasam, whose (quality of) rajas has been eliminated, i.e. whose rajas, viz defects such as delusion etc. ['The five klesas, pain-bearing obstructions, are: ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, and clinging to life' (P.Y.Su.2.3).] have been destroyed; brahma-bhutam, who has become identified with Brahman, who is free even while living, who has got the certitude that Bramhman is all; and akalmasam, who is taintless, free from vice etc.

28. By concentrating his mind constantly thus, the taintless yogi easily attains the absolute Bliss of contact with Brahman.

Sada yunjan, by constantly concentrating; atmanam, his mind; evam, thus, in the process stated; vigata-kalmasah, the taintles, sinless yogi, free from the obstacles to Yoga; sukhena, easily; asnute, attains; atayantam, absolute-that which exists by transcending limits-, supreme, unsurpassable; sukham, Bliss; of brahma-samsparsam, contact with Brahman-the Bliss that is in touch [In touch with, i.e. identified with, homogeneous with, in essential oneness with.] with the supreme Brahman.

Now is being shown that result of Yoga which is the realization of identity with Brahman and which is the cause of the extinction of the whole mundane existence . [Liberation is conceived of in two ways-total cessation of sorrows, and attainment of unsurpassable Bliss.]

29. One who has his mind Self-absorbed through Yoga, and who has the vision of sameness every-where, see this Self existing in everything, and every-thing in his Self.

Yoga-yukta-atma, one who has his mind Self-absorbed through Yoga, whose mind is merged in samadhi; and sarvatra-sama-darsanah, who has the vision of sameness everywhere-who has the vision (darsana) of sameness (sama-tva), the knowledge of identity of the Self and Brahman everywhere (sarvatra) without exception, in all divergent objects beginning from Brahma to immovable things; iksate, sees; atmanam, the Self, his own Self; sarva-bhuta-stham, existing in everything; and sarva-bhutani, everything from Brahma to a clump of grass; unified atmani, in his Self.

The fruit of this realization of the unity of the Self is being stated:

30. One who sees Me in everything, and sees all things in Me-I do not out of his vision, and he also is not lost to My vision.

Yah, one who; pasyati, sees; mam, Me, Vasudeva, who am the Self of all; sarvatra, in all things; ca, and; sees sarvam, all things, all created things, beginning from Brahma; mayi, in Me who am the Self of all;-aham, I who am God; na pranasyami, do not go out; tasya,of his vision-of one who has thus realized the unity of the Self; ca sah, and he also; na pranasyati, is not lost; me, to My vision. That man of realization does not get lost to Me, to Vasudeva, because of the indentity between him and Me, for that which is called one's own Self is surely dear to one, and since it is I alone who am the seer of the unity of the Self in all.

31. That yogi who, being established in unity, adores Me as existing in all things, he exist in Me-in whatever condition he may be.

This being so, i.e. after reiterating (in the first line of the present verse) the idea of full realization contained in the previous verse, the result of that (realization), viz Liberation, is being spoken of (in the second line): The yogi, the man of full realization; vartate, exists; mayi, in Me, in the supreme state of Visnu; sarvatha api, in whatever condition; vartamanah, he may be. He is verily ever-free. The idea is that he is not obstructed from Liberation by anything.


32. O Arjuna, that yogi is considered the best who judges what is happiness and sorrow in all beings by the same standard as he would apply to himself.

Atma-aupamyena: Atma means the self, i.e. oneself. That by which a comparison is made is an upama. The abstract from of that is aupamya. Atma-aupamya means a standard as would be applicable to oneself.

O Arjuna, yah, he who; pasyati, judges; sarvatra, in all beings; samam, by the same standard, in the same manner; atma-aupamyena, as he would apply to himself-. And what does he view with sameness? That is being stated: As sukham, happiness, is dear to me, so also is happiness agreeable to all creatures.

Va, and-the word va is (used) in the sense of and; just as yadi, whatever; duhkham, sorrow is unfavourable, unwelcome to me, so also is sorrow unwelcome and unfavourable to all creatures.

In this way, he looks upon happiness and sorrow as pleasant and unpleasant to all bengs, by the same standard as he would apply to himself. He does not act against anyone. That is , he is non-injurious. He who is thus non-injurious and steadfast in full Illumination, sah, that yogi; paramah matah, is considered as the best among all the yogis.

Noticing that his Yoga-as spoken of and consisting in full Illumination- is hard to acquire, Arjuna, with a view to hearing the sure means to its attainment, said:

Arjuna said:

33. O Madhusudana (Krsna), this Yoga that has been spoken of by You as sameness, I do not see its steady continuance, owing to the restlessness (of the mind).

O Madhusudana, ayam, this; yogah, Yoga; yah proktah, that has been spoken of; tvaya, by You; samyena, as sameness; na pasyami, I do not see, I cannot conceive;-what?-etasya, its; sthiram, steady, undisturbed; sthitim, continuance; cancalatvat, owing to the unsteadiness of the mind, which is well known.

34. For, O Krsna, the mind is unsteady, turbulent, strong and obstinate. I consider its control to be as greatly difficult as of the wind.

Hi, for, O Krsna-the word krsna is derived from the root krs [Another derivative meaning may be-'the capacity to draw towards Himself all glorious things of this and the other world'.], in the sense of 'uprooting'; He is Krsna because He uproots the defects such as sin etc. of devotees-; manah, the mind; is cancalam, unsteady. Not only is it very unsteady, it is also pramathi, turbulent. It torments, agitates, the body and the organs. It brings them under extraneous control. Besides, it is balavat, strong, not amenable ot anybody's restraint. Again, it is drdham, obstinate, hard as the (large shark called) Tantu-naga (also known as Varjuna-pasa).

Aham, I; manye, consider; tasya, its-of the mind which is of this kind; nigrahah, control, restraint; to be (suduskaram, greatly difficult;) vayoh iva, as of the wind. Control of the wind is difficult. I consider the control of the mind to be even more difficult than that. This is the idea.

'This is just as you say.'

The Blessed Lord said:

35. O mighty-armed one, undoubtedly the mind is untractable and restless. But, O son of Kunti, it is brought under control through practice and detachment.

Mahabaho, O mighty-armed one; asamsayam, undoubtedly-there is no doubt with regard to this; that the manah, mind; is durnigraham, untractable; and calm, restless. Tu, but; it-the modifications of the mind in the form of distractions-grhyate, is brought under control; abhyasena, through practice- abhyasa means repetition of some idea or thought of the mind one some mental plane ['Some mental plane' suggests some object of concentration.]-; and vairagyena, through detachment-vairagya means absence of hankering for enjoyment of desirable things, seen or unseen, as a result of the practice of discerning their defect.

That mind is thus brought undr control, restrained, i.e. completely subdued.

By him, however, who has not controlled his mind-

36. My conviction is that Yoga is difficult to be attained by one of uncontrolled mind. But it is possible to be attained through the (above) means by one who strives and has a controlled mind.

Me, My; matih, conviction; is iti, that; Yoga is dusprapah, difficult to be attained; asamyata-atmana, by one of uncontrolled mind, by one who has not controlled his mind, the internal organ, by practice and detachment. Tu, but, on the other hand; sakyah, Yoga is possible; avaptum, to be attained; yatata, by one who strives, who repeatedly makes effort; upayatah, through the means described above; and vasyatmany, by one of controlled mind, by him whose mind has been brought under control through practice and detachment.

As to that, by accepting the practice of Yoga, actions leading to the attainment of this or the next world may be renounced by a yogi, and yet he may not attain the result of perfection in Yoga, i.e. full Illumination, which is the means to Liberation. Consequently, at the time of death his mind may waver from the path of Yoga. Apprehending that he may be thereby ruined.

Arjuna said:

37. O krsna, failing to achieve perfection in Yoga, what goal does one attain who, though possessed of faith, is not diligent and whose mind becomes deflected from Yoga?

O krsna, aprapya, failing to achieve; yoga-sam-siddhim, perfection in Yoga, the result of Yoga, i.e. full Illumination; kam gatim, what goal; gacchati, does one attain; who, though upetah sraddhaya, possessed of faith, belief in God and in the other world; is ayatih, not diligent, devoid of effort on the path of Yoga; and, at the time of death, too, calita-manasah, whose mind becomes deflected; yogat, from Yoga, (i.e.) whose memory has been lost?

38. O Mighty-armed one, fallen from both, without support, deluded on the path to Brahman, does he not get ruined like a scattered cloud?

Mahabaho, O Mighty-armed one; ubhaya-vibhrastah, fallen from both, having fallen from the Path of Action and the Path of Yoga; apratisthah, without support; vimudhah, deluded-having become deluded; brahmanah pathi, on the path of Brahman, on the path leading to Brahman; kaccit na, does he not; nasyati, get ruined; iva, like; a chinna-abhram, scattered cloud? Or is it that he does not?

39. O Krsna, You should totally eradicate this doubt of mine. For, none other than Yourself can be the dispeller of this doubt!

O krsna, arhasi, You should; asesatah, totally; chettum, eradicate, remove; etat, this; samsayam, doubt; me, of mine. Hi, for; na tvad anyah, none other than You, be he a sage or a god; upapadyate, can be; chetta, the despeller, the destroyer; asya, of this; samsayasya, doubt. Therefore you Yourself should dispel (the doubt). This is the meaning.

The Blessed Lord said:

40. O Partha, there is certainly no ruin for him here or hereafter. For, no one engaged in good meets with a deplorable end, My son!

O Partha, eva vidyate, there is certainly; na vinasah, no ruin; tasya, for him; iha, here, in this world; or amutra, hereafter, in the other world. Ruin means a birth inferior to the previous one; that is not there for one who has fallen from Yoga. Hi, for; na kascit, no one; kalyana-krt, engaged in good; gacchati, meets with; durgatim, a deplorable end; tata, My son! A father is called tata because he perpetuates himself (tanoti) through the son. Since the father himself becomes the son, therefore the son also is called tata. A disciple is called putra (son). [Sri krsna addressed Arjuna thus because the latter was his disciple.]

But what happens to him?

41. Attaining the worlds of the righteous, and residing there for eternal years, the man fallen from Yoga is born in the house of the pious and the properous.

Prapya, attaining, reaching, lokan, the worlds; punya-krtam, of the righteous, of the performers of the Horse-sacrifice, etc.; and usitva, residing there, enjoying the stay; for sasvatih, eternal; samah, years; (then,) when the period of enjoyment is over, the yoga-bhrastah, man fallen from Yoga, the one who had set out on the path Yoga, i.e. a monk-as understood from the force of the context [From Arjuna's question it minght appear that he was asking about the fate of people who fall from both the paths, viz that of Karma and of Meditation. But the possibility of getting ruined by performing actios (rites and duties) according to Vedic instructions does not arise, since their results are inevitable. However, the question of ruin is relevant in the case of a monk, for on the one hand he has renounced actions, and on the other he may fail to attain perfection in Yoga in the present life. Hence, the Lord's answer relates to the fall and ruin of a monk alone.]; abhijayate, is born; gehe, in the house; sucinam, of the pious, who perform actions according to scriptural instructions; and srimatam, who are prosperous.

42. Or he is born in the family of wise yogis [Persons possessing knowledge of Brahman. (S. concedes that some rare householders also can have this knowledge, and he cites the instances of Vasistha, Agastya, Janaka and Asvapati of olden days, and Vacaspati and the author of Khanada of recent times.)] only. Such a birth as is of this kind is surely more difficult to get in the world.

Athava, or; bhavati, he is born; kule, in the family; dhimatam, of wise; yoginam, yogis; eva, only, who are poor-which is different from the family of the prosperous. Etat janma, such a birth; yat idrsam, as is of this kind-a birth that is in the family of poor yogis, in a family as described; is hi, surely; durlabha-taram, more difficult to get, as compared with the earlier one; loke, in the world.


43. There he becomes endowed with that wisdom acquired in the previous body. and he strives more than before for perfection, O scion of the Kuru dynasty.

Tatra, there, in the family of yogis; labhate, tam buddhisamyogam, he becomes endowed with that wisdom; paurva-dehikam, acquired in the previous body. And yatate, he strives; bhuyah, more intensely; tatah, than before, more intensely than that tendency acquired in the previous birth; samsiddau, for, for the sake of, perfection; kuru-nandana, O scion of the Kuru dynasty.

How does he become endowed with the wisdom acquired in the previous body? That is being answered:

44. For, by that very past practice, he is carried forward even in spite of himself! Even a seeker of Yoga transcends the result of the performance of Vedic rituals!

Hi, for; tena eva, by that very; purva-abhyasena, past practice-the powerful habit formed in the past life; hiryate, he, the yogi who had fallen from Yoga, is carried forward; avasah api, even inspite of himself. If he had not committed any act which could be characterized as unrigtheous etc. and more powerful than the tendency created by the practice of Yoga, then he is carried forward by the tendency created by the practice of Yoga. If he had committed any unrighteous act which was more powerful, then, even the tendency born of Yoga gets surely overpowered. But when that is exhausted, the tendency born of Yoga begins to take effect by itself. The idea is that it does not get destroyed, even though it may lie in abeyance over a long period.

Jijnasuh api, even a seeker; yogasya, of Yoga from the force of the context, the person implied is a monk who had engaged in the path of Yoga with a desire to known his true nature, but had falled from Yoga-; ;even he, ativartate, trascends-will free himself from; sabda-brahma, the result of the performance of Vedic ritual. What to speak of him who after understanding Yoga, may undertake it with steadfastness!

And why is the state of Yoga higher?

45. However, the yogi, applying himself assiduously, becoming purified from sin and attaining perfection through many births, thereby acheives the highest Goal.

The yogi, the man of Knowledge; yatamanah, applying himself; prayatnat, assiduously, i.e. striving more intensely; and as a result, samsuddha-kilbisah, becoming purified from sin; and aneka-janma-samsiddhah, attaining perfection through many births- gathering together tendencies little by little in many births, and attaining perfection through that totality of impressions acquired in many births; tatah, thereby coming to have full Illumination; yati, achieves; the param, highest, most perfect; ;gatim, Goal.

Since this is so, therefore.

46. A yogi is higher than men of austerity; he is considered higher even than men of knowledge. The yogi is also higher than men of action. Therefore, O Arjuna, do you become a yogi.

A yogi is adhikah, higher; tapasvibhyah, than men of austerity; he is matah, considered; adhikah, higher than, superior to; api, even; jnanibhyah, men of knowledge. Jnana here means scriptural learning. (A yogi is superior) to even those who possess that (learning). The yogi is adhikah, higher, greater; karmibhyah, than men of action-karma means Agnihotra etc.; (greater) than those who adhere to them. Since this is so, tasmat, therefore; O Arjuna, bhava, do you become a yogi.

47. Even among all the yogis, he who adores Me with his mind fixed on Me and with faith, he is considered by Me to be the best of the yogis.

Api, even; sarvesam yoginam, among all the yogis, among those who are immersed in meditation on Rudra, Aditya, and others; yah, he who; bhajate, adores; mam, Me; antaratmana,with his mind; madgatena, fixed on Me, concentrated on Me who am Vasudeva; and sraddhavan, with faith, becoming filled with faith; sah, he; is matah, considered; me, by Me; to be yukta-tamah, the best of the yogis, engaged in Yoga most intensely. [It has been shown thus far that Karma-yoga has monasticism as its ultimate culmination. And in the course of expounding Dhyana-yoga together with its ausxiliaries, and instructing about the means to control the mind, the Lord rules out the possibility of absolute ruin for a person fallen from Yoga. He has also stated that steadfastness in Knowledge is for a man who knows the meaning of the word tvam (thou) (in 'Thou are That'). All these instructions amount to declaring that Liberation comes from the knowledge of the great Upanisadic saying, 'Thou art That.']