Bhagavadgita: 6. The Yoga of Self Control

Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavadgita

Translated by Jayaram V

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Summary: This chapter deal with the practice of self-restraint and control of desires which lead to even mindedness in actions. A yogi who practice self-control conquers himself and attains oneness with Brahman. Through contemplative practices he attains supreme peace and sameness.

Atma Samyama Yoga

1. Said Lord Supreme, He is the real renouncer of the world who does his work without desiring for the fruits of his actions, certainly not the one who renounces actions or worships the sacred fire.

2. O Son of Pandu, what they call as sanyasa, know it to be the same as yoga (union with Supreme). Without giving up intentions, none can become a true yogi.

3. For the sage who has just begun the yoga, work is said to be the means, after attaining yoga even mindedness in doing actions is to be the means.

4. When a man does not act either for sense gratification or for the fruit of his actions and when he has renounced all the desire driven thoughts, he is said to be seated in yoga.

5. Let a man lift himself by himself. Let him not degrade himself. Certainly self is friend to the self and self is also the enemy of the self.

6. He who has controlled his self by his self, certainly his self is his best friend, but for him who has not conquered his self his self is his enemy.

7. The self-conquered peaceful person is but the Supreme Self. For him cold or heat, happiness or sorrow, respect or disrespect are the same.

8. He who is fully satisfied with knowledge and wisdom, who is mentally stable and is master of his senses, and who regards gold or rubbish or a piece of stone as the same, such a self-realized soul is fit to be called a Yogi.

9. He is superior who maintains the same attitude towards his well wishers, friends, enemies, non-aligned, arbitrators, haters, relations, saints and sinners.

10. Let the yogi constantly keep his mind concentrated in his self, sitting alone in a secluded place, self-controlled, without desires and without any sense of possessiveness.

11. In a clean place placing his firm seat, neither too low nor too high, covered with soft cloth, deer skin and kusa grass.

12. There upon, sitting on that seat, with single minded concentration, keeping his mind, senses and activities under firm control, he should practice yoga for self-purification.

13. Holding his body, neck and head firmly in a single line, and still, concentrating his gaze on the tip of his nose and not distracting himself

14. With tranquil mind, but without fear, following brahmacharya (vows of celibacy), mind completely subdued and fixed in Me, the Yogi should sit and make Me his ultimate goal.

15. Practicing thus, ever established in the Self, with disciplined mind, the Yogi attains the highest peace and nirvana in My world.

16. Yoga is neither for the one who is a voracious eater nor for the one who does not eat at all. It is neither for one who is a compulsive sleeper nor for the one who does not sleep at all.

17. He who has learned to control his eating and enjoyment, who performs his actions in a balanced manner, who maintains balance between his waking and sleeping periods, his yoga frees him for all his sorrows.

18. When the disciplined mind is established in the self, and when one becomes impervious to all the desires, he is said to be established in Yoga.

19. A lamp in a windless place is the metaphor that can be used to describe a Yogi whose mind is under control and who is united with his inner Self.

20. The state in which the mind ceases its movements restrained by the performance of the yoga, in which the (lower) self realizes the (Higher) Self and is satisfied in the Self,

21. That state in which he finds unlimited happiness, in which the intellect understands the transcendental (that which is beyond the senses) and wherein established he never moves from truth,

22. And that state having gained which he thinks that he got every thing and that there is nothing else to gain, in that state he is not shaken by even the most troublesome sorrows.

23. Let this disassociation from association with pain be described as Yoga, which must be practiced with decisiveness and unwavering mind.

24. Abandoning all desires born out of desire oriented mental formulations, restraining the mind and the senses equally from all sides,

25. Gradually step by step, with determination, he should hold back his desires with his intelligence and with mind established in the self he should think of nothing else.

26. Whenever and wherever the mind becomes unsteady and unstable, there and then it must be brought back into the control of the Self.

27. Definitely he is the real Yogi. For he has attained tranquil mind and is supremely happy. With all his passions subdued, he is one with Brahman and completely free from all impurities.

28. Engaged thus in the practice of yoga, always immersed in the Self, the sinless yogi, attains unlimited happiness and union with Brahman.

29. The Yogi who is established in his Self and who is even minded all the time and at all the places develops the equal vision where by he sees the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self.

30. He who sees Me everywhere and all Me, I am not lost to him, nor he is lost to Me.

31. Whoever worships Me thus as the Being abiding in all, established in the vision of Oneness, live in Me all the time irrespective of how he behaves and conducts himself.

32. He who in comparison to himself sees all as equal, whether in happiness or in sorrow, that yogi, O Arjuna, should be regarded as supremely perfect in My opinion.

33. Said Arjuna, O Madhusudhana, I am unable to understand this system of yoga which you have explained in outline, due to the restlessness of the mind and its unsteady state.

34. The mind is very fickle indeed O Krishna, turbulent, strong and obstinate. I think it is as impossible to control the mind just as it is impossible to control the wind.

35. Said Lord Supreme, Undoubtedly, O mighty armed, it is very difficult to control the ever moving mind. However, O son of Kunti, through sincere practice and dispassionate detachment (vairagya), it can be achieved.

36. With an uncontrolled mind it is impossible to achieve this yoga of self-discipline. But it can be achieved in My opinion through persistent efforts and subjugation of the mind.

37. Said Arjuna, O Krishna, what is the fate of the unrealized soul who has not been able to control his mind and achieve success in yoga?

38. O Mighty Armed, does he perish like a broken cloud, deprived of both (material and spiritual success), he who is humbled and deluded on the path of Brahman?

39.O Krishna, please dispel this doubt of mine completely. Except you no one else can do this for Me.

40. Said the Supreme Lord, O Partha, neither in this world nor in the other there is any destruction for him who is engaged in the performance of good deeds. Nor would he fall into bad ways and come to grief.

41. The yogi who has stumbled on the path of yoga dwells for many years after his death in the heavenly world of the pure souls and then takes birth in the household of the pure and the prosperous.

42. Or he might also take birth in the family of the yogis of great wisdom. But this kind of birth is very rare to achieve in this world.

43. Arjuna, there he is regains the intelligence of his previous life and strives again for achieving all round perfection.

44. By virtue of his previous life's sadhana, he is drawn automatically towards the yoga. Such an inquisitive seeker of knowledge even goes beyond the verbal form of mantra worship.

45. The Yogi who strives with determination, purified of all sins, having perfected himself during innumerable life times, attains the Highest Goal.

46. The Yogi is considered to be superior to the ascetics. He is also superior to men of knowledge and to men of desire driven actions. Therefore Arjuna became a Yogi.

47. And of all types of Yogi, he is considered to be the best whose thoughts are always revolving around Me, and who worships Me with utmost dedication and sincerity.

Thus ends the sixth chapter named Yoga of Self Control in the Upanishad of the divine Bhagavad-Gita, the knowledge of the Absolute, the yogic scripture, and the debate between Arjuna and Lord Krishna

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