SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 25 -Chapter 6, Verses 31 to 40 – DHYANA YOGA

Chapter 6, Verses 31 to 40 – DHYANA YOGA

In these ten verses of Chapter 6, Bhagavan Shri Krishna explains how to achieve spiritual success.  He explains the importance of controlling the wavering and unsteady mind by constantly bringing it back under the control of Self while also exercising restraint from seeking sense pleasures.  One with a disciplined mind that is trained in the practice of meditation, devoid of sins and free from passion will perceive the inner Self and becomes pure and satisfied in everlasting bliss.

Arjuna implores Bhagavan Shri Krishna to explain what happens to a person who despite trying hard fails to achieve spiritual success either due to inability to shun attachment or due to lack of discipline. Bhagavan responds emphatically that one who is engaged in spiritual activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, is never overcome by evil.

6.31      Shloka 6.31    

सर्वभूतस्थितं यो मां भजत्येकत्वमास्थितः।

सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि योगी मयि वर्तते।।6.31।।

Sarva-bhuta-sthitam yo mam bhajaty ekatvam asthitah
Sarvatha vartamano ‘pi sa yogi mayi vartate
।।6.31।।

Meaning: The seeker who knows that I am present within all entities as the Soul, and worships Me with devotion, he remains always in Me in all circumstances.

The words ‘ekatvam asthtitah’ means singularly existing in the form of Supreme Lord in all entities.  The word ‘Sarvatha’ means in all circumstances. This means whether consciously performing activities or in meditation, whatever condition one happens to be situated in, the Yogi who is spiritually advanced perceives the Supreme Soul in all beings.  Such a Yogi is spiritually enlightened.

The words ‘ekatvam asthtitah’ means singularly existing in the form of Supreme Lord in all entities.  The word ‘Sarvatha’ means in all circumstances. This means whether consciously performing activities or in meditation, whatever condition one happens to be situated in, the Yogi who is spiritually advanced perceives the Supreme Soul in all beings.  Such a Yogi is spiritually enlightened.

The Narada-pancaratra says:

Dik-kalady-anavacchinne krsne ceto vidhaya ca |
Tanmayo bhavati ksipram jivo brahmani yojayet ||

Meaning: By concentrating one’s attention on Bhagavan Shri Krishna, who is all-pervading and beyond time and space, one becomes absorbed in Krishna and attains the blissful state of transcendental association with Him.

6.32      Shloka 6.32

आत्मौपम्येन सर्वत्र समं पश्यति योऽर्जुन।
सुखं वा यदि वा दुःखं सः योगी परमो मतः।।6.32।।

Atmaupamyena sarvatra samam pasyati yo ‘rjuna
Sukham va yadi va duhkham sa yogi paramo matah
।।6.32।।

Meaning: He is a perfect Yogi who sees all beings as equal, in both happiness and distress, O Arjuna!

The primary cause of the distress of a living entity is lack of realisation of his relationship with God. The perfect Yogi views all living entities with equanimity.

A devotee of the Lord always cares for all living entities, and in this way he is the well-wisher of everyone. Such a person is a perfect Yogi because he does not desire perfection in Yogafor his personal benefit alone but seeks peace for everyone – “Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavantu”. He does not envy his fellow living entities.

6.33      Shloka 6.33

अर्जुन उवाच
योऽयं योगस्त्वया प्रोक्तः साम्येन मधुसूदन।
एतस्याहं पश्यामि चञ्चलत्वात् स्थितिं स्थिराम्।।6.33।।

Arjuna uvaca
Yo ‘yam yogas tvaya proktah samyena madhusudana

Etasyaham na pasyami cancalatvat sthitim sthiram
।।6.33 ।।

Meaning: Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.

Arjuna says that this yoga of uniting the individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness as instructed by Bhagavan Shri Krishna by treating all living entities with equanimity is impractical and nigh impossible.  He could not visualise such a state as the mind was restless, unstable and filled with prejudice.

Arjuna belonged to the Royal family and was highly accomplished with numerous qualities; he was a great warrior, he was ambidextrous, had great valour, and, above all, he was the most intimate friend of Lord Krishna.  For him to consider all living entities alike was putting his own exalted position into question.  Hence, he poses the question to Shri Krishna and asks for his exposition.

6.34      Shloka 6.34

चञ्चलं हि मनः कृष्ण प्रमाथि बलवद्दृढम्।
तस्याहं निग्रहं मन्ये वायोरिव सुदुष्करम्।।6.34।।

Cancalam hi manah krsna pramathi balavad drdham
Tasyaham nigraham manye vayor iva su-duskaram
।।6.34।।

Meaning:  The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O’ Krishna.  To subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.

The mind is so strong and obstinate that it sometimes overcomes the intelligence, although mind is supposed to be subservient to the intelligence. In the practical world, one constantly goes through a battle in one’s mind between what’s right and what’s expedient to do.  One must fight so many opposing elements, that it becomes extremely difficult to control the mind. Arjuna says that controlling the mind is more difficult than controlling the raging wind.

In the Katha Upanishad (1.3.3 and 1.3.4) it is said:

Atmanam rathinam viddhi sariram ratham eva ca |
Buddhintu sarathim viddhi manah pragraham eva ca ||1.3.3||

Indriyani hayanahur visayams tesu gocaran |
Atmendriya-mano-yukto bhoktety ahur manisinah ||1.3.4||

Meaning:  The individual is the passenger in the chariot made of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So, it is understood by great thinkers.

Intelligence is supposed to direct the mind, but the mind is so strong and obstinate that it often overcomes even one’s own intelligence. Such a strong mind is intended to be controlled by the practice of yoga, but such practice is not practical for a worldly person like Arjuna. But to maintain such lofty conceptions of equanimity in the midst of the demanding, periodically changing interactions of daily life seems to be in direct conflict with our vision of the world we live in seeing external differences everywhere we look.

Even in normal mundane matters of ordinary activities the naturally restless mind eludes all attempts to focus it on a specific idea for too long. The mind exerting itself powerfully will twist and turn itself loose and irresistibly fly off in whatever direction it fancies. So, the analogy used here is appropriate as one cannot capture the blowing wind. And it is even more difficult to capture the turbulent mind. So, in summary Arjuna is requesting Lord Krishna to instruct him how to control the tempestuous mind.

6.35      Shloka 6.35

श्री भगवानुवाच
असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलं।
अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण गृह्यते।।6.35।।

Sri Bhagavan uvaca

Asamsayam maha-baho mano durnigraham calam
Abhyasena tu kaunteya vairagyena ca grhyate
।।6.35।।

Meaning: Bhagavan Shri Krishna responded to Arjuna: O’ mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible to achieve it through regulated practice and detachment.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna responding to Arjuna’s queries concurs that without a doubt the mind is extremely difficult to control and is similar to confining a tempest; but Arjuna should shake off his trepidation and make the effort, for the mind can be brought under control with regular meditation.

One should first withdraw the mind from the influence of sense objects and then focus the mind to concentrate internally on the Atma or Soul. By practising indifference towards sense objects, dispassion will arise, and the mind will show no further interest in sense objects and thus, will not wander seeking anything else. 

By detaching the mind from activities that are not devoted to the Lord, one can very learn vairagya or detachment. Similarly, by engaging in devotional service, one feels sublime satisfaction as the mind becomes detached from material objectives. An easy way to accomplish ‘Vairagya’ is to constantly contemplate on the Supreme Lord or by constantly chanting Prabhu’s Nama e.g., the Maha Mantra – ‘Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare’.

6.36      Shloka 6.36 

असंयतात्मना योगो दुष्प्राप इति मे मतिः।
वश्यात्मना तु यतता शक्योऽवाप्तुमुपायतः।।6.36।।

Asamyatatmana yogo dusprapa iti me matih |
Vasyatmana tu yatata sakyo ‘vaptum upayatah
।।6.36।।

Meaning: For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is difficult work. But one who is able to control the mind and one who strives to accomplish this by appropriate means, is assured of success. That is My opinion.

It is true and undeniable that the mind is difficult to control due to its fickle and tempestuous nature. But it is possible to tame it by directing the mind to regular meditation and training it to regularly reflect on the sublime qualities of the Atma. Over time, dispassion will arise for sense object and the mind will focus on Atma to the exclusion of everything else. This will happen naturally when the discerning mind perceives the imperfections inherent in all other topics and subjects.

To behold all with equanimity and dispassion is not possible for one whose mind is restless and uncontrolled. Bhagavan Shri Krishna is reiterating that for one who has not subjugated their mind by dhyana or meditation, it is extremely difficult to achieve Self-realisation. But through ceaseless endeavour and constant practise of meditation, it is possible to successfully control the mind. 

6.37      Shloka 6.37

अर्जुन उवाच
अयतिः श्रद्धयोपेतो योगाच्चलितमानसः।
अप्राप्य योगसंसिद्धिं कां गतिं कृष्ण गच्छति।।6.37।।

Arjuna uvaca
Ayatih sraddhayopeto yogac calita-manasah |
Aprapya yoga-samsiddhim kam gatim krsna gacchati
।।6.37।।

Meaning: Arjuna said: O’ Kṛiṣhṇa, what is the destination of the unsuccessful seeker, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realization with faith but whose mind deviates and he is unable to attain perfection?

The word ‘ayatih’ meanis one who does not endeavour by the regulated practice of meditation or contrarily one who abstains from the practise of meditation that was already begun. The words ‘aprapya yoga-samsiddhim’ mean without achieving the complete potential of yoga or the science of uniting individual consciousness with ultimate consciousness.

Arjuna is curious to know, What happens to a practitioner of yoga with the intent of achieving spiritual enlightenment who becomes established in yoga with firm faith but due to negligence in his practices fails to achieve perfection in yoga?  The failure could be due to the inability to control the mind and thus becoming incapable of controlling the senses. Such an aspirant although practising and endowed with faith does not have the steadfastness to maintain the process and therefore the mind is diverted into pursuing the sense objects and thus deviated from yoga.

 Arjuna beseeches Bhagavan Shri Krishna, what will be such a person’s destination who gives up his practice of meditation after a while?

6.38      Shloka 6.38

कच्चिन्नोभयविभ्रष्टश्छिन्नाभ्रमिव नश्यति।
अप्रतिष्ठो महाबाहो विमूढो ब्रह्मणः पथि।।6.38।।

Kaccin nobhaya-vibhrastas chinnabhram iva nasyati |
Apratistho maha-baho vimudho brahmanah pathi
।।6.38।।

Meaning:  O mighty-armed one, does not such a man, who is bewildered from the path of transcendence, fall away from both spiritual and material success and perish like a fragmented cloud, with no position in any sphere?

Arjuna also wants to know what happens to the person who is engaged in the practice of Yoga with full faith but fails in perfecting it.  Will such a person attain no position in any sphere and be in state like that of a fragmented cloud?

There are two ways to progress in life – material and spiritual. Those who are materialists engage themselves in material advancement by pursuing appropriate work. When one takes to the path of spiritual life, one must be detached from all material activities and develop detachment. If the aspirant after engaging in the path of spiritual life with full faith fails, then he apparently loses in both ways; neither has he enjoyed material happiness nor has he attained spiritual success.

He has no position like that of a riven cloud. A riven cloud is blown away by the wind and becomes a non-entity in the vast sky. Hence, Arjuna wants to know what becomes of a such person who despite his earnest attempt fails to achieve spiritual success.

6.39      Shloka 6.39

एतन्मे संशयं कृष्ण छेत्तुमर्हस्यशेषतः।
त्वदन्यः संशयस्यास्य छेत्ता ह्युपपद्यते।।6.39।।

Etan me samsayam krsna chettum arhasy asesatah |
Tvad-anyah samsayasyasya chetta na hy upapadyate
।।6.39।।

Meaning: This is my doubt, O’ Kṛishna, and I ask You to dispel it completely. But for You, no one can remove this doubt.

Arjuna implores Bhagavan Shri Krishna to dispel all his doubts completely and clearly states that there is no one else who can clarify the doubts.

As Bhagavan Shri Krishna is the perfect knower of past, present, and future, He is the most qualified and the only One who can clarify the doubts of Arjuna.

6.40      Shloka 6.40

श्री भगवानुवाच
पार्थ नैवेह नामुत्र विनाशस्तस्य विद्यते।
नहि कल्याणकृत्कश्िचद्दुर्गतिं तात गच्छति।।6.40।।

Sri Bhagavan uvaca

Partha naiveha namutra vinasas tasya vidyate |
Na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati
।।6.40।।

Meaning: Bhagavan Shri Krishna replied: Son of Partha, a transcendentalist engaged in spiritual activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.

The word ‘vinasas’ means destruction and denotes forfeiture of passage to heavenly abode and it also denotes the loss of spiritual accomplishments as well, both of which an aspirant could have achieved. But when one has performed even a little yoga in meditation one is automatically insured that there will be no diminution either in the present or in the future.

Hence, to dispel all doubts, Bhagavan Shri Krishna answers this question by addressing Arjuna in a very affectionate way with the use of the word ‘tata’ meaning ‘dear one’. Then He confirms that there is no downfall or setback in the present life or in the next life for an aspirant of Moksha.  Even if one fails to reach perfection due to digressing from the path by negligence or lethargy there is no demerit or diminution. One who treads the path of yoga and righteousness never meets with an inauspicious or evil destiny.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.17) Sri Narada Muni instructs Vyasadeva as follows:

tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer
bhajann apakko ‘tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim
ko vartha apto ‘bhajatam sva-dharmatah

Meaning: One who has forsaken his material occupations to engage in the devotional service of the Lord may sometimes fall down while in an immature stage, yet there is no danger of his being unsuccessful. On the other hand, a non-devotee, though fully engaged in occupational duties, does not gain anything.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna goes on to explain further on what happens to such a person who despite engaging with full faith is unable to achieve spiritual success in the next few verses.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

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