CHAPTER VI

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Introduction

DHYANA YOGA   OVERVIEW – THE YOGA OF MEDITATION   Yogi becomes Jnani 1 – 9 Preparation for Meditation 10 – 15 Prerequisites for Meditation 16 – 18 Control Calms the Mind 19 – 24 Meditation ushers Realisation 25 – 28 Test of Realisation 29 – 32 Mind difficult to Control 33 – 36 What if Unsuccessful 37 – 42 Yogi attains Goal 43 – 47   […]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 1 & Verse 2

1. Sannyasa is the most misunderstood concept. Everyone thinks of a sannyasi as one who has given up family, career and possessions and retired to the Himalayas. Now that you are an adult would you make a big deal of having given up toys? Similarly, renunciation is growth out of spiritual infancy into a higher plane. The value for your erstwhile preoccupations drops. Physically you may or may not retain worldly objects and relationships. Both Janaka and Buddha were men of renunciation. Janaka was a king with all the trappings of wealth and power. Buddha walked away from his kingdom, wealth and family. Here Krsna defines a sannyasi. A sannyasi is one who performs his obligatory duties without depending on the fruit of action. There are three types of action: • Desire-driven selfish action • Desire-driven unselfish action • Obligatory action A bhogi , worldly person, performs selfish action. A yogi who has just embarked on the spiritual path is still acting within the purview of desire but is unselfish. A sannyasi, advanced spiritual seeker, has no desire for the world. The only desire motivating him is desire for Realisation. Hence with reference to the world he is desireless and performs only obligatory action. Even obligatory duty must be performed without seeking the fruit of action. Anxiety for fruit robs you of the result. Present action itself is future fruit. If each action is performed perfectly the fruit will be yours. While performing present action if the mind slips to [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 3 & Verse 4

3. A yogi who still has desires for the world needs to perform action dedicated to a higher cause. Then existing desires get exhausted. Since the attention is on the higher the action does not rebound as more desire. This is Karma Yoga. An advanced spiritual seeker with very few desires needs to reflect, contemplate, be absorbed in the thought of Atman, and meditate to get to Realisation. This is described here as shama serenity. There are three processes that make for life – receipt of stimuli from the world through the organs of perception, reaction of the stimuli with the desires in the mind and response back into the world as action. A yogi with many desires reacts and responds to almost every stimulus. He is an active person. To become spiritual he needs to convert action to worship. A sannyasi merely takes in stimuli. He does not react or respond to most of them. His life is largely that of perception which is converted to worship by way of Jnana Yoga, Path of Knowledge. Total fulfilment is the goal of human evolution, not organic satisfaction. You are already totally fulfilled. You just do not know it. This ignorance of your fullness is the cause of all problems. Hence knowledge is of the essence. Knowledge of your fullness. Then desires drop. Nothing takes a realised Person out of himself except compassion. Otherwise he is krtartha fulfilled within and krtakrtya satisfied with having done what had to be done. 4. [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 5 & Verse 6

5. Take responsibility for yourself. You have created your present situation. You can redeem yourself through knowledge and the right effort. In every aspect of life you have to do it yourself. You cannot delegate it to anyone else. Development cannot be by proxy. If you want to improve your health and fitness you have to exercise and eat healthy. To develop the mind you need to cultivate positive emotions and avoid negativity. To educate yourself you have to study and expand your intellect. But when it comes to the spiritual field you pass the buck on to God! You are your own friend when you use your personality – body, mind, intellect – towards your own progress. You become your own foe when you use the very same equipment to go downhill. Shakespeare said, "Making a famine where abundance lies, Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel." 6. In verse 5 the word 'atma' means the individual personality, the body-mind-intellect. Here the same word means Self, Spirit. A friend cares for you, does good to you and gives solace, comfort and joy. This is the nature of Atman. When the body, mind and intellect are controlled Atman is a benefactor. When they are not controlled Atman appears inimical. It is never really an enemy. Make Atman your friend and ally by controlling the body and mind. The greater the control the more help you seem to get. Control is the key. If you have no control the [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 7 & Verse 8

7. Verses 7, 8 and 9 describe a jnani, realised Soul. This verse deals with subjective changes. One who is: Jitatmana – self-controlled. At the physical level he has complete control over the sense organs and their affinity to sense objects. Prashanta – serene. At the mental plane he is supremely peaceful. There are no desires gurgling within causing agitations. Nor is he dependent on anything in the world. Paramatma – The little self has merged with the capital Self. The individuality has dissolved in the vastness of Brahman. Samahita – balanced in the fluctuations of the world. He is not ruffled by heat or cold, joy or sorrow or honour and dishonour. It is the mind that gets carried away. He has the intellect firmly in place which has a clear understanding of the nature of the world. His identification has shifted from the body, mind and intellect to Atman. Hence he does not get affected. He remains a sakshi witness of all the happenings and experiences. The verse talks about the jnani with reference to variations in objects of the world. The Realised One is: Jnanavijnanatrptatma – fulfilled with knowledge and wisdom. Mere knowledge is an additional burden on you. It is only when you gain wisdom, when you are transformed to the higher state, are you truly spiritual. Having gained knowledge think, reflect upon it, ponder over it, experiment with it and live it. Keep at it until you absorb it and make it your own. Kutashta [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 9 & Verse 10

9. The jnani views different kinds of people equally. The key word is samabuddhi . The verse describes various people.   Materially good and bad people are: Suhrut – good-hearted, potentially good Dveshya – hostile, potentially bad Mitra – friend, manifest their goodness Ari – adversary, manifest their evil Udasina – unconcerned, may be good or bad Madhyastha – impartial, neither good nor evil Bandhu – relative, intends and does good The spiritual good and bad are: Sadhu – saint, righteous Papi – sinner, unrighteous When a waker re-enters a dream he is samabuddhi to the people in the dream. Similarly a Realised One who has moved up to the fourth plane of Consciousness has equal regard for all. The difference is in knowledge. Knowledge of the higher gives equal vision to the lower. You begin by understanding that vasanas, nature, functions. Everyone is a helpless victim of his own disposition. Try as he might he cannot change in the present. Then you are at peace. When you complain or pass judgement it only indicates a lack of understanding on your part. Hence you are disturbed and agitated. How absurd to suffer for another’s fault! As you begin to gain this understanding you see people with equal regard. If they had been exposed to the right knowledge and upbringing they would be good. Everyone is a victim of nature and nurture. Then you become stable, never fluctuating. Only an unaffected person functions properly. Such a one excels in the world [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 11 & Verse 12 – 13

11. Spiritual development is about cleansing of the inner personality of the dirt of vasanas. For this you must develop an acute awareness of dirt, both external as well as internal. Begin with gross, external dirt present in the environment. Keep the environment neat and spotless. Then focus on the internal dirt of selfishness, ego and desire. Only a relatively pure and untainted mind is fit for meditation. Hence the emphasis on a clean surrounding.   Have a seat of your own that is neither too high nor too low. Just right to enable you to sit on it for long without any disturbance.   12 & 13. The mind and senses should be controlled before you embark on mediation. This is extremely important as the mind is unable to even concentrate, let alone meditate if there is no control. The mind must be single-pointed. This is achieved by reducing desires by the practices of Karma, Bhakti and Jnana Yogas. Practise yoga, union with Atman. Repeat the mantra of your choice, aloud in the beginning and reduce to mental whispers as you proceed. All this is done for self-purification. Then you see your reflection. You see it there but understand it within. The objective sadhana leads to a subjective experience. Divinity already exists within. You only remove the obstacles that stand in the way. The body must be held upright, with head and neck straight, steady and motionless. Gaze at the tip of your nose, looking within. The intellect should [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 14 & Verse 15

14. The preparation for meditation continues:   Prashantatma – Mind tranquil, serene, calm, and mature. Desires have been reduced. Vigatabhi – Fearless, like Prahlada. No fear of the unknown or fear of not getting the fruit. When your actions are positive and directed towards getting to Atman you are confident in the law of Karma. Hence fearless. Brahmacharivrate sthita – Established in brahmacharya, treading the path to Brahman. The intellect disallows anything that obstructs your progress to Atman. The middle path, neither unintelligent denial and frustration nor reckless indulgence in sense objects. Just intelligent sense enjoyment. This is internal control and has no reference to physical contact. The mind is on the higher so it is not attracted to lower enchantments. Mana samyamya – Mind subdued. You do not fall prey to emotion, positive or negative. Likes and dislikes are under intellectual supervision. You do not fall into the trap of emotional manipulation. Maccitta – Gross intellect focussed on Me. Matpara – Subtle intellect absorbed in thought of Me. ‘Me’ means Atman, your real Self. There are three stages: 1. When the mind is fully prepared it is like a bird in a cage. It is fit for meditation. 2. The mind has desires so is given a little freedom and told to focus on a larger canvas of the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures. 3. The mind is full of desires and is allowed full freedom to engage in rituals, pilgrimages, stories and other entertainment. 15. The importance [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 16 & Verse 17

16. This verse describes those who are not fit for meditation. People who eat too much or too little are the rajasika and tamasika ones. A sattvika person eats just right. Food means all inputs, food for all senses. Sense denial leads to frustration while excessive indulgence results in fatigue and ill health. Intelligent sense control enables maximum enjoyment as well as conservation and redirection of energy towards the goal. Those who sleep too much are tamasika. They underutilise the body, mind and intellect. Rajasika people have agitated minds and are sleep deprived. A moderate, well regulated life is conducive for meditation. Buddha referred to it as madhya pantha, middle path. Everyone is at a different level. You need to plan your life according to your specific needs. Inward looking people are content with less while extroverts need more of the world. 17. This verse enumerates the positive traits that are conducive for meditation. Life consists of three processes – receipt of stimuli from the world through organs of perception, reaction of the stimuli with desires in the mind and intellect, and responses back into the world through organs of action. All three processes need to be moderate, neither excessive nor restricted. Ahara or food refers to receipt, vihara or leisure means reaction and karma is response. What kind of stimuli enter you? Are they positive or negative? What do you watch on TV? Do you engage in gossip or inspiring conversation? Is your mind racked by greed, jealousy and hatred [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 18 & Verse 19

18. Who is a yukta purusa, one established in union with Self? Viniyatam cittam - One with a completely restrained mind. This is achieved with a strong intellect and through the practices of Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Act with the attitude of giving, embrace all beings with love and understand the impermanence of life. Atmani eva avatishthate - Mind fixed on the Self alone. The mind is generally restless and oscillating. It does not come to rest anywhere. Nihsprha sarvakamebhya – Free from craving for all objects of desire. When you feel fulfilled the mind does not generate the lava of desires that normally arises when you feel deprived and deficient.   19. The metaphor of a lamp in a windless place is often used in the scriptures. The flame represents the mind. The similarities are: 1. When the flame flickers it is of no use to people. An agitated mind is of nuisance value to others. 2. When the flame wavers there is no light. When the mind is disturbed you have no access to your knowledge. 3. The slightest breeze disturbs the flame. Passing fancies disturb the mind. You need the shade of spiritual discipline to protect the mind. 4. A steady flame points upward and exhausts the oil. A calm mind thinks of the higher and burns the fuel of vasanas, unmanifest desires. 5. A disturbed flame is easily put out. An agitated mind cannot think or act. 6. The flame remains as long [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 20 & Verse 21

20. The mind comes to rest through the practices of Karma, Bhakti and Jnana Yogas, not by bringing the body to rest. What makes the mind fickle and restless is desire gurgling in the mind. Manage and control desire with the intellect. Reduce the number of desires by fixing a higher ideal and working dedicatedly for it. Improve the quality of desires by substituting negative feelings with positive, loving emotions. Change the direction of desire from the transient insubstantial world to the permanent, transcendental Factor. Then the mind will automatically look within. The mind is stilled when you see Atman in the Self by the Self. As long as the mind is outward-looking it will be agitated and edgy. Acquisition never ends and enjoyment never begins. The moment it looks within there is peace. When you discover Atman there is infinite Bliss.   21. Realisation is beyond the senses. It is a subjective becoming. Not an objective experience. You may follow objective practices but in the end it is beyond all worldly things. This verse refers to savikalpa samadhi as it speaks of grasping by the intellect. The intellect has high penetrating power and is the last equipment to go but it has to be transcended in order to realise Atman. The intellect needs to become concentrated and one-pointed. This happens when you train the intellect with subtler realities. Once established in Atman there is no going back. You never lose It. Development is always unidirectional. When you graduate from [...]

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI – Verse 22 & Verse 23

22. Atman is the Highest. Having attained Realisation you understand there is nothing superior to It. It is the ultimate Achievement. Then even the greatest sorrow does not affect you. You have gained the Infinite. Take away anything from Infinite there is still Infinite that remains. Nothing can diminish Infinity. Similarly, when you have grown out of transient, childish thrills to the fulfilment of the Spirit material loss does not affect you. 23You have unnecessarily bound yourself to sorrow and suffering. The problem does not lie with the world. It is your unintelligent identification with body, mind and intellect that results in pain. Your matter layers, body, mind and intellect, will get affected by the world. But you are not matter. You are Spirit. You only appear to be affected because of your bondage and association with the matter layers. It is the investment of thought on body, mind, intellect that causes the problem. Think of body, mind, intellect and you become them. Thereafter whatever happens to them affects you. Think of Atman and the bondage loosens. Your affectation reduces. When identification with Atman is complete there is zero affectation. You must pursue Atman with firm conviction and an undespondent mind. The spiritual path does not give immediate results. In fact, you only experience the pain of having given up worldly joys in the beginning. There is a tendency to get disillusioned and give up. Hence Krsna reiterates that one must be dogged and not get disappointed. For this the [...]

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