THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Chapter 6

Reference: The Bhagavad Gita

[NOTE: The following translation of the Sanskrit verses into English is obtained from Srimad Bhagavad Gita, SADHAKA SANJIVANI by Swami Ramsukhdas, published by Govind Bhawan Karyalaya, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, INDIA. For original comments please consult the above book. Abbreviated comments in color are provided by Vinaire.]

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Chapter 6:

श्रीभगवानुवाच
अनाश्रितःकर्मफलंकार्यंकर्मकरोतियः। ससंन्यासीचयोगीचननिरग्निर्नचाक्रियः।।6.1।।

The Blessed Lord said: He who discharges his duty without expecting its fruit, is a Samnyāsī (Sāńkhyayogī) and a Yogī (Karmayogī). He is not a Samnyāsī (Renouncer) who has merely renounced sacred fire and he is not a Karmayogī who has merely given up all activities. (VI-1)

यंसंन्यासमितिप्राहुर्योगंतंविद्धिपाण्डव। नह्यसंन्यस्तसङ्कल्पोयोगीभवतिकश्चन।।6.2।।

O Pāndava, what they speak of as Samnyāsa, know that to be the same as Yoga; for none becomes a Yogī without renouncing thought of the world. (VI-2)

आरुरुक्षोर्मुनेर्योगंकर्मकारणमुच्यते। योगारूढस्यतस्यैवशमःकारणमुच्यते।।6.3।।

To the contemplative source, who desires to rise to the height of Karmayoga (in the form of equanimity), action without motive is spoken as the means; for the same man when he is established in Yoga, serenity (tranquility of mind) is spoken of as the means (to God-Realization). (VI-3)

There is no difference between a Samnyāsī and a Yogi. Both discharge their duty selflessly without expecting its fruit. Both are looking at the world from a detached, universal viewpoint. Their practice starts with selfless action and ends in a detached viewpoint towards all activities.

यदाहिनेन्द्रियार्थेषुकर्मस्वनुषज्जते। सर्वसङ्कल्पसंन्यासीयोगारूढस्तदोच्यते।।6.4।।

When a man ceases to have any attachment either for the objects of senses or for actions and has renounced all thoughts of the world, he is said to have attained Yoga. (VI-4)

उद्धरेदात्मनाऽऽत्मानंनात्मानमवसादयेत्। आत्मैवह्यात्मनोबन्धुरात्मैवरिपुरात्मनः।।6.5।।

Let a man lift himself by his self; let him not degrade himself; for he himself is his friend and he himself is his enemy. (VI-5)

बन्धुरात्माऽऽत्मनस्तस्ययेनात्मैवात्मनाजितः। अनात्मनस्तुशत्रुत्वेवर्तेतात्मैवशत्रुवत्।।6.6।।

To him who has conquered his (base or lower) self by the (divine or higher) self, his own self is the friend; but to him who has not subdued the lower self, his own self acts as the foe. (VI-6)

The attainment of Yoga means one has a detached viewpoint not only towards all actions but also towards all objects and the world in general. It is only from this detached viewpoint that one has conquered his lower self and, thereafter, may continue to evolve to higher levels.

जितात्मनःप्रशान्तस्यपरमात्मासमाहितः। शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषुतथामानापमानयोः।।6.7।।

The self-controlled man whose mind is perfectly calm in the midst of pairs of opposites  such as cold and heat, joy and sorrow, honor and dishonor is in constant communion  with the Supreme Spirit. (VI-7)

ज्ञानविज्ञानतृप्तात्माकूटस्थोविजितेन्द्रियः। युक्तइत्युच्यतेयोगीसमलोष्टाश्मकाञ्चनः।।6.8।।

The Yogī whose mind is satisfied with Jnana (knowledge) and Vijnana (wisdom), who remains unshaken in all circumstances, whose senses are subdued, to whom a clod, a stone and a piece of gold are the same, is spoken of as one who has attained Yoga. (VI-8)

सुहृन्मित्रार्युदासीनमध्यस्थद्वेष्यबन्धुषु। साधुष्वपिपापेषुसमबुद्धिर्विशिष्यते।।6.9।।

He who regards well-wishers, friends, foes, neutrals, mediators, the hateful, the relatives, saints and sinners alike, stands supreme. (VI-9)

These verses describe the state of a person whose viewpoint has become exterior to, and detached from, the thoughts of this world. He looks at everything with the same curiosity and dispassion. He is aware of everything, whether there or not there. He is complete within himself.

योगीयुञ्जीतसततमात्मानंरहसिस्थितः। एकाकीयतचित्तात्मानिराशीरपरिग्रहः।।6.10।।

A Yogī should constantly engage his mind in meditation living alone in seclusion, having subdued his mind and body and having got rid of desires and possessions. (VI-10)

A Yogi is consciously studying the subject of “self”. His attention is on the “self” within him, and not on the world outside. As he studies this subject, he realizes that self is neither the mind nor the body. This helps him see the body and the mind for what they are. He can see that the body and the mind desire certain possessions and sensations. As he realizes what is happening he becomes detached from the body, the mind, their desires and the worldly possessions. He becomes increasingly comfortable as himself. He is left only with his spiritual longing for liberation for all. These are the fruits of his study of “self”. We call this study “meditation”.

शुचौदेशेप्रतिष्ठाप्यस्थिरमासनमात्मनः। नात्युच्छ्रितंनातिनीचंचैलाजिनकुशोत्तरम्।।6.11।।  

Having firmly fixed his seat in a clean place with Kuśa-grass, a deer skin and a cloth, one over the other, neither too high nor too low. (VI-11)

तत्रैकाग्रंमनःकृत्वायतचित्तेन्द्रियक्रियः। उपविश्यासनेयुञ्ज्याद्योगमात्मविशुद्धये।।6.12।।

Sitting there on his seat, concentrating the mind and controlling the thinking faculty and the senses, he should practice Yoga for self-purification. (VI-12)

समंकायशिरोग्रीवंधारयन्नचलंस्थिरः। संप्रेक्ष्यनासिकाग्रंस्वंदिशश्चानवलोकयन्।।6.13।।

Let him hold the trunk, head and neck straight and steady, looking at the tip of his nose without looking around. (VI-13)

प्रशान्तात्माविगतभीर्ब्रह्मचारिव्रतेस्थितः। मनःसंयम्यमच्चित्तोयुक्तआसीतमत्परः।।6.14।।

Serene and fearless, firm in the vow of continence, subdued in mind, the vigilant Yogi should sit thinking of Me and having Me as the supreme goal. (VI-14)

These verses describe the preparation and activity of meditation. The preparation is simple. The hard part is the discipline. This discipline has been described in detail by many Vedic sages, especially Buddha. The following link summarizes that discipline in modern terms.

The Discipline of Mindfulness

युञ्जन्नेवंसदाऽऽत्मानंयोगीनियतमानसः। शान्तिंनिर्वाणपरमांमत्संस्थामधिगच्छति।।6.15।।

Thus constantly applying his mind to Me, the Yogi of subdued mind attains the everlasting peace consisting of Supreme Bliss which abides in Me. (VI-15)

It all adds up to separating attention from perception. The source of perception is external, and it is impacting the self. But this impact is made possible by attention from self. Attention is internal to self and entirely within its control. The question is, “How does the self control its attention?”

The self cannot do so by avoiding, resisting, suppressing or denying perception. The self must understand what attention is and what that attention is doing. Thus, self must understand itself.

नात्यश्नतस्तुयोगोऽस्तिचैकान्तमनश्नतः। नचातिस्वप्नशीलस्यजाग्रतोनैवचार्जुन।।6.16।।

Yoga is not for him who eats too much nor for him who does not eat at all, nor for him who sleeps too much or too little. (VI-16)

युक्ताहारविहारस्ययुक्तचेष्टस्यकर्मसु। युक्तस्वप्नावबोधस्ययोगोभवतिदुःखहा।।6.17।।

Yoga becomes the destroyer of pain for him who is moderate in diet and recreation, temperate in actions and regulated in sleep and wakefulness. (VI-17)

यदाविनियतंचित्तमात्मन्येवावतिष्ठते। निःस्पृहःसर्वकामेभ्योयुक्तइत्युच्यतेतदा।।6.18।।

When the perfectly controlled mind rests in the self alone, free from desires for all enjoyments, then the person is said to be established in Yoga. (VI-18)

Here is the middle path also recommended by the Vedic Sage, known as Buddha. Moderation is the key. Yoga is that moderation and balance that permeates the Yogi.

यथादीपोनिवातस्थोनेङ्गतेसोपमास्मृता। योगिनोयतचित्तस्ययुञ्जतोयोगमात्मनः।।6.19।।

‘As a lamp in a windless place does not flicker’ this is the simile used for the disciplined mind of a Yogi practicing meditation on the self. (VI-19)

यत्रोपरमतेचित्तंनिरुद्धंयोगसेवया। यत्रचैवात्मनाऽऽत्मानंपश्यन्नात्मनितुष्यति।।6.20।।

When the mind, disciplined by the practice of Yoga becomes indifferent and when the Yogi beholding the Self by the Self, he is satisfied in the self. (VI-20)

सुखमात्यन्तिकंयत्तद्बुद्धिग्राह्यमतीन्द्रियम्। वेत्तियत्रचैवायंस्थितश्चलतितत्त्वतः।।6.21।।

When he feels that supreme bliss which is perceived only by intelligence (Reason) and which transcends the senses and wherein established the said Yogi never moves from Reality. (VI-21)

A Yogi’s mind is still, indifferent and has transcended beyond the senses.

यंलब्ध्वाचापरंलाभंमन्यतेनाधिकंततः। यस्मिन्स्थितोदुःखेनगुरुणापिविचाल्यते।।6.22।।

And having gained which, he does not reckon any other gain greater than that, and wherein established he is not shaken even by the heaviest affliction. (VI-22)

तंविद्याद्दुःखसंयोगवियोगंयोगसंज्ञितम्। सनिश्चयेनयोक्तव्योयोगोऽनिर्विण्णचेतसा।।6.23।।

This disconnection from assumed union with pain (travails of worldly life) should be known by the name of yoga. This Yoga of meditation (which aims at union with God or at equanimity) should be practiced with determination and with an undistracted mind. (VI-23)

सङ्कल्पप्रभवान्कामांस्त्यक्त्वासर्वानशेषतः। मनसैवेन्द्रियग्रामंविनियम्यसमन्ततः।।6.24।।

Completely giving up all desires arising from thoughts of the world, and fully restraining the senses from all sides by the mind. (VI-24)

The Yogi is stably exterior to all concerns of the world with all his senses under his control.

शनैःशनैरुपरमेद्बुद्ध्याधृतिगृहीतया। आत्मसंस्थंमनःकृत्वाकिञ्चिदपिचिन्तयेत्।।6.25।।

With this intellect (mind) set in firmness he should gradually attain tranquility; with the mind fixed on God, he should not think of anything else. (VI-25)

यतोयतोनिश्चरतिमनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम्। ततस्ततोनियम्यैतदात्मन्येववशंनयेत्।।6.26।।

By whatever cause the restless and unsteady mind wanders away, he should restrain it from that and repeatedly concentrate it on God. (VI-26)

प्रशान्तमनसंह्येनंयोगिनंसुखमुत्तमम्। उपैतिशान्तरजसंब्रह्मभूतमकल्मषम्।।6.27।।

Sāttvika happiness verily comes to the Yogi whose mind is calm, whose passions are subdued, who is sinless. (VI-27)

People who walk the path of Yoga require great patience before the results start to accrue. These verses are written to assure the aspirant that results are there to be had. “God” is manifested through the laws of nature that guide evolution. The discipline of mindfulness is vital to the process of Yoga.

युञ्जन्नेवंसदाऽऽत्मानंयोगीविगतकल्मषः। सुखेनब्रह्मसंस्पर्शमत्यन्तंसुखमश्नुते।।6.28।।

The sinless Yogi thus, uniting his self constantly with God, easily enjoys the infinite bliss of oneness with Brahma (the Absolute). (VI-28)

सर्वभूतस्थमात्मानंसर्वभूतानिचात्मनि। ईक्षतेयोगयुक्तात्मासर्वत्रसमदर्शनः।।6.29।।

The Yogi whose mind is harmonized by Yoga, looks on all with an equal eye, sees the self present, in all beings and all beings assumed as in the self. (VI-29)

योमांपश्यतिसर्वत्रसर्वंमयिपश्यति। तस्याहंप्रणश्यामिमेप्रणश्यति।।6.30।।

He who sees Me (the universal Self) present in all beings, and sees all beings existing in Me, I am never out of sight of him, nor is he ever out of sight of Me. (VI-30)

सर्वभूतस्थितंयोमांभजत्येकत्वमास्थितः। सर्वथावर्तमानोऽपियोगीमयिवर्तते।।6.31।।

He who, established in unity, worships Me abiding in all beings though engaged in all forms of activities, dwells in Me. (VI-31)

आत्मौपम्येनसर्वत्रसमंपश्यतियोऽर्जुन। सुखंवायदिवादुःखंसःयोगीपरमोमतः।।6.32।।

That Yogi, O Arjuna, is regarded as the supreme, who looks on all as one, on the analogy of his own body and who looks at pleasure and pain of all with a similar eye. (VI-32)

अर्जुनउवाच
योऽयंयोगस्त्वयाप्रोक्तःसाम्येनमधुसूदन। एतस्याहंनपश्यामिचञ्चलत्वात्स्थितिंस्थिराम्।।6.33।।

Arjuna said:
O Krishna, this Yoga of equanimity has been taught by You but I do not perceive any stability for it owing to restlessness of mind. (VI-33)

चञ्चलंहिमनःकृष्णप्रमाथिबलवद्दृढम्। तस्याहंनिग्रहंमन्येवायोरिवसुदुष्करम्।।6.34।।

The mind verily is, O Krishna, restless, turbulent, strong and obstinate; therefore, I consider it as difficult to control as the wind. (VI-34)

श्रीभगवानुवाच
असंशयंमहाबाहोमनोदुर्निग्रहंचलं। अभ्यासेनतुकौन्तेयवैराग्येणचगृह्यते।।6.35।।

The Blessed Lord said:
Doubtless, O mighty-armed, the mind is restless and hard to control; but by practice and dispassion, O son of Kunti, it can be controlled. (VI-35)

असंयतात्मनायोगोदुष्प्रापइतिमेमतिः। वश्यात्मनातुयतताशक्योऽवाप्तुमुपायतः।।6.36।।

Yoga is hard to attain for one whose mind is not subdued but it can be attained by him who has controlled his mind and who strives ceaselessly; such is My conviction. (VI-36)

अर्जुनउवाच
अयतिःश्रद्धयोपेतोयोगाच्चलितमानसः। अप्राप्ययोगसंसिद्धिंकांगतिंकृष्णगच्छति।।6.37।।

Arjuna said:
O Krishna, he who, though possessed of faith, is unable to subdue his passions and whose mind deviates from Yoga, having failed to attain perfection in Yoga, what end does he meet with? (VI-37)

कच्चिन्नोभयविभ्रष्टश्छिन्नाभ्रमिवनश्यति। अप्रतिष्ठोमहाबाहोविमूढोब्रह्मणःपथि।।6.38।।

O mighty-armed, deluded in the path of God, without any hold, does he not perish like a rent cloud, deprived of both God-realization and worldly enjoyment? (VI-38)

एतन्मेसंशयंकृष्णछेत्तुमर्हस्यशेषतः। त्वदन्यःसंशयस्यास्यछेत्ताह्युपपद्यते।।6.39।।

O Krishna, it behooves You to dispel the doubt of mine completely; for none other than Yourself can clear this doubt. (VI-39)

श्रीभगवानुवाच
पार्थनैवेहनामुत्रविनाशस्तस्यविद्यते। नहिकल्याणकृत्कश्िचद्दुर्गतिंतातगच्छति।।6.40।।

The Blessed Lord said:
O Partha, there is no fall for him either here or hereafter; for none who works for self-redemption meets with an evil destiny. (VI-40)

प्राप्यपुण्यकृतांलोकानुषित्वाशाश्वतीःसमाः। शुचीनांश्रीमतांगेहेयोगभ्रष्टोऽभिजायते।।6.41।।

Having attained to the world of the righteous and having lived there for countless years, he who falls from Yoga, is reborn in the house of the pious and prosperous. (VI-41)

अथवायोगिनामेवकुलेभवतिधीमताम्। एतद्धिदुर्लभतरंलोकेजन्मयदीदृशम्।।6.42।।

Or (if he has developed dispassion) he is born in a family of enlightened Yogis; but this kind of birth is very difficult to obtain in this world. (VI-42)

तत्रतंबुद्धिसंयोगंलभतेपौर्वदेहिकम्। यततेततोभूयःसंसिद्धौकुरुनन्दन।।6.43।।

There he regains the knowledge of the previous birth and he strives more than before for perfection, O joy of the Kurus. (VI-43)

पूर्वाभ्यासेनतेनैवह्रियतेह्यवशोऽपिसः। जिज्ञासुरपियोगस्यशब्दब्रह्मातिवर्तते।।6.44।।

The one who takes birth in the house of the prosperous, though subject to the senses, feels drawn towards God by force of the former practice; because the seeker of the Yoga of equanimity also transcends the fruit of actions performed with some motive as laid down in the Vedas.(VI-44)

प्रयत्नाद्यतमानस्तुयोगीसंशुद्धकिल्बिषः। अनेकजन्मसंसिद्धस्ततोयातिपरांगतिम्।।6.45।।

The Yogi who strives with assiduity, purified from sins and perfected through many births, reaches the Supreme state. (VI-45)

तपस्विभ्योऽधिकोयोगीज्ञानिभ्योऽपिमतोऽधिकः। कर्मिभ्यश्चाधिकोयोगीतस्माद्योगीभवार्जुन।।6.46।।

The Yogi is superior to ascetics given to worldly pleasures, superior to men of learning even; he is also superior to ritualist. Therefore, Arjuna, be a Yogi. (VI-46)

योगिनामपिसर्वेषांमद्गतेनान्तरात्मना। श्रद्धावान्भजतेयोमांमेयुक्ततमोमतः।।6.47।।

Of all Yogis, he who devoutly worships Me, with his mind focused on Me, is considered by Me to be the Best Yogi or the most devout Yogi. (VI-47)

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