Bhagavadgītā Chapter VI  The True Yoga

Renunciation and Action are One

Translation by Dr. Radhakrishnan (Text Box highlighted)

Sanskrit Text, Transliteration, & Word Translation by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj




अनाश्रितः कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति यः ।

स संन्यासी च योगी च न निरग्निर्न चाक्रियः ॥६- १॥

śrībhagavān uvāca
anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ
sa saṁnyāsī ca yogī ca na niragnir na cākriyaḥ 6.1

śrībhagavān uvāca
anāśritaḥ1 karma-phalam2 kāryam3 karma4 karoti5 yaḥ6
saḥ7 sannyāsī8 ca9 yogī10 ca11 na12 niḥ13 agniḥ14 na15 ca16 akriyaḥ17  6.1 

śrībhagavān uvāca = Sri Bhagavan said; anāśritaḥ1 karma-phalam2  = without dependence1 on fruits of actions2; yaḥ6 karoti5 karma4 kāryam3 = he who performs his action as his duty [he who6 performs5 action4 as duty3] ;  saḥ7 sannyāsī8 ca9 yogī10 ca11=  he is a Sannyasi also, [and] Yogi also [he is7 a Sannyasi8 also9, [and] Yogi10 also11];  na12 niḥ13 agniḥ14  = neither12 without13 fire14; na15 ca16 akriyaḥ17 = nor15 also16  without action17.  6.1

The Blessed Lord said:

(6.I) He who does the work which he ought to do without seeking its fruit he is the saṁnyāsin, he is the yogin, not he who does not light the sacred fire, and performs no rites.

   The teacher emphasizes that saṁnyāsa or renunciation has little to do with outward works. It is an inward attitude. To become a saṁnyāsin it is not necessary to give up the sacrificial fire and the daily ritual. To abstain from these without the spirit of renunciation is futile.

Śaṁkara however by the use of the word "kevalam," makes out that "he who does not light the sacred fire and performs no rites is not the only saṁnyāsin.''  This does not seem to be quite fair to the text.


यं संन्यासमिति प्राहुर्योगं तं विद्धि पाण्डव ।

न ह्यसंन्यस्तसंकल्पो योगी भवति कश्चन ॥६- २॥

yam sannyāsam iti prāhuḥ  yogam tam viddhi pāṇḍava
na hi asannyasta saṁkalpaḥ yogī bhavati kaścana 6.2

yam1 sannyāsam2 iti3 prāhuḥ4 yogam5 tam6 viddhi7 pāṇḍava8
na9 hi10 asannyasta11 saṁkalpaḥ12 yogī13 bhavati14 kaścana15   6.2 

yam1 sannyāsam2 iti3 prāhuḥ4 yogam5 tam6 viddhi7 pāṇḍava8  = What they call as Monasticism you know as Yoga [what1 monasticism2 thus3 call4 Yoga5 that6 you know7], pāṇḍava8= , O Pandava; kaścana15 bhavati14 yogī13 na9 hi10 asannyasta11 saṁkalpaḥ12 = No one becomes a Yogi without renouncing desire [no one15 becomes14  Yogi13 never9 certainly10 without renouncing11 expectation12] . 6.2

 (6.2) 'What they call renunciation, that know to be disciplined activity, O Paṇḍava (Arjuna), for no one becomes a yogin who has not renounced his (selfish) purpose.

   saṁnyāsa: renunciation. It consists in the accomplishment of the necessary action without an inward striving for reward. This is true yoga, firm control over oneself, complete self-possession.

   This verse says that disciplined activity (yoga) is just as good as renunciation (saṁnyāsa).


आरुरुक्षोर्मुनेर्योगं कर्म कारणमुच्यते ।

योगारूढस्य तस्यैव शमः कारणमुच्यते ॥६- ३॥

ārurukṣor muner yogaṁ karma kāraṇam ucyate
yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śamaḥ kāraṇam ucyate 6.3

ārurukṣoḥ1 muneḥ2 yogam3 karma4 kāraṇam5 ucyate6
yoga7  ārūḍhasya8 tasya9 eva10 śamaḥ11 kāraṇam12 ucyate13  6.3   

ārurukṣoḥ1 yogam3 karma4 ucyate6 kāraṇam5 muneḥ2 = Desirous of advancing in karma yoga, action is the means for a sage. [; eva10 tasya9 śamaḥ11 ucyate13 kāraṇam12 ārūḍhasya8 yoga7 = Indeed tranquility is the means, when he attains to such yoga.

[for one desirous of ascending1 Yoga3 action4  is said to be6 the means5 for the Muni2 (sage)] [indeed10  for him9  tranquility, [serenity, inaction]11 is said to be13 the means12  when he has ascended to8 Yoga7] 6.3

(6.3) Work is said to be the means of the sage who wishes to attain to yoga; when he has attained to yoga, serenity is said to be the means.

   When we are aspirants for liberation (sadhanāvasthā), work done in the right spirit with inner renunciation helps us. When once we achieve self-possession (siddhāvasthā) we act, not for gaining any end but out of our anchorage in God-consciousness. Through work we struggle to obtain self-control; when self-control is attained, we obtain peace. It does not follow that we then abandon all action. For in VI, I, it is stated that the true yogin is one who performs work and not one who renounces it. Sama does not mean the cessation of karma. It cannot be the cause (kāraṇa) of wisdom, for the perfected sage has already attained wisdom. V, I2 says that the yogin attains complete tranquility by abandoning the fruit of action. He performs actions with a perfect equanimity. He overflows with a spontaneous vitality and works with a generosity which arises from his own inexhaustible strength.


यदा हि नेन्द्रियार्थेषु न कर्मस्वनुषज्जते ।

सर्वसंकल्पसंन्यासी योगारूढस्तदोच्यते ॥६- ४॥

yadā hi nendriyārtheṣu na karmasv anuṣajjate
sarvasaṁkalpasaṁnyāsī yogārūḍhas tadocyate 6.4

yadā1 hi2 na3 indriya-artheṣu4 na5 karmasu6 anuṣajjate7
sarva8 saṅkalpa9 sannyāsī10 yoga11 ārūḍhaḥ12 tadā13 ucyate14  6.4   

yadā1 hi2 na3 indriya-artheṣu4 na5 anuṣajjate7 karmasu6 = When one does not have any attachment to sense objects and actions [When1 surely2 [he] has neither3 attachments to sense objects4 nor5 attachment7 to actions6]; sarva8 saṅkalpa9 sannyāsī10  = he is the relinquisher of desires. [ all8-desires9 relinquisher10]; ucyate14 yoga11ārūḍhaḥ12 tadā13 = He is said to be at that time the ascender in Yoga [he is said to be3 ascender in12 Yoga11 at that time13] . 6.4

(6.4) When one does not get attached to the objects of sense or to works, and has renounced all purposes, then, he is said to have attained to yoga.

   sarvasaṁkalpasaṁnyāsī: one who has renounced all purposes. We must give up our likes and dislikes, forget ourselves. leave ourselves out. By the abandonment of all purposes, by the mortification of the ego, by the total surrender to the will of the Supreme, the aspirant develops a condition of mind approximating to the Eternal. He partakes in some measure the undifferentiated timeless consciousness of that which he desires to apprehend.

   The freed soul works without desire and attachment, without the egoistic will of which desires are born. Manu says that all desires are born of saṁkalpa.1 M.B. says: "O desire, I know thy root. Thou art born of saṁkalpa or thought. I shall not think of thee (Desire) and thou shalt cease to exist.'' 2

1 saṁkalpamūlaḥ, kāmo vai yajñāḥ, saṁkalpasaṁbhavāḥ. II, 3.

2 kāma, jānāmi te mūlam, saṁkalpāt tvam hi jāyase

na tvām saṁkalpayiṣyāmi tena me na bhaviṣyasi. Sāntiparva, 77, 25·


उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् ।

आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः ॥६- ५॥

uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayet
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ 6.5

uddharet1 ātmanā2 ātmānam3 na4 ātmānam5 avasādayet6
ātma7 eva hi8 ātmanaḥ9 bandhuḥ10 ātma11 eva12 ripuḥ13 ātmanaḥ14 6.5 

[One should] uddharet1 = raise;  ātmānam3 = his soul; [from the ocean of Samsara]  ātmanā2 = by his self; [and] na4 = never; [let] ātmānam5 = the embodied soul; avasādayet6 = sink. ātma7 = One's own self;  [is] eva hi8 = verily indeed;  ātmanaḥ9 = ones own; bandhuḥ10 = friend. ātma11 = One's own self;  [is] eva12 = indeed; ātmanaḥ14 = one's own; ripuḥ13 = enemy.  6.5

(6.5) Let a man lift himself by himself; let him not degrade himself; for the Self alone is the friend of the self and the Self alone is the enemy of the self.

   Cp, Dhammapada: "The Self is the lord of the self;"1 "the Self is the goal of the self.2   

The Supreme is within us. It is the consciousness underlying the ordinary individualized consciousness of every-day life but incommensurable with it. The two are different in kind, though the Supreme is realizable by one who is prepared to lose his life in order to save it. For the most part we are unaware of the Self in us because our attention is engaged by objects which we like or dislike. We must get away from them, to become aware of the Divine in us. If we do not realize the pointlessness, the irrelevance, and the squalor of our ordinary life, the true Self becomes the enemy of our ordinary life. The Universal Self and the personal self are not antagonistic to each other. The Universal Self can be the friend or the foe of the personal self. If we subdue our petty cravings and desires, if we do not exert our selfish will, we become the channel of the Universal Self. If our impulses are under control, and if our personal self offers itself to the Universal Self then the latter becomes our guide and teacher." 3 Every one of us has the freedom to rise or fall and our future is in our own hands.

1attā hi attano nātho. 160.

2 attā hi attano gati. 380.

3 Boehme says: "Nothing truly but thine own willing, hearing and seeing do keep thee back from it, and do hinder thee from coming to this supersensual state. And it is because thou strivest so against that, out of which thou thyself art descended and derived, that thou thus breakest thyself off, with .thine own willing, from God's willing, and with thy own seeing from God's seeing." St. John of the Cross says: "The more the soul cleaves to created things relying on its own strength, by habit and inclination, the less is it disposed for this union, because it does not completely resign itself into the hands of God, that He may transform it supernaturally."

Jāmi wrote in his Lawā'i:

 Make my heart pure, my soul from error free,

Make tears and sighs my daily lot to be,

And lead me on Thy road away from self,

That lost to self I may approach to Thee.

                                                            Whinfield's E. T.


बन्धुरात्मात्मनस्तस्य येनात्मैवात्मना जितः ।

अनात्मनस्तु शत्रुत्वे वर्तेतात्मैव शत्रुवत् ॥६- ६॥

bandhur ātmātmanas tasya yenātmaivātmanā jitaḥ
anātmanas tu śatrutve vartetātmaiva śatruvat 6.6

bandhuḥ1 ātmā2 ātmanaḥ3 tasya4 yena5 ātmā6  eva7 ātmanā8 jitaḥ9

anātmanaḥ10 tu11 śatrutve12 varteta13  ātma14 eva15 śatruvat16    6.6 

ātmā2 = Self; [is] bandhuḥ1 = the friend; ātmanaḥ3 = of self;  tasya4 = of him;  yena5 = by whom;  ātmā6 = the self; jitaḥ= has been subdued; eva7 = verily; ātmanā8 = by the self;  tu11 = but; anātmanaḥ10 = for one who has not conquered his self; ātma14 = his self; eva15 = itself; varteta13 = acts; śatrutve12 = in a hostile manner; śatruvat16 = like an enemy.  6.6

(6.6) For him who has conquered his (lower) self by the (higher) Self his Self is a friend but for him who has not possessed his (higher) Self: his very Self will act in enmity like an enemy.

   We are called upon to master the lower self by the higher. The determinism of nature is here qualified by the power to control nature. "The lower self is not to be destroyed. It can be used as a helper, if it is held in check.


जितात्मनः प्रशान्तस्य परमात्मा समाहितः ।

शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषु तथा मानापमानयोः ॥६- ७॥

jitātmanaḥ praśāntasya paramātmā samāhitaḥ
śītoṣṇasukhaduḥkheṣu tathā mānāpamānayoḥ 6.7

jita-ātmanaḥ1 praśāntasya2 parama-ātmā3 samāhitaḥ4
śīta5 uṣṇa6 sukha7 duḥkheṣu8 tathā9 māna10 apamānayoḥ11  6.7   

[For] jita-ātmanaḥ1 = one who has conquered his body, mind and senses; praśāntasya2 = one who maintains tranquility; parama-ātmā3 = [in him] the Supreme Soul; samāhitaḥ4 = becomes manifest. śīta5 uṣṇa6 sukha7 duḥkheṣu8  = [He should remain balanced in] cold, heat, happiness and sorrow; tathā9 = also; māna10 apamānayoḥ11 = in honor and dishonor.  6.7

(6.7) When one has conquered one's self (lower) and has attained to the calm of self-mastery, his Supreme Self abides ever concentrate, he is at peace in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, in honor and dishonor.

   This is the state of blessedness of the person who has established himself in unity with the Universal Self. He is a jitātman whose calm and serenity are not disturbed by the pains of the opposites,

   paramātmā Saṁāhitaḥ: S. says that the Supreme Self regards him as His very self.I The self in the body is generally absorbed by the world of dualities, cold and heat, pain and pleasure but when it controls the senses and masters the world, the self becomes free. The Supreme Self is not different from the self in the body. When the self is bound by the modes of prakṛti or nature, it is called Kṣetrajña; when it is freed from them, the same self is called the Supreme Self.2 This is certainly the position of Advaita (non-dual) Vedanta.

   Those who are opposed to this view break up paramātmā into two words, param and ātmā, and look upon the word param as an adverb qualifying the verb samahitah,

   R. takes param as an adverb and holds that the self is sublimely realized.

   Śrīdhara says that such a person becomes concentrated in- his self.3 Ᾱnandagiri holds that the self of such a person becomes completely concentrated.4

   sama-āhita: firmly directed to equality. This is not" however, the usual explanation.

1sākṣat ātmabhāvena vartate.

2Cp. M.B. ātmā kṣetrajña ity uktaḥ, sa,yukta prākṛtair guṇaiḥ

                             tair eva tu vinirmuktaḥ paramātmety udahta. Santiparva, ,187, 24.

3 samāhitaḥ ātmaniṣṭhaḥ bhavati.

4 sam-ā-hita cp. saṁādhi: jitātmanaḥ nirvikāracittasya ātmā, cittaṁ

param utkarṣeṇa samādhiṁ, prāptaḥ bhavati.

-. I


ज्ञानविज्ञानतृप्तात्मा कूटस्थो विजितेन्द्रियः ।

युक्त इत्युच्यते योगी समलोष्टाश्मकाञ्चनः ॥६- ८॥

jñānavijñānatṛptātmā kūṭastho vijitendriyaḥ
yukta ity ucyate yogī sama loṣṭrāśmakāñcanaḥ 6.8

jñāna1 vijñāna2 tṛptā3 ātmā4 kūṭastha5 vijita6 indriyaḥ7
yukta8 iti9 ucyate10 yogī11 sama12 loṣṭra13 āśma14 kāñcanaḥ15  6.8  

jñāna1 = [With] knowledge; vijñāna2 = [and] Realized Experiential Knowledge; tṛptā3 = [he remains] a satisfied; ātmā4 = self, soul. kūṭastha5 = He who is unmoved [like an anvil];  vijita6 indriyaḥ7 = whose sense organs7 are under control6; yukta8 = who is absorbed in the Self;  iti9 = thus; ucyate10 = is called;  yogī11 = Yogi; [to whom] loṣṭra13 = clod; āśma14 = stone; [and]  kāñcanaḥ = gold  sama12 = are the same [equal].  6.8

 (6.8) The ascetic (yogi) whose soul is satisfied with wisdom and knowledge, who is unchanging and master of his senses, to whom a clod, a stone and a piece of gold are the same, is said to be controlled (in yoga).

   The yogin is said to be yukta or in yoga when he is concentrating on the Supreme above the changes of the world. Such a yogin is satisfied with the knowledge and experience of the Reality behind the appearances. He is unperturbed by things and happenings of the world and is therefore said to be equaI­ minded to the events of this changing world.

jñāna1 vijñāna2 =  jñāna vijñāna. see III, 4I note.

Kūṭastha: literally, set on a high place, immovable, changeless, firm, steady, tranquil.


सुहृन्मित्रार्युदासीनमध्यस्थद्वेष्यबन्धुषु ।

साधुष्वपि च पापेषु समबुद्धिर्विशिष्यते ॥६- ९॥

sādhuṣv api ca pāpeṣu samabuddhir viśiṣyate 6.9

suhṛt1 mitra2 ari3 udāsīna4 madhyastha5 dveṣya6 bandhuṣu7
sādhuṣu8 api9 ca10 pāpeṣu11 sama-buddhiḥ12 viśiṣyate13  6.9 

suhṛt1 = [He who regards] a selfless friend; mitra2  = a cognate a friend; ari3 = an enemy;  udāsīna4 = a neutral person;  madhyastha5  = an arbiter; dveṣya6  = the detested; bandhuṣu7 = the relatives; sādhuṣu= the saints; api9  = even;  ca10 = and; pāpeṣu11 = the sinners;  sama-buddhiḥ12  = with equal mind; viśiṣyate13 = excels.  6.9

(6.9) He who is equal-minded among friends, companions and foes, among those who are neutral and impartial, among those who are hateful and related, among saints and sinners,

he excels.

Another reading for viśiṣyate is vimucyate. S.B.G.

How is one to attain to this yoga?

Eternal Vigilance over Body and Mind is Essential


योगी युञ्जीत सततमात्मानं रहसि स्थितः ।

एकाकी यतचित्तात्मा निराशीरपरिग्रहः ॥६- १०॥

yogī yuñjīta satatam ātmānaṁ rahasi sthitaḥ
ekākī yatacittātmā nirāśīr aparigrahaḥ 6.10

yogī1 yuñjīta2 satatam3 ātmānam4 rahasi5 sthitaḥ6
ekākī7 yata-citta-ātmā8 nirāśīḥ9 aparigrahaḥ10   6.10

yogī1 = Yogi, [a connected and centered person]; yuñjīta2 = concentrates; satatam3 = constantly, uninterruptedly; ātmānam4 = by the mind; rahasi5 = in a secluded or solitary place; sthitaḥ6 = by staying; ekākī7 = alone by himself; yata-citta-ātmā8 = restraining mind and body;  nirāśīḥ9 = without desire; [and] aparigrahaḥ10 = not accumulating possessions.  6.10

(6.10) Let the yogin try constantly to concentrate his mind (on the Supreme Self) remaining in solitude and alone, self-controlled, free from desires and (longing for) possessions.

   Here the teacher develops the technique of mental discipline on the lines of Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra. Its main purpose is to raise our consciousness from its ordinary waking condition to higher levels until it attains union with the Supreme. The human mind is ordinarily turned outwards. Absorption in the mechanical and material sides of life leads to a disbalanced condition of consciousness. Yoga attempts to explore the inner world of consciousness and helps to integrate the conscious and the sub­ conscious.

   We must divest our minds of all sensual desires, abstract our attention from all external objects and  absorb it in the object of meditation.1 See B.G., XVIII, 72, where the teacher asks Arjuna whether he heard his teaching with his mind fixed to one point, ekāgreṇa cetasā. As the aim is the attainment of purity

of vision, it exacts of the mind fineness and steadiness. Our present dimensions are not the ultimate limits of our being. By summoning all the energies of the mind and fixing them on one point, we raise the level of reference from the empirical to the real, from observation to vision and let the spirit take possession of our

whole being. In the Book of Proverbs, it is said that "the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord." There is something in the inmost being of man which can be struck into flame by God.

I It is what Boehme calls the "stopping the wheel of the imagination and ceasing from self-thinking."


   satatam: constantly. The practice must be constant. It is no use taking to meditation by fits and starts. A continuous creative effort is necessary for developing the higher, the intenser form of consciousness.


   rahasi: in solitude. The aspirant must select a quiet place with soothing natural surroundings such as the banks of rivers or tops of hills which lift our hearts and exalt our minds. In a world which is daily growing noisier, the duty of the civilized man is to have moments of thoughtful stillness. Cp, "Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet-and shut the door.2 We should retire into a quiet place and keep off external distractions. Cp, Origen's description of the first hermits: "They dwelt in the desert where the air was more pure and the heaven more open and God more familiar."

2Matthew vi, 6.


   ekākī: alone. The teacher insists that the seeker should be alone to feel the gentle pressure, to hear the quiet voice.


   yatacittātmā: self-controlled. He must not be excited, strained or anxious. To learn to be quiet before God means a life of control and discipline. ātmā is used in the sense of deha or body according to S. and Śrīdhara. It is no use entering the closet with the daily paper and the business file. Even if we leave them outside and shut the doors and windows, we may have an unquiet time with all our worries and preoccupations. There should be no restlessness or turbulence. Through thoughts we appeal to the intellect; through silence we touch the deeper layers of being. The heart must become clean if it is to reflect God who is to be seen and known only by the pure in heart. We must centre down into that deep stillness and wait on the Light. "Commune with your Father which is in secret." The Living Presence of God is revealed in silence to each soul according to his capacity, and need.3

3Cp. Wordsworth's statement, that "poetry takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." Rilke in his Letters to a Young Poet says: I can give you no other advice than this, retire into yourself and probe the depths from which your life springs up."


   Plato's Meno begins with the question, "Can you tell me, Socrates, is virtue to be taught?" The answer of Socrates is, that virtue is not taught but "recollected." Recollection is a gathering of one's self together, a retreat into one's soul. The doctrine of "recollection" suggests that each individual should enquire within himself. He is his own center and possesses the truth in himself. What is needed is that he should have the will and the perseverance to follow it up. The function of the teacher is not to teach but to help to put the learner in possession of himself. The questioner has the true answer in himself, if only he can be delivered of it. Every man is in possession of the truth and is dispossessed of it by his entanglement in the objective world. By identifying ourselves with the objective world, we are ejected or alienated from our true nature. Lost in the outer world, we desert the deeps. In transcending the object, physical and mental, we find ourselves in the realm of freedom.


   nirāśi: free from desires. Worry about daily needs, about earning and spending money, disturbs meditation and takes us away from the life of the spirit. So we are asked to be free from desire and anxiety born of it, from greed and fear. The seeker should try to tear himself away from these psychic fetters and get detached from all distractions and prejudices. He must put away all clinging to mental preferences, vital aims, attachment to family and friends. He must expect nothing, insist on nothing.


   aparigrahaḥ: free from longing for possessions. This freedom is a spiritual state, not a material condition. We must control the appetite for possessions, free ourselves from the tyranny of belongings. One cannot hear God's voice, if one is restless and self-centered, if one is dominated by feelings of pride, self-will or possessiveness. The Gītā points out that true happiness is inward.


   It invites our attention to the manner of our life  the state of human consciousness, which does not depend on the outward machinery of life. The body may die and the world pass away but the life in spirit endures. Our treasures are not the things of the world that perish but the knowledge and love of God that endure. We must get out of the slavery to things to gain the glad freedom of spirit.4

4To the rich man who said that he had kept all the commandments, Jesus answered, "Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven." When Jesus saw that the rich man was very sorrowful, he said: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God." St. Luke xviii, 18-23.


शुचौ देशे प्रतिष्ठाप्य स्थिरमासनमात्मनः ।

नात्युच्छ्रितं नातिनीचं चैलाजिनकुशोत्तरम् ॥६- ११॥

śucau deśe pratiṣṭhāpya sthiram āsanam ātmanaḥ
nātyucchritaṁ nātinīcaṁ cailājinakuśottaram 6.11

śucau1 deśe2 pratiṣṭhāpya3 sthiram4 āsanam5 ātmanaḥ6
na7 ati8 ucchritam9 na10 ati11 nīcam12 caila13 ajina14 kuśa15 uttaram16  6.11  

śucau1 = In a clean deśe2 = place; pratiṣṭhāpya3 = having abided, having established, having seated; sthiram4 = firmly; ātmanaḥ6 = on his own; āsanam5 = seat;  na7 ati8 ucchritam9 = neither too elevated; na10 ati11 nīcam12 = nor too low; caila13 ajina14 kuśa15 uttaram16  = [made of] cloth13, animal skin14, Kusa grass15 successively higher [= one on top of another from grass bottom to cloth]166.11

 (6.11) He should set in a clean place his firm seat, neither too high nor too low, covered with sacred grass, a deerskin and a cloth, one over the other.


तत्रैकाग्रं मनः कृत्वा यतचित्तेन्द्रियक्रियः ।

उपविश्यासने युञ्ज्याद्योगमात्मविशुद्धये ॥६- १२॥

tatraikāgraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā yatacittendriyakriyaḥ
upaviśyāsane yuñjyād yogam ātmaviśuddhaye 6.12

tatra1 ekāgram2 manaḥ3 kṛtvā4 yata5 citta6 indriya7 kriyaḥ8

upaviśya9 āsane10 yuñjyāt11 yogam12 ātma13-viśuddhaye14  6.12 

[By] kṛtvā4  = making; manaḥ3 = the mind; ekāgram2  = one-pointed; [and by] kriyaḥ8 =keeping; citta6-indriya7 = the mind and the sense organs; yata5 = under control; upaviśya9 = sitting; tatra1 āsane10 = on that1 seat10yuñjyāt11 Yogam12   = practices11 Yoga12; ātma13  viśuddhaye14  = for the purification14 of the inner organs13.   6.12

(6.12) There taking his place on the seat, making his mind one-pointed and controlling his thought and sense, let him practice yoga for the purification of the soul.

   yoga here means dhyāna yoga, meditation. To realize truth, man must be delivered from the clutches of practical interests which are bound up with our exterior and material life. The chief condition is a disciplined disinterestedness. We must develop the power to see things as a free undistorted intelligence would see them. For this we must get ourselves out of the way. When Pythagoras was questioned why he called himself a philosopher he gave the following story. He  compared human life with the great festival at Olympia where all the world comes together in a motley crowd. Some are there to do business at the fair and enjoy themselves. Others wish to win the wreath in the contest and some others are merely spectators and these last are the philosophers. They keep themselves free from the urgencies of immediate problems and practical necessities. S. points out that the essential qualifications of a seeker of wisdom are a capacity to discriminate between the eternal and the non-eternal, detachment from the enjoyment of the fruits of action, terrestrial and

celestial, self-control and an ardent desire for spiritual freedom.1 For Plato, the aim of all knowledge is to raise us to the contemplation of the idea of good, the source alike of being and knowing, and the ideal philosopher is one whose goal, at the end of a life lived to the full, "is always a life of quiet, of indrawn stillness, of solitude and aloofness, in which the world forgetting, by the world forgot, he finds his heaven in lonely contemplation of the 'good.' That and that alone is really life." "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." This purification of the heart, cittaśuddhi, is a matter of discipline. Plotinus tells us that "wisdom is a condition in a being at rest."2

1nityānityavastuviveka, ihāmūtraPhalabhogavirāga, śamādisādhana saṁpat, mumukṣutvam.

2 Enneads. IV. 4, 12.


समं कायशिरोग्रीवं धारयन्नचलं स्थिरः ।

सम्प्रेक्ष्य नासिकाग्रं स्वं दिशश्चानवलोकयन् ॥६- १३॥

samaṁ kāyaśirogrīvaṁ dhārayann acalaṁ sthiraḥ
saṁprekṣya nāsikāgraṁ svaṁ diśaś cānavalokayan 6.13

samam1 kāya2 śiraḥ3 grīvam4 dhārayan5 acalam6 sthiraḥ7

saṁprekṣya8  nāsikā9 agram10  svam11 diśaḥ12 ca13 anavalokayan14  6.13 

dhārayan5 = Holding; kāya2 = body; śiraḥ3 = head; [and]  grīvam4 = neck; samam1 = straight; acalam6 = still; (and) sthiraḥ7 = steady; anavalokayan14 = not looking; diśaḥ12 = in all directions; ca13 =  and saṁprekṣya8 = looking at;  agram10 = the tip ; svam11= of his own; nāsikā9 = nose.  6.13

(6.I3) Holding the body, head and neck, erect and still, looking fixedly at the tip of his nose, without looking around (without allowing his eyes to wander).

Posture or āsana is here mentioned. Patañjali points out that the posture should be steady and pleasing so as to aid concentration. A right posture gives serenity of body. The body must be kept clean if the living image of God is to be installed in it.

saṁprekṣya  nāsikāgram: The gaze is to be fixed on the tip of the nose. A wandering gaze is not a help to concentration.


प्रशान्तात्मा विगतभीर्ब्रह्मचारिव्रते स्थितः ।

मनः संयम्य मच्चित्तो युक्त आसीत मत्परः ॥६- १४॥

praśāntātmā vigatabhīr brahmacārivrate sthitaḥ
manaḥ saṁyamya maccitto yukta āsīta matparaḥ 6.14

praśānta ātmā1 vigata-bhīḥ2 brahmacāri3a-vrate3b sthitaḥ4

manaḥ5 saṁyamya6 mat-cittaḥ7 yuktaḥ8 āsīta9 mat-paraḥ10    6.14 

   vigata-bhīḥ2 = devoid of fear; sthitaḥ4 = remaining firm; brahmacāri3avrate3b  = in the vow3b of a celibate3a; praśānta ātmā1 = with the tranquil mind; saṁyamya6 = subduing; manaḥ5 = his mind; mat7a-cittaḥ7b = abiding Me7a in his mind7b ; mat10a-paraḥ10b = holding Me10a as the Supreme Goal10b. yuktaḥ8 = the Yogi; āsīta9 = should remain seated.   6.14


(6.14) Serene and fearless, firm in the vow of celibacy, subdued in mind, let him sit, harmonized, his mind turned to Me and intent on Me alone.

  brahmacāri3avrate3b sthitaḥ4 firm in the vow of celibacy. The aspirant for yoga must exercise control over sex impulses. Hindu tradition has insisted on brahmacarya from the beginning. In the Praśna Up., Pippalāda asks the seekers to observe brahmacarya for a year more at the end of which he undertakes to initiate them into the highest wisdom. In Chāndogya Up., Brahma taught Indra the knowledge of Reality after making him undergo brahmacarya for 101 years. Brahmacarya is defined as abstinence from sex intercourse in thought, word and deed in all conditions and places and times.1 The gods are said to have conquered death by brahmacarya and penance.2 In Jñānasaṁkalinī Tantra, Siva says that true tapas is brahmacarya and he who practices it uninterruptedly is divine, not human.3 It is not ascetic celibacy that is meant by brahmacarya, but control. Hindu tradition affirms that a householder who controls his sex life is a brahmacari



1 Yajfiavalkya writes:

karmaṇā manasā vācā sarvāvastkāsu sarvadā

sarvatra maithunatyāgo brahmacaryaṁ pracakṣate.

2 bramacaryeṇa tapasā devā mṛtyum Upāghnata. Atharva Veda.

3 na tapas tapa ity āhuḥ brahmacaryaṁ tapottamam

ūrdhvaretā bhaved yastu sa devo na tu mānua.

  The difficulty of chastity is illustrated in the lives of many saints. St. Augustine used to pray: "Give me chastity and continence, only not yet." Confessions, Bk. VIII, Ch. VII. Rodin has the whole thing in a piece of sculpture called the Eternal Idol where a woman on her knees, but leaning backward, with body thrust forward and arms hanging loose receives between her breasts the bearded face of a man who kneels before her in servile longing for her embrace. There is hardly one man in a thousand who will not put aside his ideals, his highest vision, everything which for him represents God in order to get the woman he loves. In the opinion of many contemporaries chastity is a condition which is as selfish as it is dull. To them the Hindu emphasis on it may seem somewhat odd and exaggerated, quite as truly as one who abstains from sex altogether.1 To be a celibate is not to deaden the senses and deny the heart.

  The qualities demanded for the practice of Yoga may be compared with the three Evangelical counsels of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience by which we overcome the world, the flesh and the devil.

  The negative process of bringing all thoughts to a standstill has for its positive side, concentration on the Self. Īśvara­praṇidhāna is a recognized way in yoga discipline. The mind becomes still but not vacant, for it is fixed on the Supreme maccittaḥ matparaḥ.

  Only the single-visioned see the Real. Spiritual life is not prayer or petition. It is profound devoutness, silent meditation, the opening of the consciousness to the innermost depths of the soul, which connect the individual self directly with the Divine Principle. Those who learn this art do not require any external assistance, any belief in dogma or participation in ritual. They acquire the creative vision since they combine absorption with detachment. They act in the world, but the passionless tranquility of the spirit remains undisturbed. They are compared to the lotus on the lake which is unruffled by the tide.

1 bhāryāṁ gacchan brahmacāri ṛteu bhavati vat dvijah. M.B. See also Manu.

Hindu tradition looks upon Ahalyā, Sītā, Maṇḍodari, Draupadī and Tārā as models of chastity, mahāpativratā. They are also called pañcamakākanyā. Thomas Hardy asks us to look upon Tess as a pure woman. Chastity is a condition of mind.


युञ्जन्नेवं सदात्मानं योगी नियतमानसः ।

शान्तिं निर्वाणपरमां मत्संस्थामधिगच्छति ॥६- १५॥

yuñjann evaṁ sadātmānaṁ yogī niyatamānasaḥ
śāntiṁ nirvāṇaparamāṁ matsaṁsthām adhigacchati 6.15

yuñjan1 sadā3 ātmānam4 yogī5 niyata-mānasaḥ6

śāntim7 nirvāṇa-paramām8  mat-saṁsthām9 adhigacchati10  6.15 

niyata-mānasaḥ6 = having controlled his mind; yogī5  = the Yogi; evam2 = thus [as said above]; yuñjan1 = concentrating; ātmānam4 = the mind; sadā3 = uninterruptedly, constantly; adhigacchati10  = attains; śāntim7  = peace; mat-saṁsthām9 = which abides  in Me; nirvāṇa-paramām8 = which ends in Nirvana,  Liberation or Supreme Bliss.   6.15

(6.15) The yogin of subdued mind, ever keeping himself thus harmonized, attains to peace, the supreme nirvana, which abides in Me.


नात्यश्नतस्तु योगोऽस्ति न चैकान्तमनश्नतः ।

न चाति स्वप्नशीलस्य जाग्रतो नैव चार्जुन ॥६- १६॥

nātyaśnatas tu yogosti na caikāntam anaśnataḥ
na cātisvapnaśīlasya jāgrato naiva cārjuna 6.16

na1 ati2 aśnataḥ3 tu4 yogaḥ5 asti6 na7 ca8 ekāntam9 anaśnataḥ10

na11 ca12 ati13 svapna-śīlasya14 jāgrataḥ15 na16 eva17 ca18 arjuna19   6.16 

tu4 = but; arjuna19 = O Arjuna; yogaḥ5 = Yoga; na1 asti6 = is not for; ati2 aśnataḥ3 = one who eats in excess; na7 ca8 = nor is [Yoga];  anaśnataḥ10 ca12 = for him who does not eat;  ekāntam9 = at all; na11 = not (attainable); ati13 svapna-śīlasya14 ca18 = for the one who sleeps too long;  jāgrataḥ15 eva17  na16 = not ever attainable for the one [who] stays awake too long.   6.16

(6.I6) Verily, yoga is not for him who eats too much or abstains too much from eating. It is not for him, O Arjuna, who sleeps too much or keeps awake too much.

  We must be free from animal cravings. We must avoid excess In all things. Compare with this the middle path of the Buddhists, the golden mean of Aristotle.


युक्ताहारविहारस्य  युक्तचेष्टस्य कर्मसु ।

युक्तस्वप्नावबोधस्य योगो भवति दुःखहा ॥६- १७॥

yuktāhāravihārasya yuktaceṣṭasya karmasu
yuktasvapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkhahā 6.17

yukta1 āhāra2 vihārasya3 yukta4 ceṣṭasya5 karmasu6

yukta7 svapna8 avabodhasya9 yogaḥ10 bhavati11 duḥkha-hā12  6.17 

yogaḥ10 = Yoga; duḥkha-hā12 = the remover of sorrow; bhavati11 = is attainable; yukta1 āhāra2 vihārasya3 = for the one who has regulated1 food intake2 and recreation3; yukta4 ceṣṭasya5 = one whose efforts5 are moderate4;  karmasu6 = in works; yukta7 svapna8 avabodhasya9 = for one who is moderate7 in sleep8 and wakefulness96.17

vihārasya3  = walking for pleasure or amusement , wandering , roaming ; sport , play , pastime , diversion , enjoyment , pleasure, recreation, place of recreation.

(6.I7) For the man who is temperate in food and recreation, who is restrained in his actions, whose sleep and waking are regulated, there ensues discipline (yoga) which destroys all sorrow.

  It is not complete abstinence from action but restraint in action that is advised. When the ego is established in the Self, it lives in a transcendent and universal consciousness and acts from that center.


यदा विनियतं चित्तमात्मन्येवावतिष्ठते ।

निःस्पृहः सर्वकामेभ्यो युक्त इत्युच्यते तदा ॥६- १८॥

yadā viniyataṁ cittam ātmany evāvatiṣṭhate
niḥspṛhaḥ sarvakāmebhyo yukta ity ucyate tadā 6.18

yadā1 viniyatam2 cittam3 ātmani4 eva5 avatiṣṭhate6

niḥspṛhaḥ7 sarva8 kāmebhyaḥ9 yuktaḥ10 iti11 ucyate12 tadā13   6.18 

yadā1 = When; viniyatam2 cittam3 = controlled mind; avatiṣṭhate6 = abides; ātmani4 eva5 = in the Self indeed;  tadā13 = at that time; niḥspṛhaḥ7  = the Yogi who is free from all desires, [the abstainer];sarva8 kāmebhyaḥ9 = [and] all8 desirable objects9;  iti11 = thus; ucyate12  = is said to be; yuktaḥ10 = perfect in yoga.  6.18

(6.18) When the disciplined mind is established in the Self alone, liberated from all desires, then is he said to be harmonized (in yoga).

  Complete effacement of the ego is essential for the vision of truth. Every taint of individuality should disappear, if truth is to be known. There should be an elimination of all our prejudices and idiosyncrasies. In these verses, the teacher gives the procedure by which the seeker can gain the experience of the Essential Self. In the ordinary experience of the outer or the inner world, the Self in union with the body is immersed in phenomenal multiplicity and remains veiled because of it. We should first of all empty the soul of every specific operation, rid it of  very image, of every particular representation, of every distinct operation of mind. This is a negative process. It may be thought that by draining our consciousness of every image, we end in a pure and simple nothingness. The teacher makes out that the negative process is adopted to apprehend the Pure Self, to achieve the beatific vision. The silence is made perfect and the void is consummated through this apparently negative but intensely vital mystical contemplation, involving a tension of the forces of the soul. It is an experience which transcends all knowledge, for the Self is not an object expressible in a concept or presentable to mind as an object. It is inexpressible subjectivity.


यथा दीपो निवातस्थो नेङ्गते सोपमा स्मृता ।

योगिनो यतचित्तस्य युञ्जतो योगमात्मनः ॥६- १९॥

yathā dīpo nivātastho neṅgate sopamā smṛtā
yogino yatacittasya yuñjato yogam ātmanaḥ 6.19

yathā1 dīpaḥ2 nivāta-sthaḥ3 na iṅgate4 sa upamā5 smṛtā6

yoginaḥ7 yata-cittasya8 yuñjataḥ9 yogam10 ātmanaḥ11  6.19 

yathā1 = As; dīpaḥ2 = lamp; nivāta-sthaḥ3 = remaining in a windless place; na iṅgate4 = does not shimmer; sa upamā5  = (so goes) that simile; smṛtā6 = so it is said ; yoginaḥ7 = of the Yogi; yogam10 = [in] meditation;  yata-cittasya8  = whose mind is restrained; yuñjataḥ9 = who is immersed; ātmanaḥ11 = on the Self.  6.19

(6.19) As a lamp in a windless place flickereth not, to such is likened the yogi of subdued thought who practices union with the Self (or discipline of himself).

  The yogi's thought is absorbed in the Ᾱtman. Fleeting glimpses or passing visions should not be confused with the insight into Ᾱtman which is the one safeguard against all delusions.


यत्रोपरमते चित्तं निरुद्धं योगसेवया ।

यत्र चैवात्मनात्मानं पश्यन्नात्मनि तुष्यति ॥६- २०॥

yatroparamate cittaṁ niruddhaṁ yogasevayā
yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ paśyann ātmani tuṣyati 6.20

yatra1 uparamate2 cittam3 niruddham4 yoga-sevayā5

yatra6 ca7 eva8 ātmanā9  ātmānam10 paśyan11 ātmani12  tuṣyati13   6.20 

yatra1 = When; cittam5 =  the mind; niruddham4 = is restrained, suppressed; [and] uparamate2 = ceases [desists from desires and actions],  yoga-sevayā5 = because of the practice of Yoga;  ; ca7 = and; yatra6 eva8 = at the time when; paśyan11  = seeing; ātmānam10 = the Self; tuṣyati13 = [one] is delighted; ātmanā9  = by the self; ātmani12  = in one's own Self.   6.20

(6.20) That in which thought is at rest, restrained by the practice of concentration, that in which he beholds the Self through the self and rejoices in the Self;


सुखमात्यन्तिकं यत्तद् बुद्धिग्राह्यमतीन्द्रियम् ।

वेत्ति यत्र न चैवायं स्थितश्चलति तत्त्वतः ॥६- २१॥

sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tad buddhi grāhyam atīndriyam
vetti yatra na caivāyaṁ sthitaś calati tattvataḥ 6.21

sukham1 ātyantikam2 yat3 tat4 buddhi-grāhyam5 atīndriyam6
vetti7 yatra8 na9 ca10 eva11 ayam12 sthitaḥ13 calati14 tattvataḥ15  6.21  

yatra8  = When; [the Yogi] vetti7 = knows; tat4 = that; ātyantikam2 = uninterrupted or infinite; sukham1 = Supreme Happiness or Bliss; yat3 = which;  buddhi-grāhyam5 = is experienced by the intelligence; [and which is] atīndriyam6 = beyond the grasp of the senses; ca10 = and; sthitaḥ13 = standing firm; ayam12 = this one [Yogi]; eva11 = certainly; na9 calati14 = never swerves; tattvataḥ15 = from the Truth.   6.21

(6.21) That in which he finds this supreme delight, perceived by the intelligence and beyond the reach of the senses wherein established, he no longer falls away from the truth;

  See Kaṭha Up., III, 12. While the Supreme is beyond perception by the senses, it is seizable by reason, not by the reason which deals with sense data and frames concepts on their basis but reason which works in its own right. When it does so, it becomes aware of things not indirectly, through the medium of the senses or the relations based on them, but by becoming one with them. All true knowledge is knowledge by identity.1 Our knowledge through physical contact or mental symbols is indirect and approximate. Religion is contemplative realization of God.

1Madhusudana cites the verse.

samādhinirdhūtamalasya cetaso niveśitasy ātmani yat sukham bhavet

na sākyate varṇayituṁ girā tadā svayaṁ tad antaḥkaraṇena gṛḥyate.


यं लब्ध्वा चापरं लाभं मन्यते नाधिकं ततः ।

यस्मिन्स्थितो न दुःखेन गुरुणापि विचाल्यते ॥६- २२॥

yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ
yasmin sthito na duḥkhena guruṇāpi vicālyate 6.22

yam1 labdhvā2 ca3 aparam4 lābham5 manyate6 na7 adhikam8 tataḥ9

yasmin10 sthitaḥ11 na12 duḥkhena13 guruṇāpi14 vicālyate15  6.22 

yam1 labdhvā2 = By gaining which [that Truth];  na7 manyate6 = [one] does not think; aparam4 = any other; lābham5  = gain. adhikam8 tataḥ9 = Surpassing that; ca3  = and; sthitaḥ11 = standing firm; yasmin10 = in which [that Truth]; [one is] na12 vicālyate15  = not moved [afflicted]; guruṇāpi14 = by very great; duḥkhena13 = sorrow.  6.22

(6.22) That, on gaining which he thinks that there is no greater gain beyond it, wherein established he is not shaken even by the heaviest sorrow;


तं विद्याद्‌दुःखसंयोगवियोगं योगसंज्ञितम् ।

स निश्चयेन योक्तव्यो योगोऽनिर्विण्णचेतसा ॥६- २३॥

taṁ vidyād.h duḥkhasaṁyogaviyogaṁ yogasaṁjñitam
sa niścayena yoktavyo yogonirviṇṇacetasā 6.23

tam1 vidyāt2 duḥkha3 saṁyoga4 viyogam5 yogasanjñitam6
sa7 niścayena8 yoktavyaḥ9 yogaḥ10 anirviṇṇa11 cetasā12  6.23  

vidyāt2 = You must know; tam1 = that; duḥkha3 saṁyoga4 viyogam5 = disjunction from union with sorrow [sorrow-union-disjunction]; [goes] yogasanjñitam6 = by the name of Yoga; sah7 = that; yogaḥ10 = Yoga; yoktavyaḥ9 = should be practiced; niścayena8 = with determination; [and] anirviṇṇa11 = unwearied;  cetasā12  = mind. 6.23

(6.23) Let that be known by the name of yoga, this disconnection from union with pain. This yoga should be practised with determination, with heart undismayed.

  In verses 10-22 the intense fixation of the mind on its object with a view to liberation is taught. It is the repose of the liberated spirit in its own absoluteness and isolation. The self rejoices in the Self. It is the kaivalya of the Sāṁkhya Puruṣa, though, in the Gītā, it becomes identified with blessedness in God.

anirviṇṇa11 cetasā12: nirvedarahitena cetasā. S. We must practice yoga without slackness of effort arising from the thought of prospective pain.


संकल्पप्रभवान्कामांस्त्यक्त्वा सर्वानशेषतः ।

मनसैवेन्द्रियग्रामं विनियम्य समन्ततः ॥६- २४॥

saṅkalpaprabhavān kāmāṁs tyaktvā sarvān aśeṣataḥ
manasaivendriyagrāmaṁ viniyamya samantataḥ 6.24

saṅkalpa1 prabhavān2 kāmān3 tyaktvā4 sarvān5 aśeṣataḥ6

manasa7 eva8 indriya-grāmam9 viniyamya10 samantataḥ11 6.24   

tyaktvā4 = Abandoning; aśeṣataḥ6 = wholeheartedly; sarvān5 = all; kāmān3 = desires; saṅkalpa1prabhavān2 =  prabhavān2 = born of; saṅkalpa1= mental will; viniyamya10 = limiting; samantataḥ11 = from all sides; indriya-grāmam9 = all sense organs; manasa7 eva= by the mind.. .   6.24 continued 

(6.24) Abandoning without exception all desires born of (selfish) will, restraining with the mind all the senses on every side;


शनैः शनैरुपरमेद्‌बुद्ध्या धृतिगृहीतया ।

आत्मसंस्थं मनः कृत्वा न किंचिदपि चिन्तयेत् ॥६- २५॥

śanaiḥ śanair uparamed buddhyā dhṛtigṛhītayā
ātmasaṁsthaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā na kiṁcid api cintayet 6.25

śanaiḥ1 śanaiḥ2 uparamet3 buddhyā4 dhṛtigṛhītayā5
ātma-saṁstham6 manaḥ7 kṛtvā8 na9 kiñcit10 api11 cintayet12  6.25    

uparamet3 = One should withdraw [from the world of happenings; śanaiḥ1 & śanaiḥ2 = step by step, gradually;  buddhyā4 = by intelligence; [and] dhṛtigṛhītayā5 = firm conviction;  kṛtvā8 = making; manaḥ7 = the mind; ātma-saṁstham6 = steady in the Self. na9 & cintayet12 = He should not think of;  kiñcit10 & api11 = anything else [except Paramatman or Self]. 6.25

(6.25) Let him gain little by little tranquility by means of reason controlled by steadiness and having fixed the mind on the Self, let him not think of anything (else).


यतो यतो निश्चरति मनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम् ।

ततस्ततो नियम्यैतदात्मन्येव वशं नयेत् ॥६- २६॥

yato yato niścarati manaś cañcalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad ātmany eva vaśaṁ nayet 6.26
yataḥ yataḥ niścarati manaḥ cañcalam asthiram
tataḥ tataḥ niyamya etat ātmani eva vaśam nayet  6.26   

 cañcalam5 = Agitated;  asthiram6 = unsteady; manaḥ4 = mind; niścarati3 = wanders away; yataḥ1 yataḥ2 = due to causes [like sound in the world] : [whatever & whichever stimuli]. etat10 vaśam13 nayet14 =  Bring this [mind] under control [this10-contro13-bring14]; ātmani11 eva12 = of the Self alone; tataḥ7 tataḥ8 = from all above causes; niyamya9 = imposing restrictions.  6.26

(6.26) Whatsoever makes the wavering and unsteady mind wander away let him restrain and bring it back to the control of the Self alone.


प्रशान्तमनसं ह्येनं योगिनं सुखमुत्तमम् ।

उपैति शान्तरजसं ब्रह्मभूतमकल्मषम् ॥६- २७॥

praśāntamanasaṁ hy enaṁ yoginaṁ sukham uttamam
upaiti śāntarajasaṁ brahmabhūtam akalmaṣam 6.27

praśānta1 manasam2 hi3 enam4 yoginam5 sukham6 uttamam7

upaiti8 śānta-rajasam9 brahma-bhūtam10 akalmaṣam11 6.27    

uttamam7= The Highest or Supreme; sukham6 = happiness (Bliss); upaiti8 = comes to; hi3 enam4 yoginam5 = to this Yogi only;  [who is of] praśānta1 = tranquil; manasam2 = mind; śānta-rajasam9 = [who is of] pacific Rajas;  brahma-bhūtam10 = [who is] one with Brahman; [and] akalmaṣam11 = [who is] free from sin. 6.27

(6.27) For supreme happiness comes to the yogin whose mind is peaceful, whose passions are at rest, who is stainless and has become one with God.

brahma-bhūtam: one with God. We become what we behold according to the rule of the wasp and the bee, bhramarakīṭanyāya. Even as the wasp which is threatened by the bee thinks of the bee so intently that it itself is transformed into the bee, so also the upāsaka (meditator) becomes one with the object of meditation (upāsya).

brahmatva prāpta. Śrīdhara,1

Progress consists in the purification of body, life and mind. When the frame is perfected, the Light shines without any obstruction.

1 Nīlakaṇṭha believes that this state is one of samprajñāta samādhi and quotes Yogabhāṣya: yastv ekāgre cetasi sadbhūtam artham pradyotayati karmabandhanāni śladhayat't nirodham abhimukhī karoti kśiotiśca

kleśān sa samprajñāto yoga ity ākhyāyate.


युञ्जन्नेवं सदात्मानं योगी विगतकल्मषः ।

सुखेन ब्रह्मसंस्पर्शमत्यन्तं सुखमश्नुते ॥६- २८॥

yuñjann evaṁ sadātmānaṁ yogī vigatakalmaṣaḥ
sukhena brahmasaṁsparśam atyantaṁ sukham aśnute 6.28

yuñjan1 evam2 sadā3 ātmānam4 yogī5 vigata6 kalmaṣaḥ7
sukhena8 brahma-saṁsparśam9 atyantam10 sukham11 aśnute12 6.28   

vigata6 kalmaṣaḥ7  = [The] stainless [devoid6 of Stain7]; yogī5 = Yogi;  evam2 = in such manner, verily; sadā3 = by constantly; yuñjan1= engaging or concentrating; ātmānam4 = his mind; sukhena8 = easily; aśnute12 = experiences; atyantam10 =  infinite;  sukham11 =  bliss, happiness; brahma-saṁsparśam9 = of contact with Brahman.  6.28

(6.28) Thus making the self ever harmonized, the yogin, who has put away sin, experiences easily the infinite bliss of contact with the Eternal.

  brahmasaṁsparśam: contact with the Eternal. God is no more a mere rumor, a vague aspiration, but a vivid reality with which we are in actual contact. Religion is not a matter of dialectic but a fact of experience. Reason may step in and offer a logical explanation of the fact but the reasoning becomes irrelevant, if it is not based on the solid foundation of fact.

  Besides, these facts of religious experience are universal, in space and in time. They are found in different parts of the world and different periods of its history, attesting to the persistent unity and aspiration of the human spirit. The illuminations of the Hindu and the Buddhist seers, of Socrates and Plato, of Philo and Plotinus, of Christian and Muslim mystics, belong to the same family, though the theological attempts to account for them reflect the temperaments of the race and the epoch.

  In the following verses the teacher describes the marks of the ideal yogin. His thought is subdued, his desire is cast off and he contemplates only the Self and is cut off from contact with pain and is at one with the Supreme Reality.


 सर्वभूतस्थमात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि ।

ईक्षते योगयुक्तात्मा सर्वत्र समदर्शनः ॥६- २९॥

sarvabhūtastham ātmānaṁ sarvabhūtāni cātmani
īkṣate yogayuktātmā sarvatra samadarśanaḥ 6.29

sarva-bhūta-stham1  ātmānam2  sarva-bhūtāni3  ca4  ātmani5
īkṣate6  yoga-yukta-ātmā7  sarvatra8  sama-darśanaḥ9  6.29 

yoga-yukta-ātmā7 = Yoga-yoked-Self = One whose self is in union with yoga;  sarvatra8  sama-darśanaḥ9 = who has visions of the same divinity, Brahman everywhere  [everywhere8 (who) has visions of the same divinity (Brahman9)]; īkṣate6 = sees; ātmānam2 = his own Self; sarva-bhūta-stham1 = exist in all beings [all-beings-exist].  ca4 =  Moreover; sarva-bhūtāni3 = all beings [from Brahma to a blade of grass]; [exist] ātmani5 = in his Self.  6.29 

(6.29) He whose self is harmonized by yoga seeth the Self abiding in all beings and all beings in the Self; everywhere he sees the same.

  Though, in the process of attaining the vision of Self, we had to retreat from outward things and separate the Self from the world, when the vision is attained the world is drawn into the Self. On the ethical plane, this means that there' should grow a detachment from the world and when it is attained, a return to it, through love, suffering and sacrifice for it. The sense of a separate finite self with its hopes and fears, its likes and dislikes is destroyed.


यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति ।

तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति ॥६- ३०॥

yo paśyati sarvatra sarvaṁ ca mayi paśyati
tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśyāmi sa ca me na praṇaśyati 6.30

yaḥ1  mām2  paśyati3  sarvatra4  sarvam5 ca6  mayi7  paśyati8
tasya9  aham10  na11  praṇaśyāmi12  saḥ13  ca14  me15  na16  praṇaśyati17  6.30 

yaḥ1 = He who; paśyati3 = sees; mām2 = Me [the Self of all beings];  sarvatra4 = in all things ;  ca6  = and [who] paśyati8 = seessarvam5  = all things [sara-asaram = mobiles and immobiles]; mayi7 = in Me; aham10 = I; na11 & praṇaśyāmi12 = am not lost; tasya9 = from his [vision]. ca14 saḥ13 = And he; na16 praṇaśyati17 = is not lost; me15  =  to Me.  6.30

(6.30) He who sees Me everywhere and sees all in Me; I am not lost to him nor is he lost to Me.

  It is personal mysticism as distinct from the impersonal one that is stressed in these tender and impressive words: ''I am not lost to him nor is he lost to Me." The verse reveals the experience of the profound unity of all things in One who is the personal God. The more unique, the more universal. The deeper the self, the wider is its comprehension. When we are one with the Divine in US, we become one with the whole stream of life.


सर्वभूतस्थितं यो मां भजत्येकत्वमास्थितः ।

सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि स योगी मयि वर्तते ॥६- ३१॥

sarvabhūtasthitaṁ yo māṁ bhajaty ekatvam āsthitaḥ
sarvathā vartamānopi sa yogī mayi vartate 6.31

sarva-bhūta-sthitam1 yaḥ2 mām3 bhajati4 ekatvam5 āsthitaḥ6
sarvathā7 vartamānaḥ8 api9 saḥ10 yogī11 mayi12 vartate13 6.31   

yaḥ2 = He who; āsthitaḥ6 = is established; ekatvam5 = in oneness [unity]; bhajati4 =  worships, mām3 = Me; sarva-bhūta-sthitam1 = abiding in all beings [all-beings-abiding].  saḥ10 & yogī11 = That Yogi; sarvathā7 = in whatever condition [he is]; vartamānaḥ8  & api9 = however much he is active; vartate13 = exists;  mayi12 = in Me.  6.31

(6.3I) The yogin who established in oneness, worships Me abiding in all beings lives in Me, howsoever he may be active.

  Whatever be his outer life, in his inward being he dwells in God. The true life of man is his inner life.


आत्मौपम्येन सर्वत्र समं पश्यति योऽर्जुन ।

सुखं वा यदि वा दुःखं स योगी परमो मतः ॥६- ३२॥

ātmaupamyena sarvatra samaṁ paśyati yorjuna
sukhaṁ yadi duḥkhaṁ sa yogī paramo mataḥ 6.32

ātma1 aupamyena2 sarvatra3 samam4 paśyati5 yaḥ6 Arjuna7
sukham89 yadi1011 duḥkham12 saḥ13 yogī14 paramaḥ15 mataḥ16  6.32 

arjuna7 = O Arjuna; yaḥ6 =Yogi who; paśyati5 = sees; samam4 = with equality; sarvatra3 = all beings; ātma1 &  aupamyena2 = in the likeness of himself; 9 = and; sukham8 = happiness;  11& yadi10 = and whatever; duḥkham12 = sorrow [as his own]; saḥ13yogī14 = that Yogi; mataḥ16paramaḥ15  =  is considered supreme.  6.32

(6.32) He, O Arjuna, who sees with equality everything, in the image of his own self, whether in pleasure or in pain, he is considered a perfect yogi.

  ātma1 aupamyena2 : means equality of others with oneself. Even as he desires good to himself, he desires good to all. He embraces all things in God, leads men to divine life and acts in the world with the power of Spirit and in that luminous consciousness. He harms no creature as, in the words of Ś., "he sees that whatever is pleasant to himself is pleasant to all creatures, and that whatever is painful to himself is painful to all beings."1 He does not any more shrink from pleasure and pain. As he sees God in the world, he fears nothing but embraces all in the equality of the vision of the Self.

1 yathā mama sukham iṣṭaṁ tathā sarvaprāṇināṁ sukham anukūlaṁ yadi yacca duḥkhaṁ mama pratikūlam aniṣṭaṁ yathā, tathā sarva­prāṇināṁ duḥkhaṁ aniṣṭaṁ …na kasyacit pratikūlam ācarati ahiṁsaka ity arthaḥ,

 Control of Mind is Difftcult but Possible

अर्जुन उवाच 

योऽयं योगस्त्वया प्रोक्तः साम्येन मधुसूदन ।

एतस्याहं न पश्यामि चञ्चलत्वात्स्थितिं स्थिराम् ॥६- ३३॥

arjuna uvāca
yaḥ ayam yogaḥ tvayā proktaḥ sāmyena madhusūdana
etasya aham na paśyāmi cañcalatvāt sthitim sthirām 6.33

arjuna  uvāca
yaḥ1 ayam2 yogaḥ3 tvayā4 proktaḥ5 sāmyena6 madhusūdana7
etasya8 aham9 na10 paśyāmi11 cañcalatvāt12 sthitim13 sthirām14  6.33 

arjuna = Arjuna uvāca = said: madhusūdana7 = O Madhusudana (Killer of demon Madhu, Krishna): ayam2 = this; yogaḥ3 = Yoga;  yaḥ1 & proktaḥ5 = that was declared; tvaya4 = by You; sāmyena6 = as same [as the doctrine of empathy];  aham9 = I; na10 & paśyāmi11 = do not see; etasya8 = its [Yoga's]; sthirām14 =  stable; sthitim13 = condition; cañcalatvāt12 = because of agitation of [my mind].  6.33

Arjuna said:

(6.33) This yoga declared by you to be of the nature of equality (evenness of mind), O Madhusūdana (Kṛṣṇa) I see no stable foundation for, on account of restlessness.


चञ्चलं हि मनः कृष्ण प्रमाथि बलवद्‌दृढम् ।

तस्याहं निग्रहं मन्ये वायोरिव सुदुष्करम् ॥६- ३४॥

cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa pramāthi balavad dṛḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye vāyor iva suduṣkaram 6.34

cañcalam1 hi2 manaḥ3 kṛṣṇa4 pramāthi5 balavat6 dṛḍham7
tasya8 aham9 nigraham10 manye11 vāyoḥ12 iva13 suduṣkaram14  6.34 

 kṛṣṇa4 = O Krishna; hi2 = for; manaḥ3 = the mind; cañcalam1 = is wavering;  pramāthi5 = agitating [to the sense organs]; balavat6 = strong-willed; [and] dṛḍham7 = obstinate; aham9 = I; manye11 = think; tasya8 =  its [mind's]; nigraham10 = control, subjugation; suduṣkaram14 =  is as difficult as; vāyoḥ12 & iva13 = [controlling] of the wind.  6.34

(6.34) For the mind is verily fickle, O Kṛṣṇa, it is impetuous, strong and obstinate. I think that it is as difficult to control as the wind.



असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम् ।

अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते ॥६- ३५॥

śrībhagavān uvāca
asañśayaṁ mahābāho mano durnigrahaṁ calam
abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa ca gṛhyate 6.35

śrībhagavān uvāca
asañśayam1 mahābāho2 manaḥ3 durnigraham4 calam5
abhyāsena6 tu7 kaunteya8 vairāgyeṇa9 ca10 gṛhyate11  6.35 

śrībhagavān uvāca = Bhagavan said: mahābāho2 = O Mighty-armed one; asañśayam1 = without doubt; manaḥ3 = mind; durnigraham4 = [is] difficult to restrain; [and] calam5 = prone to agitation; tu7 = but; [it] gṛhyate11 = can be controlled; abhyāsena6 = by repetitive practice; ca10 =  and; vairāgyeṇa9 = by detachment. kaunteya8 =  O son of Kunti.  6.35

The Blessed Lord said:

(6.35) Without doubt, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), the mind is difficult to curb and restless but it can be controlled, O Son of Kuntī (Arjuna), by constant practice and non-attachment.

Cp. Yoga Sūtra, I, 12. abhyāsavairāgyābhyāṁ tan nirodhaḥ. The teacher points out that the restless mind, accustomed to act on impulse, can be controlled only by non-attachment1 and practice. Arjuna realizes that there is so much of obstinacy and violence, waywardness and self-will in human nature. We are inclined to shut our eyes to the defects of our nature and harden our hearts against the Light. Tapasya is what is needed.

1 When there is earth to lie upon, why trouble about bed? When one's arm is readily available, why need pillows? When there is the palm of one's hand" why seek for plates and utensils? When there is the atmosphere, the bark of trees, etc., what need is there of silks?

satyāṁ kṣitau ki kaśipoḥ, prayāsaiḥ, bāhau saṁsiddhe hy upa brahaṇaiḥ kim

satyajalau ki purudhānnapātrai digvalkalādau sati kiṁ  dukulaiḥ Bhāgavata,  II, l.


असंयतात्मना योगो दुष्प्राप इति मे मतिः ।

वश्यात्मना तु यतता शक्योऽवाप्तुमुपायतः ॥६- ३६॥

asaṁyatātmanā yogo duṣprāpa iti me matiḥ
vaśyātmanā tu yatatā śakyovāptum upāyataḥ 6.36

asaṁyata-ātmanā1 yogaḥ2 duṣprāpaḥ3 iti4 me5 matiḥ6
vaśya7 ātmanā8 tu9 yatatā10 śakyaḥ11 avāptum12 upāyataḥ13 6.36 


iti4 =  thus; me5 = My; matiḥ6 = determination, opinion; [is] yogaḥ2 = Yoga; [is] duṣprāpaḥ3 = hard to attain; asaṁyata-ātmanā1 = by one with unbridled mind; tu9 = but;  śakyaḥ11 = attainable;  [by] avāptum12 = one who has attained; vaśya7 = controlled; ātmanā8 = mind;  [and by] yatatā10 = the man of endeavor; upāyataḥ13 = through the means [as mentioned above].  6.36

(6.36) Yoga is hard to attain, I agree, by one who is not self­controlled; but by the self-controlled it is attainable by striving through proper means.

  Arjuna asks what happens to the soul who attempts and fails. Defeat is temporary: He who starts well reaches the End.


अर्जुन उवाच 

अयतिः श्रद्धयोपेतो योगाच्चलितमानसः ।

अप्राप्य योगसंसिद्धिं कां गतिं कृष्ण गच्छति ॥६- ३७॥

arjuna uvāca
ayatiḥ śraddhayopeto yogāc calitamānasaḥ
aprāpya yogasaṁsiddhiṁ kāṁ gatiṁ kṛṣṇa gacchati 6.37

arjuna uvāca
ayatiḥ1 śraddhayaḥ2 upetaḥ3 yogāt4 calita5 mānasaḥ6
aprāpya7 yogasaṁsiddhim8 kām9 gatim10 kṛṣṇa11 gacchati12 6.37   

arjunaḥ uvāca = Arjuna said: kṛṣṇa11 = O Krishna; [though] upetaḥ3 = endowed with; śraddhaya2 = faith; ayatiḥ1 = putting no effort [in Yoga]; calita5  mānasaḥ6 = one whose mind is divergent; yogāt4 = from Yoga; aprāpya7 = having not obtained; yoga-saṁsiddhim8 = perfection in Yoga; kām9 = what; gatim10 = progress; gacchati12 = does he make?  6.37   [calita5  = divergent]

(6.37) He who cannot control himself though he has faith, with the mind wandering away from yoga, failing to attain perfection in yoga, what way does he go, O Kṛṣṇa?

  Arjuna's question refers to the future of those, who, when they die are not at war with Eternal Goodness though they are not disciplined enough to contemplate the splendor of Eternal Purity. Are the alternatives eternal heaven and everlasting hell as some believe or is there a chance for such individuals to grow towards perfection after death?


कच्चिन्नोभयविभ्रष्टश्छिन्नाभ्रमिव नश्यति ।

अप्रतिष्ठो महाबाहो विमूढो ब्रह्मणः पथि ॥६- ३८॥

kacchin nobhayavibhraṣṭaś chinnābhram iva naśyati
apratiṣṭho mahābāho vimūḍho brahmaṇaḥ pathi 6.38
kacchit1 na2 ubhaya3 vibhraṣṭaḥ4 chinna5 abhram6 iva7 naśyati8
apratiṣṭhaḥ9 mahābāho10 vimūḍhaḥ11 brahmaṇaḥ12 pathi13  6.38 

mahābāho10 = O Mighty-armed One; ubhaya3 vibhraṣṭaḥ4 = having fallen4 from both3; apratiṣṭhaḥ9 = having lost hold on the ground; vimūḍhaḥ11 = the perplexed; brahmaṇaḥ12 pathi13 = on the path of Brahman: kacchit1 na2 naśyati8 = does he not perish;  iva7= like;  chinna5 abhram6 = a riven cloud. 6.38

(6.38) Does he not perish like a rent cloud, O Mighty-armed (Kṛṣṇa), fallen from both and without any hold and bewildered in the path that leads to the Eternal?

  Fallen from both, ito bhraṣṭa tato bhraṣṭa, is he left in a no man's world? Does he miss both this life and the life eternal? What happens to those numerous persons who have not succeeded in pursuing the extremely difficult path of yoga to its end? Are their exertions useless altogether? Is it any good beginning a course which one may not be able to complete?


एतन्मे संशयं कृष्ण छेत्तुमर्हस्यशेषतः ।

त्वदन्यः संशयस्यास्य छेत्ता न ह्युपपद्यते ॥६- ३९॥

etan me saṁśayaṁ kṛṣṇa chettum arhasy aśeṣataḥ
tvadanyaḥ saṁśayasyāsya chettā na hy upapadyate 6.39

etat1 me2 saṁśayam3  kṛṣṇa4  chettum5  arhasi6  aśeṣataḥ7 
tvat8   anyaḥ9   saṁśayasya10   asya11  chettā12  na13  hi14  upapadyate15 6.39   

kṛṣṇa4 = O Krishna; [You are] arhasi6 = worthy and obligated; chettum5 = to remove; etat1 = this; saṁśayam3 =  doubt; me2 = of mine; aśeṣataḥ7 = completely;  hi14 = because;