Bhagavadgita !

Chapter 6 Atma samyamana yoga !

Summary in English

Sloka Text in Devanagari, Kannada, Gujarati, Telugu, English
|| Om tat sat ||

SriKrishna Parabrahmane Namah
Sixth Chapter
Atmasamyamana yoga

"Atma samyamana" means controlling the Self. The complex of "Self" consists of mind, intellect, and the sensory organs. Controlling Self means effectively controlling all these too! How to accomplish that is the gist of this chapter. The answer comes as 'Dhyana' or "meditation" as the means to control Self. In fact many people call this chapter by the name of "Dhyana Yoga" or the path of meditation.

This chapter starts with the Krishna's teaching.

श्री भगवानुवाच:
अनाश्रितः कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति यः।
स सन्न्यासी च योगी च न निरग्निर्नचाक्रियः ||

Meaning there by that - The one who does his work without concern for the fruits is called "Sanyasi" as also "Yogi". But not the one who gave up the fire rituals or actions. Fire rituals refer to the daily actions ordained for a "Grihastha". So just by giving up the daily rituals one does not become a "Sanyasi"!

The fifth chapter was about the path of renunciation. Renunciation is about giving up the fruits of action only and not the action itself.

One may wonder who is Sanyasi, the one who renunciates and what does he renunciate.
The one who is a Sanyasi renunciates the following:
- all tools of action
- all actions that can be performed with those tools of action
- the thoughts about the fruits of actions
- the desires that emanate because of those thoughts

Krishna elaborates the same by saying, - Sannyasa or the path of renunciation is about the renunciation of fruits of action along with such intent for fruits, not the renunciation of action itself.

In Karma yoga or the path of action too, the doer while performing action renunciate the fruits of action as well as the intent for fruits in action.
Thus in both paths of action and path of renunciation the fruits of action as well as the intent for fruits of action are renunciated.

Krishna further elaborates that "Sanyasi" or "Yogi" are one and the same. One who does not give up "Sankalpa" or "declaration of wishes" cannot become a "Sanyasi".

To be a Yogi "action" is a necessity.

Krishna says:
"आरुरुक्षोः मुनेः योगं कर्मकारणमुच्यते"
आरुरुक्षोः means the one who wants to attain something.
For the sages who wants to attain Yoga - "action" is the means (6.04).
But for one who has attained "Yoga"
"शमः कारणमुच्यते " meaning that "peace" or "inaction" is the means to go forward.

It means that for the one who wants to attain "Yoga" the first step is "Karma" or more precisely "Nishkama karma". With the practice of Nishkama karma one attains a mind free of extraneous thoughts and wishes. Having reached that stage where in his mind is sensitized to purer thoughts one is in a position to move forward through (श्रवण) hearing (मनन) repeating and (ध्यान) meditating about the self.

This is starting point of Gnyana Yoga or path of intellect. The end result of Gnyana Yoga is the knowledge of Self.

The knowledge of Self is attained through the control of sensory organs, the mind, and the intellect.

When one is able to renounce all desires and is no longer attached to sense objects or action then one is said to have attained Yoga!

At one point in Karmasanyyasa Yoga, Krishna declares that Bhagavan is only a "witness" like "Atman" and is free from our " sins" or "good deeds." Reinforcing the same Krishna says:

उद्धरेदात्माना आत्मानं नात्मान मवसादयेत् |
अत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः ||5||

"आत्मानं आत्मना उद्धरेत् ". One can raise himself up through his own efforts and not lower oneself. Self alone is the friend and self alone is the enemy too. If one does not conquer his runaway desires then self becomes his enemy. When one follows the good the self becomes the friend.

One may be shown the way by the wise or the scriptures but ultimately the one who has to perform is himself. Hence with one's own efforts one can bring himself up. That is the statement from Krishna.

When you bring yourself up then the "Atman" becomes the friend.

There is always a battle between the "good" and "bad". The "good" leads us towards righteous paths. The "bad" always leads towards false steps. Raising oneself up through one's own intellect and efforts is about "good" winning the battle of the self. When one is not able to overcome the "bad", the mind gets diverted to false actions and effectively becomes one's own enemy. (6.06)

Who are the people who can raise themselves up?
"जितात्मनः" people who conquer the mind";
"प्रशान्तस्य": people who achieved peace through equanimity;
The ones who are not affected by the happiness or sorrow or any such dualities. (6.07)

The one who is self-satisfied with knowledge (ज्ञान) and realization (विज्ञान) is the one -
"विजितेंद्रियः"- who conquered the sensory organs
"समलोष्टाश्मकांचनः"- who sees "a clod of earth" , a "stone" and "gold" as same !
Such a one is called "Yogi " (6.08)

Seeing everything as equal also means seeing every one as equal such as:
सुहृत् - the one with good heart ,
मित्र - a friend
अरि - an enemy
उदासीन - one who is reticent or neutral
मध्यस्थ - one who is an arbiter
द्वेष्य - one who may be hated
बन्धुषु - a relative
साधुषु - good person
पापेषु - a sinner

This encompasses a wide variety of people with different mental dispositions (6.09).
If one is able to look on all of them equally then that one is really the best among men
If one is able to look on all of them with an equal mental disposition then the peace, he enjoys is incomparable
How does one achieve that state, or that mental disposition of equality towards all?
Through Nishkama karma one reaches a stage, the first stage, where the mind is well disposed towards further enquiry.
That further enquiry is through hearing repeating and meditation.
The constant meditation leads one to the higher level.
As soon as we think of meditation several questions prop up.
Where to meditate?
How to meditate?
and why?

Krishna answers all the three.

As to where to meditate Krishna says, 'Establishing a seat in a clean place neither too high nor too low, sitting on a seat of cloth, skin and Kusa grass one should concentrate his mind for purification of internal organs keeping the mind and senses under control'.

How to meditate is continued, 'Holding the body and head and neck erect looking at the tip of his own nose and not looking around he should do meditation'. (6.11,12)

The one doing meditation should be:
"प्रशान्तात्मा" - with a mind attuned to peace
"विगतभीः" - having forsaken fear
"ब्रह्मचारिव्रतेस्थितः" - following the vows of celibacy
"मनः संयम्य" - controlling the mind from stray thoughts

Thus focusing the mind on self-one should meditate on the Self. (6.14)

Krishna says - "मच्चित्तः मत्परायणः"
Meaning there by " focusing the mind on the Bhagavan and believing him to be the only solace". This brings us to a plane where people feel comfortable with a " full form of Brahman" सगुण ब्रह्मन् and the focus of the meditation is the that Brahman (सगुण ब्रह्मन्). Krishna too is echoing that feeling.

But the focus may also be on self (atman) too and one may meditate on "Self" which is also a form of "निर्गुण ब्रह्मन्" -the formless Brahman.

In both forms of meditation the destination remains the same.
The destination is -
"निर्वाण परमां शान्तिं अधिगच्छति" - that outstanding feeling of bliss.
That is liberation or Moksha. (6.15)

In the third chapter Krishna detailed who may not be able to perform "Nishkama karma" (वेदवादरताः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः.) In a similar vein Krishna detail in this chapter who may not be able to do meditation (6.16).

Who cannot do meditation?
Those who eat too much or too little
Those who sleep too much or too little
That means those who do everything in moderation- moderate in eating moderate in enjoyment, operate in actions, moderate in sleep, moderate in staying awake - meditation is possible. Such people having given up desires focusing on the Self reach the state of Yoga (6.18)

How is the mind of the person in meditation? this is described in a wonderful picture painted in sloka (6.19)

यथा दीपो निवातस्थो नेञ्गते सोपमा स्मृता |
योगिनो यतचित्तस्य युञ्जतो योगमात्मनः ||19||

meaning - 'like the lamp that does not flicker when placed in a place with no breeze; the mind of the yogi performing meditation does not flicker!'

What is the state attained by one in meditation with the mind that does not flicker?
That is the realization of self.
There may still be a question of what exactly is that?

By the practice of Yoga the mind which attained the heights of peace is denoted by
- a mind that is clear and is able to see the self as the ultimate and being happy in that knowledge (6.20)
- Knowing Atman and feeling the pleasure that cannot be seen or felt by the sensory organs (6.21)
- realizing that or feeling that this pleasure he obtained is greater than any pleasure that he may get otherwise (6.22)
- not being deterred by any great sorrow
- not having any link with sorrow
That state is called the attaining Yoga.
That is also state in which one realizes self.
Such a Yogi free from ignorance and attaining peaceful disposition, will attain the ultimate happiness (6.27)

How does one in that state feel or see?
Krishna again tells us

सर्वभूतस्थ मात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि |
ईक्षते योग युक्तात्मा सर्वत्र समदर्शनः ||29||

All around (सर्वत्र) he sees the same (समदर्शनः)
What is seen is that - Brahman is everywhere
Seeing "आत्मानं" Self in "सर्वभूतस्थं" in all beings
Similarly seeing all beings in Self.

One more thought:

"योमां पश्यति सर्वत्रमयि पश्यति |
तस्याहं न प्रणस्यामि स च मे नप्रणस्यति" ||30||
"For him , who sees me in all beings and all beings in me , I will not be invisible . Nor will he be invisible for me!!

Again Krishna revisits the thought about the best of men.

अत्मौपन्येन सर्वत्र समं पश्यति योsर्जुन।
सुखं वा यदि वादुःखं सयोगी परमो मतः ||32||
He who looks upon the pleasures and pains of all creatures as similar to his own - स योगी that yogi परमो मतः - is the best one!!

Hearing all this about the path of meditation Arjuna is still troubled.
" Oh Krishna ! The mind is fickle and yet stubborn too! Keeping it under control is like trying to control the wind. It will be very difficult."(6.34)

For once Krishna too agrees that it is so! But it is possible. He says:

असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम् |
अभ्यसेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते ||35||

"असंशयं महाबाहो" O Arjuna! There is no doubt
"मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम्" mind is difficult to control and restless.

But Kaunteya (Arjuna)
"अभ्यसेन" with practice and
"वैराग्येण" and with detachment,
one can control that fickle mind.

Then Arjuna has one more doubt what if all the effort is wasted:

अर्जुन उवाच :
अयतिश्रद्धयोपेतो योगाच्चलित मानसः |
अप्राप्य योगसंसिद्धिं कां गतिं कृष्ण गच्छति ||37||

"श्रद्धयापेतो" - (though) with intense faith
"योगात् चलित मानसः" - (if one is) unable to attain yoga because of flirting mind
"योगसिद्धिं अप्राप्य" - thus not achieving Yoga
"कां गतिं गच्छति" - what does he achieve ?

One may have faith and one may indeed work hard towards the goal but still he may fail in achieving the goal. Then does all the effort go down the drain?

Is it like he is lost on both counts? - "उभय विभ्रष्टः"-. Not enjoying life fully the way others would as well as having forsaken the "easy life" to achieve the goal of eternal bliss too! (6.38,39)

That is Arjunas query.

What happens if you do not attain "Yoga"?

Then Krishna answers:
"पार्थ नैवेह नामुत्र विनाशः तस्य विद्यते"

Oh Partha!!
"इह"- in this world
"विनाशः न विद्यते" - there is no loss!
"अमुत्र"- there in the other world also there is no loss !!

That is to say if one works with faith, he may not achieve the liberation but there is no loss! (6.40)
Not only that!
He will attain fruits of his good deeds and be born again in the house of pure and prosperous.
With the knowledge of previous births he will continue to strive for Yoga.
"अनेकजन्म संसिद्धः "
With practice over many births he will attain Yoga.
"ततो याति परांगतिम्" . Then he will attain the most desired state (of Moksha) (6.45)

So in response to Arjuna's query Krishna clarifies that once you are on this path if you have faith, you will achieve the goal even if it is spread over a few births!

Lastly, he concludes:
Yogi "तपस्विभ्यः अधिकः" - is greater than those who do penance.
"ज्ञानिभ्यो अपि" - is greater than those who go after knowledge.
"तस्मात् योगी भव अर्जुना" |
"O Arjuna become a Yogi"(6.46)

Krishna continues his preaching
योगिनामपि सर्वेषां मद्गतेनान्तरात्मना |
श्रद्धवान् भजते यॊ मां स मे युक्ततमो मतः ||47||

"सर्वेषां योगिनां" - among all Yogis
"मद्गतेन अंतरात्मना" Keeping me in his mind
"यो मां भजति" - who meditates on me
सः - That one
युक्ततमः - is the greatest !

"O Arjuna ! the one who has faith in me and meditates on me is the greatest even among those who perform penance or those who follow the path of knowledge!!"

Krishna effectively said that everyone has to find his own path in the spiritual search. Everyone can raise himself by his own efforts.

When one sits for meditation, one must resolve to be in that state setting aside all thoughts. It is not unlikely that the meditation is disturbed by fleeting thoughts. But the only way forward is practice which is Krishna's suggestion to Arjuna. The obstacles to meditation in the form of sleepiness and hunger for food are known. The biggest obstacle being the mind which flirts with all kinds of thoughts.

To attain steadiness in meditation one has to be disciplined in his daily life. One has to develop the attitude to face obstacles and opposition which one comes across in daily life without losing control of self. Then develop a feeling of equanimity with all contesting thoughts that crowd one. That alone lead one towards peace which in turn enhances one's ability for meditation.

There are a few aids on the way to reaching a state of Yoga where everything and everyone seem to matter equally or not at all: These are as follows.

अहिंस, सत्यं, आस्तेयं, ब्रह्मचर्यं, अपरिग्रह
शौच, संतोष, तपस्, स्वाध्याय, भगवदाराधन

||om tat sat ||

योगिनामपि सर्वेषां मद्गतेनान्तरात्मना |
श्रद्धवान् भजते यॊ मां स मे युक्ततमो मतः ||47||

"Even among all Yogis he ,who adores Me with his mind fixed on Me and with faith ,is considered by Me to be th best of Yogis"
||ओम् तत् सत् ||

|| om tat sat ||