Home > Bhagavad Gita > Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation

Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation

13 Apr 2017   Shanti Gowans
Krishna said:
He who performs his duty
with no concern for its results 
is a true yogi (a renunciate, sannyasi, and a karmayogi),
not he who refrains from actions. (1)
Know that right action itself is renunciation.
In the yoga of action, 
you first renounce your own selfish will. (2)
For the person who wishes to mature,
 the yoga of (disinterested) action
is the stepping-stone.
For the (contemplative) person, 
already mature,
serenity is the path. (3)
A person is mature in Yoga
when he ceases to have any attachment
either for the objects of the senses,
or to actions,
and has renounced his selfish will. (4)
He should lift up the self by the Self (i.e. one's own efforts),
and not degrade the self by sinking into the selfish;
for the self is the only friend of the Self,
and it's only enemy. (5)
Man's will and intention is the only friend of the Self.
It is the same will and intention which acts as the enemy;
For when a man is self-controlled,
his will acts as the friend,
but the same will of a person
who has not mastered his lower self (consisting of the mind, senses and body)
behaves antagonistically, like the cruelest enemy. (6)

This verse clearly indicates the influence that the sense of personal doer-ship has on the psyche of the individual. To the extent that you feel yourself to be in control over your destiny, that it is your free will which will dictate your future in this world, your will and intention, your mind, will be your enemy. Yet the same mind will be your friend when you truly believe and accept that the only will that can prevail at any time is the divine, cosmic will, and that you yourself are merely an instrument operated upon by this power. It is either a matter of a total surrender to the divine power, or a strong sense of personal choice and personal responsibility: one is wisdom, the other is ignorance.

When a person has mastered himself, 
his mind is perfectly at ease 
in the midst of cold and heat,
in pleasure or pain,
in praise or blame,
in honour or disgrace. (7)
The mature Yogi whose mind,
fulfilled in wisdom, resolute,
looks with equal detachment
at a lump of earth, rock or a piece of pure gold. (8)
He looks impartially on all:
those who love him or hate him,
upon well-wishers and neutrals
as well as his relatives, his enemies, his friends,
the virtuous and also the wicked. (9)
Living in seclusion,
the man of Yoga
should constantly practice meditation alone,
mastering his mind and body,
free from desire and void of possessions. (10)
Sitting down in a spot
which is neither too high nor too low,
that is cleaned and free from dirt and other impurities,
covered with the sacred (Kusha) grass mat below,
a deerskin in the middle
and a cloth uppermost. (11)
And occupying the seat,
he should concentrate with his whole mind, 
and control the functions of the mind and senses
on a single object.
If he practises in this way,
he will soon become pure. (12)
Holding the trunk, head and neck straight
with posture steady and unmoving,
gazing at the tip of his nose,
without letting his eyes look elsewhere, (13)
He should sit there,
calm and fearless,
firm in the vow to be complete chaste,
with his whole mind controlled,
directed, focused and absorbed in me. (14)
Thus, constantly mastering his mind,
the man of Yoga grows peaceful,
attains supreme liberation and vanishes
into my bliss. (15)
The Yoga of meditation
is neither for a person who overeats,
nor for one who observes a complete fast;
it is neither for him who is given to drowsiness,
nor for him who is restless. (16)
Yoga, which destroys all sorrow,
is accomplished only by him
who is regulated in food and recreation,
moderate in action,
and regulated in sleep and waking. (17)
When the mind grows clear and peaceful, 
free from selfish desires,
absorbed in the Self alone,
he is truly established in Yoga. (18)
As a lamp sheltered from the wind, 
does not flicker,
so the yogi whose disciplined mind
has vanished into the transcendent Self,
remains always steady in meditation. (19)
Curbed through the practice of meditation,
the mind becomes still 
and realises the transcendent Self
through the self,
and rests in the Self, 
rejoicing. (20)
Experiencing the eternal and infinite joy
that can be reached by understanding beyond the senses,
he does not fallback from the truth. (21)
And having obtained this state,
in which he knows that there is no higher attainment,
he is grounded there,
unshaken, even by the deepest sorrow. (22)
This is true Yoga,
the unbinding of the bonds of sorrow. 
Practice this Yoga with determination
and with a courageous heart. (23)
Completely renouncing all desires
born of his own selfish will, 
a person should learn to fully restrain his unruly senses
with his mind. (24)
He should,
through gradual practice,
attain tranquillity
and focusing on the Self, 
he should think of nothing at all. (25)
Drawing back the restless and wandering mind
from all the objects after which it runs,
he should rein it in
and constantly bring it back to the Self. (26)
For to the Yogi
whose mind is perfectly serene,
who is clear,
with passion subdued forever,
he enters absolute joy, and truth,
knowledge and bliss comes as a matter of course. (27)
Mastering mind and body,
purified from all sin,
he easily enjoys true freedom
and the infinite bliss of oneness with All-that-is. (28)
The Yogi who is united in identity
with the all-pervading, infinite consciousness,
and sees unity everywhere,
beholds the Self present in all beings
and all beings as assumed in the Self. (29)
Mature in yoga,
impartial everywhere he looks,
he sees himself in all beings
and all beings in himself. (30)
The Yogi who sees me in all things
and all things within me,
will never lose sight of me,
nor do I ever become lost to him. (31)
Established in union with me,
he realises that I exist in all beings:
wherever be his mode of living,
such a yogi always abides in me.
Seeing all beings as equal in suffering or joy,
because they are like himself, 
such a yogi is deemed the highest of all. (32)

What this verse says that in essence, while the universe appears diverse, all is One, and it is the wise yogi who sees this truth behind the apparent diversity, and thus becomes one with its essential unity. 

Noumenon and phenomena, potential energy and activated energy, thought and action are essentially one in unicity and are dual only in phenomenality. The ocean remains the same whether or not there are waves on its surface. It is as if the ocean sports with the waves in a playful mood. Similarly, energy activates its potentiality into the actuality of phenomenal life, but essentially they are not two. Unmanifest noumenon, in a burst of love energy, becomes the phenomenal manifestation - life and living as we know it - but essentially there is only the unity of wholeness. When the love play is over, when the burst of energy is exhausted, the manifested phenomena merge with the unmanifested noumenon in unicity.

As the Bhagavatam puts it:

"As a spider weaves its thread out of its own mouth, plays with it and then withdraws it agin into itself, so the external unchangeable Lord, who is without form, without attributes, who is absolute knowledge and absolute bliss, evolves the entire universe out of Himself, plays with it for a while, and again withdraws it into Himself."

The one who really sees this Truth, realises his own nature as the Self.

Arjuna said:
Krishna, you have taught
that the essence of yoga is equanimity;
but since the mind is so restless,
how can this be achieved? (33)
The mind is restless, unsteady, turbulent, tenacious and powerful;
truly it seems to be as difficult to master as the wind. (34)
Krishna said:
You are right Arjuna,
the mind is restless and difficult to master,
but it can be brought under control
by constant, repeated practice (of meditation)
and by exercising detachment. (35)
Yoga is difficult to achieve
by those who lack self-restraint.
However, if you keep striving ceaselessly,
in the right way,
you can achieve it. (36)
Arjuna said:
Krishna, what happens to the person who,
though endowed with faith, but no self-control,
wanders from the path of yoga
before be becomes emancipated? (37)
Rootless and insubstantial,
doesn't he fade like a cloud in the sky,
losing both in the here and now,
and the hereafter? (38)
Krishna, this is the doubt that troubles me
and I beg you to please help me,
for only you can clear the doubt
from my mind. (39)
Krishna said: 
My dear Arjuna,
there is no loss for him,
neither here nor hereafter,
for no one who does good work
will ever meet with an evil end. (40)
He who has fallen from Yoga,
obtains higher worlds (heavens and so on)
to which men of meritorious deeds alone are entitled,
and having resided there for countless years,
takes birth to parents who are upright and wealthy. (41)
He may even be born
in the family of enlightened Yogis;
but such a birth as fortunate as this
is more difficult to obtain in this world. (42)
There he regains the spiritual insight
acquired in his former life;
and from that point on, Arjuna,
he strives towards the ultimate goal. (43)
The other one (who takes birth in a rich family),
though under the sway of his senses,
is unconsciously drawn towards the ultimate goal
by force of the habit acquired in his previous birth,
nay, even the seeker of enlightenment
in Yoga (in the form of even-mindedness)
goes beyond formal religion. (44)
Striving diligently,
with constant effort,
 through many lifetimes,
he takes up the practice,
cleansing himself of all sin
and at last attains the ultimate goal. (45)
The man of Yoga
is greater than the ascetics,
or the learned,
or those who perform rituals.
Therefore Arjuna, be a man of Yoga. (46)
Practice yoga sincerely,
with single-minded devotion; 
love me with perfect faith;
bring your whole self to me. (47)













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