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Bhagavad Gītā 6

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Chapter 6



Yoga by self-restraint


(Sanskrit terms and names can be clicked for explanation)

The Holy One said: He who performs action that should be performed, unattached to the fruit of action, is a renouncer, is a devotee [sannyāsin and yogin], not who neglects the sacred fire and performs no actions. (1)

What they call renunciation [sannyāsam] know that to be yoga [union: devotion] O son of Pāṇḍu! He never becomes a yogin [devotee] who has not renounced longings. (2)

For the muni who is desirous of rising to yoga, action is said to be a means; and when he has really risen to yoga, then quiet is said to be a means. (3)

When, truly, he clings neither to the objects of sense nor to actions, and has laid aside every longing, then he is said to have risen to yoga. (4)

We should raise the self by the self, let him not degrade the self. Verily, the self is kinsman of the self: the self is the adversary of the self! (5)

The self is kinsman of the self of him by whom the self by the self is conquered; but the self acts as an enemy in enmity to him who is destitute of [the higher] self. (6)

Of him whose self is conquered and stilled, the higher self is [absolutely] steady, in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, as well as in honor and disgrace. (7)

The yogin [devotee] whose self is content in knowledge and has discernment, who is immovable, of conquered organs of sense, and to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are as one, is said to be ‘united’ [yukta]; (8)

With friends and companions, enemies or the indifferent, neutrals, those who are objects of aversion, relations, the good and the evil, he is distinguished as of calm understanding. (9)

The yogin, staying in secret place, should concentrate the self, alone, with composed thoughts and self, without expectations, without possessions. (10)

Having placed his seat firmly in a clean place [the seat] neither too high nor too low, and covered with a cloth, a skin, and kuśa-grass; (11)

Then, having brought the mind to ‘one-pointedness,’ and with thought and faculties of sense controlled, and having taken place on the seat, he should perform yoga for the purification of the self. (12)

Holding body, head, and neck, quite motionless, himself calm, with gaze fixed on the tip of the nose and not looking about in [all] directions, (13)

Himself tranquil, free from fear, resting in the vows of brahmachārins, with controlled mind, thinking of me, with concentrated attention, he should sit down, holding me as his goal. (14)

The yogin of controlled mind, who thus continuously applies himself, attains the piece of highest nirvāna (śantim nirvānaparamām) which abides with me. (15)

Yoga is not for him who eats voraciously, nor for him who eats not at all; nor for him whose tendency is to excessive sleep, nor for him who is [always] awake. (16)

Yoga becomes a destroyer of sorrow for him who is temperate [yukta: united] in both food and recreation, who soberly [yukta] exerts himself in actions, who is moderate [yukta] in sleep and in being awake. (17)

When the thought being held in restraint takes its place in the self, the man being indifferent to all desires, he is said then to be ‘united’ [yukta]. (18)

As a lamp sheltered from the wind flickers not, this is declared to be the image of a yogin of controlled mind who practices the yoga of self. (19)

Where the thought of one at [inner] rest is restrained by the employment of yoga; where one seeing the self by the self rejoices in the self; (20)

Where he knows the infinite joy which is incomprehensible only by the understanding [buddhigrāhyam] and is beyond the senses; assuredly he who takes his stand thus is never agitated. (21)

Having gained which, he thinks no other acquisition is superior to it; resting in which he is not agitated by even the most grieving sorrow. (22)

This, which is called yoga should be known as the dissolution of the union with sorrow. This yoga [the yoga named in the above four ślokas] is to be practiced by thorough investigation, and with a humble heart. (23)

Having abandoned all desires produced from fancies, without exception, and having totally subdued the group of faculties of sense on every side by the mind. (24)

Little by little he should become quiescent through the understanding held by strong will. Having placed the mind in the self, he should not ne swayed by any thought whatever. (25)

Wherever the fickle and unsteady mind breaks forth, there he should control it, and by the will conduct it towards the self. (26)

The supreme happiness descends upon the yogin who is of tranquil mind, of stilled emotions, who has become brahman, who is without sin. (27)

Thus fixing [concentrating] the self without ceasing, the yogin whose sins are dead, by happiness [or: easily, happily] attains contact with brahman [brahmasaṁsparśam], the limitless happiness. (28)

He whose self is fixed in yoga, and who therefore sees with equal eye everywhere, sees that his self is in all beings in his self. (29)

He who sees me everywhere and sees everything in me, – from him I vanish not away, nor does he vanish away from met! (30)

He who while following the unity [of all] recognizes me as abiding in all beings, whatever he may de doing anywhere he is a yogin who moves on in me. (31)

He, O Arjuna, who sees indifferently everywhere pleasure or pain, by similitude found in himself, is said to be the highest yogin. (32)

Arjuna said: This yoga by means of equanimity declared by you, O Madhusūdana, – I do not see [how] steadfast continuance in it [is to be attained], on account of unsteadiness [of mind]. (33)

For the mind is unsteady, O Kṛṣṇa! tempestuous, strong, stubborn. Its restraint I think to be as difficult as that of the wind. (34)

The Holy One said: Without doubt, O you of mighty arms, the mind is hard to restrain, and restless. But by exercise [practice] and by absence of all desires, it is held. (35)

By him whose self is not controlled, yoga is difficult to acquire: such is my thought. But by him whose self is eager [for it] and who is controlled, it can be acquired by [proper] expedients. (36)

Arjuna said: What course, O Kṛṣṇa, does he follow, who though having trust, yet is not controlled, and with a mind wandering from yoga, has not attained the consummation of it? (37)

Does he not, fallen from both, perish like a broken cloud, O you mighty of arms! fluctuating and bewildered, on the path of brahman? (38)

This my doubt, O Kṛṣṇa, you canst dispel completely. No other dispeller of this doubt than you is to be found. (39)

The Holy One said: O son of Pṛthā! Neither in this world nor in the next is there known to be destruction of such a one! For, O child, the doer of good never follows an evil path. (40)

Having attained to the regions of the righteous, having inhabited earths similar [to this one] the man fallen from yoga [but of the nature you have just described] is born again in the habitation of pure and illustrious men. (41)

Or indeed, he becomes [one] in a family of yogins of profound understanding. But such a birth as this, is more difficult to acquire in this world. (42)

There he recovers the knowledge [buddhisaṁyogam]: union with the understanding] belonging to the former life, and from that pint strives anew towards perfection, O descendant of Kuru! (43)

By that former experience, in fact, he is led along, by necessity. Desirous of knowing yoga, he transcends the word-brahman [the Vedas]. (44)

But the yogin who strives with continued endeavor, who is cleared of his failings, and who is perfected through many births, advances thence on the highest path. (45)

The yogin is superior to the mere practitioner of rites, he is even thought superior to the man of learning. The yogin is superior to those engaged merely in action. Therefore be a yogin, O Arjuna! (46)

And all of you yogins, he who fully trusting, chooses me, with his inmost self mine, is to me the most devoted. (47)

Thus in the Holy

Bhagavad-Gītā. The sixth

chapter, by name —


Yoga by self-restraint