SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 26
Chapter 6, Verses 41 to 47 – DHYANA YOGA
In the next seven verses of Chapter 6, Bhagavan Shri Krishna explains how to realise eternal bliss by uniting the Self with the Ultimate Consciousness through constant meditation and purification of the mind. 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. Bhagavan Shri Krishna says that such a perfected Yogi sees Me everywhere and Me in everything. And such a Yogi never forgets Me and he is never forgotten by Me. In the final verse of the Chapter, Bhagavan says that of all Yogis, the one who acts with great faith in Me, who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself and is deeply dedicated to Me and renders devotional service to Me – he is the most intimately united with Me in Yoga and is the most superior of all.
6.41 Shloka 6.41
प्राप्य पुण्यकृतां लोकानुषित्वा शाश्वतीः समाः।
शुचीनां श्रीमतां गेहे योगभ्रष्टोऽभिजायते।।6.41।।
Prapya punya-krtam lokan usitva sasvatih samah |
Sucinam srimatam gehe yoga-bhrasto ‘bhijayate ।।6.41।।
Meaning: The unsuccessful Yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planes of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.
The unsuccessful yogis are divided into two classes: one who has fallen after very little progress, and the other who has failed after a long period of practicing Yoga. Such a Yogi is reborn in the family of righteous and pious or into a wealthy family. Those who are born in such families have to opportunity to take advantage of the facilities and try to elevate themselves to achieve self-realisation.
Lord Krishna is declaring that whatever desire diverts one from continuing on the path of yoga, such a desire will find its fulfilment. When one’s time limit for enjoyment is exhausted, one takes rebirth in a pious and wealthy family. This is another opportunity where one can recommence their discontinued yogic practice from their previous life. To be thus born in such a favourable environment is due to the potency and efficacy of this yoga which was commenced but not completed. In short, such efforts are not futile as it still provides another chance to recommence their yogic practice.
6.42 Shloka 6.42
अथवा योगिनामेव कुले भवति धीमताम्।
एतद्धि दुर्लभतरं लोके जन्म यदीदृशम्।।6.42।।
Atha va yoginam eva kule bhavati dhimatam |
Etad dhi durlabhataram loke janma yad idrsam।।6.42।।
Meaning: Otherwise, such a Yogi takes birth into a family endowed with wisdom of spiritual knowledge. Certainly, such a birth is very rare in this world.
Birth in a family of Yogis—those with great wisdom—is praised because the child born into such a family receives spiritual impetus right from the very beginning of his/her life. It is certainly very fortunate to take birth in such families.
Although, being born in a wealthy family of Brahmins is seen as meritorious, it is still not deemed to be more beneficial than taking birth in a family of spiritually enlightened. Being born into a wealthy family comes with all the possibilities for distraction and digression which obstruct and impede progress towards self-realisation of the soul and attain Moksha from this material world.
6.43 Shloka 6.43
तत्र तं बुद्धिसंयोगं लभते पौर्वदेहिकम्।
यतते च ततो भूयः संसिद्धौ कुरुनन्दन।।6.43।।
Tatra tam buddhi-samyogam labhate paurva-dehikam |
Yatate ca tato bhuyah samsiddhau kuru-nandana ।।6.43 ।।
Meaning: On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness from his previous life, and tries again to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
King Bharata, who took his third birth in the family of a pious family, is an example of good birth and revival of the previous effort to gain spiritual knowledge. The Emperor, at an early age, retired for spiritual perfection but failed to achieve success. In his next life he took birth in the family of a pious Brahmin and was known as Jadabharata.
The Story of Jadabharata
There was a great monarch named Bharata after whom India is also known as Bharata Varsha. Bharata was born the son of Dushyanta (Rishaba Deva) and Shakuntala. The great King Bharata in his old age relinquished his throne to his son and retired into the forest (Vaanaprastha). There he lived an austere life and was in constant meditation.
One day, while he was meditating, a pregnant deer came to drink water from the river. At that moment, a lion roared at a little distance. The pregnant deer was startled and in extreme stress and in that fright give birth to a little fawn, and immediately fell dead. The fawn fell into the water and Sage Bharata rescued it. The Sage took the fawn under his protection and reared it with paternal care. He became attached to the deer and became increasingly fond of it. He could not concentrate his mind as he constantly worried for its safety.
After some years, the sage was very ill and laid himself down to die. But his mind, instead of meditating upon the Supreme Consciousness, he was thinking about the deer and wondering who would take care of it; and with his eyes fixed upon the sad looks of his beloved deer, his soul left the body.
As a result of this, in his next birth he was born as a deer. But no Karma is lost, and all the great and good deeds done by him as a sage bore their fruit. This deer was a born as Jatismara, and it remembered the past life o the Sage, though deprived of speech. The deer was instinctively drawn to graze near hermitages where oblations were offered, and the Scriptures were taught.
After spending a deer’s life, he was born as the youngest son of a rich Brahmin. And in this life also, he remembered his past lives, and therefore he was determined not to get entangled in the mundane aspects of material life, thereby earning him the nickname as “Jada” meaning dull or inert. His thoughts were always on the realisation of the Soul, and he lived only to wear out his Prarabdha Karma. In course of time his father died, and the sons divided the property among themselves; and thinking that the youngest was a dumb, the others seized his share.
Jada Bharata was ill treated by his brothers and sisters’ in-law. The brothers worked him like their slave, and they would give him the leftover food.
Once King’s assistants were looking for a suitable human to sacrifice for the sake of a boy child for the King. They found Jada Bharata to be the right candidate for the sacrifice as he was young and strong. They sat him at the feet of the Goddess Kali, and even as the high priest lifted up an axe to cut down, Kali came alive with the weapons in hand, and she slashed everyone in the room and went back into the statue.
Jada Bharata walked out, and while he was walking on road, a gang of men found him and sought him to replace one of the carriers of King Rahugana’s palanquin.
Without any resentment Jada Bharata acceded to the request and joined the other carriers of the King’s palanquin. While walking, he swerved to avoid stepping on a worm on his path causing the Palanquin to shake unevenly.
The King was jolted out of balance and scolded the carriers who blamed Jada Bharata for it.
Jada Bharata took it in his stride but once again he had to swerve leading the same result. This time, the King was a bit harsh with his words. The King rebuked Jada Bharata saying, “Fool, if you are tired, and if your shoulders are paining, rest a while.”
Jada Bharata laid down the pole of the palanquin down, opened his mouth and spoke, “Whom do you, O King, call a fool? Whom do you ask to lay down the palanquin? Who do you say is weary? Who do you address as ‘You’? O’ King, if you mean by the word ‘you’ this mass of flesh, it is composed of the same matter as yourself; it is unconscious, and it knows no weariness, and it knows no pain.
If you intend it to be the mind, then it is the same as yours; it is Universal. But if you mean by the word ‘You’ as applied to something beyond that, then it is the Self, the Reality in me, which is the same as in the Reality in You. O’ King, do you think that the Self can ever be weary, that It can ever be tired, or that It can ever be hurt?
I did not want, this body did not want, to trample upon the poor worms crawling on the path, and therefore, in trying to avoid them, the palanquin moved unevenly. But the Self was never tired; It was never weak; It never bore the pole of the palanquin: for It is omnipotent and omnipresent.”
By that, Jada Bharata eloquently explained the nature of the soul, and on the highest form of spiritual knowledge. The King, who was proud of his learning, spiritual knowledge, and philosophy, alighted from the palanquin, and fell at the feet of Jada Bharata, saying, “I ask your pardon, O mighty one, I did not know that you are a Sage, when I asked you to carry me.” Bharata blessed him and departed. He then resumed the even tenor of his previous life. When Bharata left the body, he attained Moksha.
Bhagavan Shri Krishna, in this verse, is declaring that the influence of yoga, meditation and Satsang are so potent that they carry into the next life and impel such a person in their next life to gravitate towards spiritual life as if it were not in one’s power to resist.
6.44 Shloka 6.44
पूर्वाभ्यासेन तेनैव ह्रियते ह्यवशोऽपि सः।
जिज्ञासुरपि योगस्य शब्दब्रह्मातिवर्तते।।6.44।।
Purvabhyasena tenaiva hriyate hy avaso ‘pi sah
Jijnasur api yogasya sabda-brahmativartate ।।6.44।।
Meaning: By virtue of the divine consciousness from previous life, one is automatically attracted to the yogic practices – even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive yogi stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures and desists from fruitive actions.
The words ‘purvabhyasena’ means impressions from the previous life and by this even one born in a rich family will feel drawn towards an austere and spiritual life and seek enlightenment by practicing yoga instead of performing fruitive actions.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.7), the power of chanting Lord’s Namas is explained below:
aho bata svapaco ‘to gariyan yajjihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te ||
Meaning: O’ how glorious are they who chant Your holy name. They are far more advanced in spiritual life, even if born in treacherous families. Such a person is equivalent to one who has performed all kinds of austerities and sacrifices, bathed in all sacred places, and finished all scriptural studies.
A good illustration of this is when Swami Chaitanya accepted Thakur Haridasa as one of His most important disciples. Although Thakur Haridasa happened to take his birth in a Muslim family, he was appointed as an Acharya by Swami Chaitanya due to his constant chanting of holy names of the Lord – “Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare; Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare” – also known as the Maha Mantra.
6.45 Shloka 6.45
प्रयत्नाद्यतमानस्तु योगी संशुद्धकिल्बिषः।
अनेकजन्मसंसिद्धस्ततो याति परां गतिम्।।6.45।।
Prayatnad yatamanas tu yogi samsuddha-kilbisah ।
Aneka-janma-samsiddhas tato yati param gatim ।।6.45।।
Meaning: When a Yogi engages himself with sincere endeavour to unite Individual Consciousness with the Ultimate Consciousness, he is purified and is rid of all contaminations, and then ultimately, achieves the perfection of many lifetimes and attains the Supreme goal.
Such is the greatness and virtue of this yoga of uniting the Individual Consciousness with the Ultimate Consciousness, that one’s merit increases and accumulates through many births and ultimately purifies one by disengaging them from all attachments and impurities. In this way one achieves perfection through persistent efforts and attains Moksha or liberation.
6.46 Shloka 6.46
तपस्विभ्योऽधिको योगी ज्ञानिभ्योऽपि मतोऽधिकः।
कर्मिभ्यश्चाधिको योगी तस्माद्योगी भवार्जुन।।6.46।।
Tapasvibhyo ‘dhiko yogi jnanibhyo ‘pi mato ‘dhikah
karmibhyas cadhiko yogi tasmad yogi bhavarjuna ।।6.46।।
Meaning: A Yogi is superior to an ascetic, greater than the practitioners of Impersonal Knowledge and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a Yogi.
The context of Yoga here is the meditative action seeking to unite the individual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness. When this process is predominantly by way of engaging in fruitive activities, it is called karma-yoga, when it is predominantly empirical, it is called jnana-yoga, and when it is predominantly in a devotional relationship with the Supreme Lord, it is called bhakti-yoga.
The Lord has confirmed herein the superiority of yoga, but He has not mentioned that it is better than bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga is full spiritual knowledge, and as such, nothing can excel it. Asceticism without self-knowledge is imperfect. Empirical knowledge without surrender to the Supreme Lord is also imperfect. And fruitive work without surrendering the results is a waste of time. Therefore, the most highly praised form of yoga is bhakti-yoga, and this is still more clearly explained in the next verse. Sri Adi Sankara, who had the highest spiritual knowledge, praised Bhakti as equally potent to attain Self-Realisation. There are numerous examples such as Meerabhai, Surdas, Panduranga, Prahlada etc.
6.47 Shloka 6.47
योगिनामपि सर्वेषां मद्गतेनान्तरात्मना।
श्रद्धावान्भजते यो मां स मे युक्ततमो मतः।।6.47।।
Yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana |
Sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah।।6.27।।
Meaning: And of all Yogis, the one who acts with great faith in Me, who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself and is deeply dedicated to Me and renders devotional service to Me – he is the most intimately united with Me in Yoga and is the most superior of all.
All kinds of Yoga practices culminate in Bhakti-yoga. As Rajaji says in his commentary on the “Bhaja Govindam” song composed by Sri Adi Sankara – “Mature intelligence, lodged securely in the heart, becomes wisdom; wisdom integrated with life and issuing out in action becomes devotion. Knowledge that does not get transformed into devotion is useless tinsel. To believe that Jnana (Knowledge) and Bhakti (devotion), are different from each other is ignorance. If Sri Adi Shankara himself, who drank from the ocean of Jnana, sang in his later years, hymns to develop devotion, it is enough to show that Jnana and Bhakti are one and the same”.
All other Yogas are but means to come to the point of Bhakti-yoga.
This stage of highest perfection in yoga can be attained only by bhakti-yoga, as mentioned in Svetasvara Upanishad (6.26):
yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau |
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah ||
Meaning: Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.
Finally in conclusion Lord Krishna revealed the unassailable superiority of His devotee.
The word “yoginam” means more than just being a yogi, it means being a special yogi above and beyond and superior to all other yogi’s including the four yogi’s described in verse twenty-nine beginning with sarva-bhuta-stham atmanam which refers to the yogi who perceives the soul in all beings. Verse thirty beginning with yo mam pasyati sarvatra which refers to the yogi who sees the Supreme Lord in everything. Verse thirty-one beginning with sarva-bhuta-sthitam which refers to the yogi who realises the Supreme Lord as non-different from the atma or soul. Verse thirty-two beginning with atmaupamyena sarvatra which refers to the yogi who perceives the atma as all-pervading consciousness activating everything. As the yogi indicated in this verse does not fall into one of the four mentioned classifications the genitive case does not have the power to place this yogi into one of those classes.
The words api sarvesam meaning amongst all types refers to those additional yogis indicated in this verse which follow the yoga paths of karma, jnana, tapasya, astanga etc. Likewise the genitive case of the word sarvesam meaning of all types, has the force of the ablative case which indicates this special yogi is a bhakta or loving devotee of the Supreme Lord and thus greater than all other yogis.
In comparison with this special yogi all other yogi’s being inferior can be grouped into a single class. In the word atmana is the word manas meaning giving one’s heart, mind, body and soul in devotion over flowing with love to the Supreme Lord. This dedication is extraordinary and glorifies and distinguishes one from out of all other Yogi’s.
Antar-atmana equates to the innermost manas being the atma which monitors all internal and external experiences. So over-powered by love of God this special yogi is unable to even maintain his very existence without the assistance of the Supreme Lord. In this way he is always one with Him.
Sraddhavan means with earnestness and faith in the Vedic scriptures taught by the spiritual master. The earnestness of desire to worship the Supreme Lord Krishna comes from an intrinsic impulse which impels this special yogi to find Him. The intensity of yearning love that this special yogi has for the Supreme Lord is such that one is unable to tolerate even a moments separation from Him.
The Supreme Lord to whom the emanations, sustenations and immanations of the cosmos abounding in unlimited, diverse variegated objects of enjoyments and enjoyers through the medium of the physical body and the senses is but creative sport.
Whosoever meditates on the Supreme Lord Krishna in this manner He keeps most near to Him as they are most dear to Him and are the most estimable and elevated above all others.
जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!
Hari Om Tat Sat
Spiritual commentaries. Om Tat Sat!
Spiritual commentaries. Om Tat Sat!