Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit


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Veeraswamy Krishnaraj: Tolerance with love is to speak in tongues of all faiths, hold in the heart the Truth of all faiths and see

all faiths in the face of humanity.


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 Dr. Radhakrishnan in Bhagavadgita page 206. Verse 6:35

definition of non-attachment (or detachment).

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. 1

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?


Four Stages of Yoga in Svetasvatara Upanisad Page 722-723 The Principal Upanisads

By Dr. Radhakrishnan  November 29, 2013.


pṛthvyaptejo'nilakhe samutthite pañcātmake yoga-guṇe pravṛtte
na tasya rogo na jarā na mṛtyuḥ prāptasya yogāgni-mayaṁ śarīram --2.12

2.12. When the fivefold quality of Yoga is produced, as earth, water, fire, air and ether arise, then there is no longer sickness no old age, no death to him who has obtained a body made of the fire of Yoga.

This verse and the next emphasize the physical aspects of Yoga. Through Yoga we try to build up a healthy and clean body. We attempt to make the very substance of our body incorruptible. Four stages of yoga, ārambha, ghaṭa, paricaya and niṣpatti are described m verses 13, 14, 15 and 16 respectively. In securing bodily health we have the commencement of the yoga, yoga-pravtti. In attaining freedom from sorrow we reach the second stage. In the third stage traces of duality disappear, mahā-sūnyaṁ tato bhāti sarva-samāśrayam. In the fourth stage there is the identity of the individual with the Supreme Self. The Yogin does not become disembodied. The elements composing his body are elevated to the level of their subtleness, sukṣmatva. He leaves his gross body and attains an indefectible one. It is a consciousness-body akin to that of the Supreme with whom the contemplator has Identified himself through meditation.

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj.   Contact:  Feedback Form


About the author:

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj, M.D; F.R.C.P (Canada) is a board certified pediatrician in active practice until the end of 1998. He immersed himself in study of Hinduism in depth. He has sufficient knowledge and understanding of Hindu religion that he is confident to publish this book. He kept the words simple, supple, illuminating and to the point, while retaining the original flavor, beauty and grace. Compound words in Sanskrit are a nightmare for the beginner, as they are spliced together compactly in one continuous stretch of characters. He parsed the compound words into digestible syllables or words with superscripts and sequential numbers and rearranged the words in the verse in a readable form in English. In this book, he claims ownership of shortcomings and cedes the rest to Bhagavan. 

This book is good for students, and devotees reading the Bhagavad-Gita in Satsang (true company). Two verses nestle in two boxes in one page with no break or carry-over to the next page. Diacritics help the reader enunciate the words like a Sanskritist. The English words are reader-friendly. Wherever there is a need for elaboration, an addendum supports it.

Simplicity, authority, universality, and profundity are the hallmark of the Bhagavadgita, the Bible of the Hindus. The Bhagavadgita is the Song of the Lord. It provides guidelines for daily living with no dogmas and ritual overtones. It encourages and supports your individuality. It also explains the consequence of errant ways. Total surrender to Bhagavan releases the devotee from the ills of life on earth. Hinduism as a term is an external appellation from non-Hindus. Its true name is Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Law or Eternal Order) commensurate with Rta (Cosmic Order). The beauty about the Bhagavadgita is its appeal is universal.


The Ethics of the Fathers and Gurus

Talking Thunder goes Da-Da-Da. What does it mean?

The ethical virtues we are called upon to adopt are mentioned in several passages. Life is compared to a sacrifice where the fee shall be asceticism, liberality, integrity, non-injury to life and truthfulness. The Taittirīya Upaniṣad gives a list of students' duties. He should not be negligent of truth, virtue, welfare, prosperity, study and teaching. He should perform only those acts which are irreproachable. In case of doubt concerning any act of conduct, the student should follow the practice of those Brāhmaṇas who are competent to judge, apt, devoted, not harsh lovers of virtue. In one passage all the virtues are brought together under the three da's which are heard in the voice of the thunder, namely, dama, or self-restraint, dāna or self-sacrifice, and dayā or compassion Prajā-pati conveys it to the three classes of his creation, gods (deva), men (manuṣya) and demons (asura).1 Saṁkara  makes out that gods have desires (kāma), men suffer from greed (lobha) and demons from anger (krodha). By the practice of the three injunctions we free ourselves from the sway of craving, greed and anger. When the Buddha asks us to put out in our hearts the monstrous fires of infatuation, greed and resentment, he is emphasising the three virtues enjoined by the Upaniṣads.

1In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Lord says that anyone who does not care for the people who are in need of care and simply takes to the worship of God, his offer is wasted.

Yo māṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu santam ātmānam īśvaram

Hitvārcām bhajate mauḍhyād, bhasmany eva juhoti saḥ.


SB 3.29.22 (Appended by Krishnaraj)

From http://vedabase.com/en/sb/3/29/22

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

yo māṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
 santam ātmānam īśvaram
hitvārcāṁ bhajate mauḍhyād
 bhasmany eva juhoti saḥ
Word for word: 
yaḥ — one who; mām — Me; sarveṣu — in all; bhūteṣu — living entities; santam — being present; ātmānam — the Paramātmā; īśvaram — the Supreme Lord; hitvā — disregarding; arcām — the Deity; bhajate — worships;mauḍhyāt — because of ignorance; bhasmani — into ashes; eva — only; juhoti — offers oblations; saḥ — he.
One who worships the Deity of Godhead in the temples but does not know that the Supreme Lord, as Paramātmā, is situated in every living entity’s heart, must be in ignorance and is compared to one who offers oblations into ashes.


Dama is self-control. We should reduce our wants and be prepared to suffer in the interests of truth.1Austerity, chastity, solitude and silence are the ways to attain self-control.

Tapas is severe self-discipline undertaken for spiritual ends. It is exercised with reference to the natural desires of the body and the distractions of the outer world. It consists of exercises of an inward kind, prayers offered in the heart, self-analysis and outer acts like fasting, self-mortification, sexual abstinence or voluntary poverty. Strength is developed by a resisting force. The power gained by resisting one temptation helps us in overcoming the next. To evade discipline is to empty life of its significance. Nothing is more tranquil than to be unshaken by the troublous motions of the flesh. Renunciation, nyāsa, is superior to tapas or austerity or asceticism. The latter is a means to the former. It is not to be made into an end in itself.2

1 The wise man overcomes anger through mind-control, lust through the renunciation of desire. He can attain mastery over sleep by develop-ment of a quality of Sattva. Through steadfastness he should protect the organ of generation and the stomach ''With (the help of) the eyes he should protect the hands and the feet. Through (the power of) mind he should protect the eyes and the ears and through conduct he should protect mind and speech. Through constant vigilance he should shed fear and thruogh the service of the wise, he should overcome pride.'

Wealth and honor acquired contrary to righteousness are to me like passing cloud.’ Lun yu Pt.VIII.Ch.XV. See F.T. Cheng: China moulded by Confucius (147), P.92.

2. Do the frogs, fish and others who live from their birth to death in the waters of the Ganges, do they become yogis?'

The Principal Upaniṣads. By Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. Pages 108-109.  September 25, 2013



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Chapter Six: The Yoga of Self Control

6.1:  The Lord said:

He, who does his obligatory work without claiming the fruit of action, is a sannyāsi and a yogi. He does not become a yogin simply because he renounces the sacred fire and performs no action.


(Simply because he renounces the sacred fire, he does not become a yogin. In the same vein, he is not a yogin, for giving up his activity).

Matted hair, deerskin, and pious pretension do not make an ascetic. An ascetic in name and epicure in practice, though he professes to know Brahman, is far away from Brahman. Appearance does not make an ascetic, though he wanders naked and shameless; a donkey does the same.  Jackals, rodents and deer live in the forest, eat grass, and drink water: are they ascetics? The frogs and fish take birth, eat and die in Ganga. Are they ascetics? –Garuda Purana, II.49.64-67-68. 

A yogin, in a spirit of renunciation, gives up all activities including the performance of sacrificial rites. It is not the external act of renunciation but the internal change that makes a yogin.


6.2:  What they call as sannyāsa, you know that as yoga, O Pandava. No one can become a yogin without renouncing (selfish) desire.

Samkalpa: purpose, notion, desire, definite intention


Sannyāsa and yoga: The former is renunciation and the latter is mental discipline. Jnāna yoga is to realize the Brahman is supreme and the body can never become identical with the pristine individual soul.  


6.3:  Desirous of advancing in karma yoga, action is the means for a sage. When he attains to such yoga, tranquillity is the means.


According to Ramanuja, when a karma yogi has attained to the pinnacle of karma yoga, he has obtained the vision of self, tranquillity and a virtual moksa during his life on this earth. This tranquillity will help him achieve real moksa upon release of his soul from the body. Ramanuja believes that “virtual” is not real and Jivanmukti (virtual moksa) is only a qualifier or a certificate of supreme satisfaction for Videha mukti ( Videha = bodiless, an ultimate real moksa after death). The idea is that a soul does not enjoy the privileges of moksa or liberation until death comes and the soul goes home. Some other sects believe that a yogi can enjoy the real moksa while living. Caveat: Jivanmukta is not exempt from the miseries of the phenomenal world until he dies, though he attained jivanmukti. The soul is released, but the body is not.


6.4: When one does not have any attachment to sense objects and actions and has renounced all purposes and desires (sarva sankalpa sannyasi), he is called Yogarudha.


Yogarudha: he who ascended to yoga (accomplished yogi)


As mentioned below, a yogin has to climb eight arduous steps in full faith and accomplishment to reach the top. A true renunciate, Sanyāsin, is the one who relinquishes action without expectation of fruits of such an action; desirelessness (vairāgya) is one of the cardinal signs of a yogi. There are eight angas or qualities:

  1. Yama = suppression, restraint, self-control, Don’ts. There are five restraints according to Patanjali. Practice (1) nonviolence (ahimsa), (2) not lying: truth (satya), (3) nonstealing (asteya), (4) sexual abstinence (brahmacharya), and (5) absence of acquisition (aparigraha). The following  ones are found in Linga purana, (6) indifference to wants (aniiha), (7) purity (sauca), (8) satisfaction (Tushti), (9) penance (tapas),  (10) saying prayers in a whisper (japa). Some of these entities come under Dos.
  2. Niyama = checking, controlling, Dos. Patanjali lists the following observances.  Sauca, Santosha (contentment), tapas, svaadyaaya, isvarapranidhana (surrender to God).

The observances are ten in all according to Linga Purana. (1) Purity (sauca), (2) sacrifice (ijyaa), (3) penance (tapas),  (4) giving (daana), (5) recitation of Vedas (svaadyaaya), (6) restraint of sexual desires (upasthanigraha), (7) pious observance (vrata), (8) fasting (upavas), (9) silence (mauna), and (10) snaana (bathing [in sacred waters]). – (Linga Purana, 7.29-31) 


A+steya = absence of theft. Staayu = a thief. 

A+parigraha = absence of acquisition.

Svaadyaaya = (Sva+adhyaya) = self + inquiry = reading sacred books.

isvara-pranidhana = Isvara+Pranidhaana = God + seeking access = surrender to God.

  1. Āsana: body positions and postures
  2. Prānayama: breath Control  
  3. Pratyahara: no contact between senses and objects of senses. This should come natural to him
  4. Dharana: concentration and focus of mind on an object or idea 
  5. Dyana: meditation 
  6. Samādhi: convergence, one-pointedness, Subject and object (Yogi) unity 


Before a yogi can attain samādhi, he should meet the above requirements: As you see, this is demanding. Once somebody has gone through the angas, and jnāna yoga, he is already a renouncer. In another commentary, read how the Alvars developed their system of bhakti yoga, Saranāgati and Prapatti (self-surrender to God, resignation to God).



        Guru Nanak of Sikhism was distressed by the Hindu caste hierarchy and ivory tower aloofness and isolation, celibacy, renunciation of the family and the world and retirement to the forest and other practices of Sannyasins and Yogis for Moksa or spiritual liberation. He was not too thrilled with Hindu rituals and superstitious practices. He was married with two sons. He believed in people and uplifting them both spiritually and materially. As a sign of his universality, he chose a Muslim minstrel to render his poetry into song and music. He took what he thought was the best in Hinduism (he was born a Hindu), Islam, and Buddhism and this was further enhanced by divine revelation on the banks of a river. Against the background of  consuming fire of Hindu polytheism, witnessing excesses of Mughal kings, ritual practices of Brahmanas, and forced conversion of Hindus to Islam, Guru Nanak received a divine call and declared, "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim, there is one God and one people."

    Please read commentary on Verse 6.1 about Hindu view of false ascetics, whom Guru Nanak condemned with justification.


6.5:  He should pull (lift) himself up by his own self and not let himself sink, for the Self is the friend of the self and the Self can be the enemy of the self.

Avasad: to sink (as into water), faint

Paramatman or Atman is all-pervading and is separate from the jivātman, which is the individual self or atman. Atman (Soul) is Brahman and therefore is not subject to degradation. Prakriti can never stain Atman, but on the other hand, prakriti, desire, attachment, and karma can burden the individual self. In the ocean of samsāra, that burden on the self will drown the self; the Higher Self can be a friend to the individual lower self at this moment, by detaching the lower self from the burdens. If man drowns the individual self in desires, and does not seek the help of the Higher Self and allow the rescue to take place, the lower self drowns in the ocean of Samsāra.


6.6 For one who has conquered his very self by the self, his self is the friend of the self. For one who has not conquered his self, his very self exhibits hostility like an enemy.


If one conquers the lower mind, the Higher Self is realizable.

There are three selfhoods: Primary, secondary, and illusory. Primary Self (Principal Self) is the unconditioned non-dual Entity, the principal source of Bliss; the secondary self is the individual self; illusory self is identification of the self with the body.  The allegory used to define (the relationship between) the Principal or Primary Self and the secondary self is the relationship between father and son.


6.7: He, who maintains tranquillity, who conquered his lower self, and who is serene in heat and cold, pleasure and pain, honor and dishonor, unites with (communes) the Supreme Atman.



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 māna
10 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: He, who maintains tranquility, who conquered his lower self, and who is serene in heat and cold, pleasure and pain, honor and dishonor, unites with (communes) the Supreme Atman.



Tranquility is absence of desire, longing, hatred, anxiety, and grief, and presence of happiness; thus, it is the translucent and placid waters of consciousness. Once a sannyāsin conquers his mind and stands steady in tranquility, the dualities have no effect. 


According to Ramanuja, the accomplished individual soul is comparable to Paramatma (the Great Self or Supreme Soul). R argues in this manner: That the jivātman has improved its spiritual stature in comparison to its earlier stage of attainment is only an earthly accomplishment, which never confers equal status to jiva with the exalted Real Parmatman that is Brahman. Sankara’s views are different: An accomplished individual soul divested of all its impurities is no different from Brahman. It eventually becomes one with One (Paramatman). Here we get a good dose of both Advaita and Visistadvaita, two different interpretations of the same verse: The interpretation is in the mind of the reader. If you take it as you read it, it appears on the surface that the portrayal runs more natural in the flow of words to support the advaita or monistic philosophy. But it could be deceptive. I am sure that this verse has undergone text torturing in many minds. R is of the firm view there is only One Supreme Soul or Being and that an accomplished yogi can only be a shadow.


Advaitam (non-duality), Dvaidam, Vishistadvaidam (qualified non-dualism). Advaitam of Sankara is Oneness of God, man (beings) and matter. Dvaidam is duality. God is the First Principle; man (beings, matter) is the second principle; there is distinction between two beings of the same species. Vishistadvaitam, the Vedantic doctrine, states that man (Chit) is separate and different from the Supreme Controller (Isvara) and yet ultimately unites with the Supreme Principle upon attaining Moksa. This union is nearness of pure soul to Narayana; in marital union, there are still two people; a labor union still has individual members. Man is the chip off the Old Block. The chip splinters off just like the spark comes off the crackling fire. The Old Block (Isvara) is a Living Entity and the chip cannot fit in upon its return; it remains separate. The spark cannot rejoin the fire in its original form. Acit is the world of matter and the insentient. The chief elements in Vishistadvaidam are Isvara, Chit and Achit. When the souls (Chit, the sentient souls) rejoin Isvara, they do not fuse with Isvara (as water merges with water); they remain close to Isvara enjoying his company. The difference between Isvara and the Chit elements are that Isvara can create, maintain, and destroy, while the chit elements close to Isvara do not possess those exclusive qualities. Isvara is a mass of Bliss and always a Donor of Bliss; the recipient is always the individual soul or Chit. The mother nurses the baby and the baby can never nurse the mother.

Some quote the milk and butter analogy from the scriptures. Milk is Advaitam; milk and butter are Dvaidam. Butter came from milk; re-suspension of ball of butter in milk does not result in merger; the butter floats: that is Vishistadvaidam.


6.8:  The yogi, whose soul is changeless and satisfied with knowledge and wisdom (Jnāna and Vijnāna), who has controlled his sense organs, and to whom lump of earth, stone and gold are the same, is well integrated.


Jnāna and Vijnāna: (See Supplement for details.) Jnāna is scriptural knowledge, while Vijnāna is realized knowledge. This realized knowledge is in the realm beyond reason and is the world of yogi. It is a systemic and personal spiritual experience of the presence of God, as in kaivalya and samādhi. To such yogi, clod, stone, and gold are the same. He is not in the least perturbed by worldly activities, has seen, and experienced the light of wisdom emanating from Brahman. To paraphrase Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Jnāna is knowing that God exists and Vijnāna is playing, talking with, and experiencing God in person.

           Ramakrishnana Paramahamsa, Feb/18/1836 to Aug/16/1886, says the following about gold and woman, Quote 188, Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna. Men are of  two classes--men in name only (Manush) and the awakened men (Man-hush). Those who thirst after God alone belong to the latter class.; those who are mad after 'woman and gold' are all ordinary men-- men in name only.


6.9:  He, who regards the well-wishers, the friends, the enemies, the indifferent, the neutral and the impartial, the envious and the detestable, the relatives, the saints (pious), as well as the sinners, with equal mind (terms), excels.



The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda  Volume 6 [ Page : 115 ]   NOTES TAKEN DOWN IN MADRAS, 1892-93.

        Nowhere is it said in the Vedas that man is born a sinner. To say so is a great libel on human nature.


सुहृन्मित्रार्युदासीनमध्यस्थद्वेष्यबन्धुषु ।

साधुष्वपि च पापेषु समबुद्धिर्विशिष्यते ॥६- ९॥

sādhuṣv api ca pāpeṣu samabuddhir viśiṣyate 6.9


suhṛt1 mitra2 ari3 udāsīna4 madhyastha5 dveṣya6 bandhuṣu7 = selfless friend1, cognate friend2, enemy3, a neutral person4, an arbiter5, the detested6, the relatives7sādhuṣu1 api2 ca3 pāpeṣu4 sama-buddhi5 viśiṣyate6 = to the saints1, even2 and3, the sinners4, with equal mind5, excels6.

suhṛt1 = a friend whose help is devoid of ulterior motive. example: a mother.

mitra2 = A cognate friend with affection. Example: your favorite cousin.

ari3 = enemy or foe is a person who does egregious causeless harm or evil

udāsīna4 = a neutral indifferent person between two antagonists, more of a spectator than a participant.

madhyastha5 =  an arbiter or mediator between two opponents bringing amicability to both.

dveṣya6 = the detested, the hated by the people: the punk, the misfit, the antisocial elements, the sociopath.

bandhu = the relatives.

sādhu = a gentle harmless, virtuous person.


The realized yogi is impervious to the turbulence in this world. The list in Verse 9 covers all human beings without any exception. Yogi gives equal weight, respect and treatment to all human beings, including other living entities. The white light emerges from fusing of spectral colors and no distinction is made between the highborn and the lowborn; among the white, the black, and the brown; or between man and animals. Chapter Five, Verse 18: A learned humble Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and even a dog-eater are seen with an equal eye by a punditah (sage). Here the understanding is that a dog-eater is below the Varna system and as instances bear out, a dog-eater may be a chandala. a person born of a Brahmin mother and a Sudra father. To go further, Lord Krishna completely repudiates the narrow meaning of four castes by stating in Gita Chapter 18, Verse 41 that qualities make a man: The brahmins, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras, O Parantapa, are separated by the gunas (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas) born of their own nature. As the saying goes, “one person, one vote,” the same is true in, “one person, one soul.”  We can extend this concept to all living beings by saying, “one being, one soul.”  Here we see the genius and the generosity of Lord Krishna. He tells that all living beings are equal in His eyes, because a fragment of His Atman or Soul resides in each, person or animal. If man and animal share the same Soul, what right do we have to injure another soul?


6.10:    A yogi, by controlling his mind, senses and desires; by desisting from accumulating earthly possessions; and by remaining alone by himself, should constantly concentrate his mind [on Atman = Supreme Self].


Man is what he thinks. There are two kinds of minds: pure and impure. Desire makes the difference between the pure and the impure mind. When there is no fuel, the fire dies. When desire vanishes, mind becomes pure. When desire leaves, thought ceases. The lower self and the mind become placid like the placid waters of a lake. Once the lower self is placid, one abides in the higher Self; once the mind stands steady in Brahman, no longer the yogi is under the sway of the sense objects. He is released and free; the mind is absorbed, and “annihilated,” when it comes to rest in the Self. No words can express this fusion. One has to be in it to know it. Silence is answer, and silence is bliss. When the “self” merges with the Self, it is like water mixing with water, butter with butter, fire with fire, and air with air. It is Oneness; it is stillness. Mind here is a friend indeed; mind with attachment to sense objects, is foe indeed.

No one concentrates on Atman. Garuda Purana (11.12.19) says no one is obsessed with Atman, the inner controller in the spiritual heart; while in (dawn of) infancy he clings to his mother; in (noon of) adulthood he dotes on his wife;  in dusk of life, he is obsessed with his sons and grandsons.  

Jesus Christ says about earthly possessions (of Yogi in Indian context):

Bible NIV Luke 12:33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

Luke 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.


Paul Brunton in his book 'A Search in Secret India'

Skeptics galore from the West, opposing JC's Values

In this secluded cave, in this unending heat, surrounded by absorbent minds, it is easy to weave grandiose schemes of world reformation, to possess oneself of extravagant religious ideas. But out in the world of reality, amid the hard life of materialistic cities, these things would soon dissipate like mists before the dawning sun.


6.11:  In a clean place, with a firm seat neither too high nor too low covered with Kusa grass, deerskin and a soft cloth layer upon layer (one on top of another in that order, cloth on the top, deerskin in the middle, Kusa grass in the bottom) (continued)


Kusa grass: Desmostachya bipinnata. Also known as Darba. It is the most sacred of all grasses, regarded as god-born and the FIRST PLANT created. It is used on the altar without the roots, spread in the sacrificial site and applied on the seat of the gods. Three goddesses, Sarasvati, Ila, and Bharati are invoked and implored to protect the grass, the sacred, pure and flawless refuge of the gods. Because of its supernatural qualities, it is incinerated at the conclusion of ceremonies; otherwise misfortune and harm will fall on those coming into contact with the ritually used grass. Woman is considered impure below the navel and can purify herself ritually by having Kusa grass on her clothes. It extirpates anger in the wearer and the hatred in the heart of the hater; it explodes the heads of the enemies. When Garuda spilt some Amrta (Ambrosia) on a patch of Kusa grass, snakes licked on it; the grass being sharp as a razor, split the tongue causing them to have forked tongue. In Vishnu Purana, King of Nisada Vena claimed that he being the (self-appointed) Lord of the Sacrifice had an exclusive right to the oblations. (Vishnu is the Lord of Sacrifice.) For this asinine claim, the Vaishnava Munis whipped and beat him to death with razor-sharp consecrated Kusa grass. Knotted and tied sheaths of Kusa grass represent deities and manes. The terminal ends of grass are sacred to the gods. Apart from being a weapon against Vena, the grass upon being stroked against the side of the body prevents evil influences. Lord Rama's twin sons are named Kusa and Lava.


6.12:  with the mind one-pointed, controlling the mind, the senses, and the activities, sitting on the seat, he should practice yoga for self-purification.  


6.13:  Holding the body, the neck and the head straight and still, looking at the tip of his nose, but not looking all around, (continued)


6.14:  With serene mind, fearless, firmly resolved in vow of celibacy, and with subdued mind, the yogi should sit concentrating his mind upon Me and holding only Me as the Supreme goal.


One of the angas (steps or limbs) is Yama meaning abstinence or restraint This is a preparatory practice before initiation into Sannyāsa. See Chapter six Verse four commentaries for details on Anga. Coming to Bramacharya, Swami Vivekananda observes that sex leads to waste of seeds, weakness of the body, and excessive worry lines on the face, loss of glint in the eyes, deafness, and dull brain. But a celibate has a good body, alert keen brain, divine looks, and disposition. A Sannyāsi's life is a reversal to his pristine childhood, when everything was simple, celibate, and godlike. From that childlike state, let him go to realize Brahman. Continence is energy conserved is energy saved. Perfect sexual abstinence means purity and chastity in thought, word, and deed. True love is one-pointed and goes to the Lord. In a sannyāsi, it goes to Brahman. If one can control this basic human emotion and urge, one can become a sannyāsi. Vivekananda says that twelve years of practice of celibacy has sharpened his intellect, improved his memory, and thought flow at lectures. It can happen to anybody. Total abstinence and control of sex life are two different practices: a householder who controls or limits his sex life is a bramacharin; but an ascetic should be a bramacharin in thought, word, and deed; higher standards apply to the ascetic. Sex is distracting and so some ascetics and bramacharins go to the extent of avoiding even a visual contact with the opposite sex. To them, visual contact is thought-provoking and that is bad for a sannyāsi. Many of Ramanuja's disciples were married men, who most likely practiced sexual control or moderation and not celibacy while engaged in bhakti yoga. Then again, bhakti to God is so overwhelming that any remnants of sexual urge and practice come to naught, though they stay married as it was the case with Gandhi. When it comes to True Love, only God qualifies to receive it. .

            Prasna Upanisad (question 1.13) says that chastity in brahmacharya is continence and not abstinence.


6.15:  Having controlled his mind, and concentrating his mind constantly, the Yogi attains peace, which abides in Me and which ends in Supreme Bliss.

As everybody knows, the word “nirvana” is common to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Buddhist literature contains more reference to it than Hindu does. It means the flames of desire have died down; this extinguishment with attainment of knowledge, removal of māyā and ignorance, and frying the karmic seeds lead to Nirvana in Buddhism and to moksa in Hinduism. There is a difference: Liberation in Hinduism connotes attainment of Brahman, but in Buddhism, it means attainment of knowledge.  Tantra texts mention that the act of assuming a Lotus posture and looking at the tip of the nose is not Yoga; identification of jivatma with Paramatma is Yoga.


6.16:   Yoga is not for him, who either eats too much, or eats too little. It is not for him, who either sleeps too much or stays awake too long, O Arjuna.


Moderation in everything is the cornerstone of not only physical, but also of mental and spiritual health.

There is a story about Buddha. When he ventured out of his palace, he saw the ravages of old age and sickness, the inevitability of death, and the beauty, tranqility, and peace in the face of an ascetic. He decided that he wanted to be an ascetic and left his adorable wife Yosodhara and son Rahula. He retired to the forest, practiced austerities, learned abstruse doctrines, and starved himself to skin and bones. Mortification of the flesh and abstruse doctrines did not help him attain to knowledge; he went out of the woods, and slowly recovered his health, meditated under the Bodhi tree; and at crack of dawn out of the blue, the knowledge and realization dawned on him. Remember that revelation of spiritual and intuitive knowledge comes in sudden paroxysmal fashion, a sense of immediacy. In Christianity also, the sense of immediacy in the descent of illumination and arrival of Jesus Christ is mentioned: Christ comes when you are not looking for him. Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 2.3.6: Enlightenment or Truth comes like a sudden flash of lightning, flame of fire, or a white lotus.  In sculptures, The Buddha, attaining enlightenment, appears seated under the fig tree in Gaya in Yogic position with his left hand palm facing up in the midline and the pronated right hand pointing to the earth (not in the picture) as the witness of The Buddha gaining victory over Mara, the god of desire.







Wood carvings credit:  Exoticindia.com. From left to right: 1. Child Buddha. 2. Emaciated Buddha. 3. Buddha. 4. His First five disciples.

Note: Buddha stands on double lotus, one upright and the other inverted.

Man and animal are the same when it comes to sleep, fear, sex, and food. What makes man better than an animal? Man with spiritual knowledge is man; others are animals (Garuda Purana, II.49.53).  


6.17: Yoga, the destroyer of sorrows, is attainable to a man who is moderate in eating, recreation, sleep, and wakefulness, and restrained in action.


            Moderation in eating has been quantified according to Yajnavalkya in a 24-hour period: 32 mouthfuls for a householder, 16 for a forest recluse (Vanaprasthya), and 8 for a muni/sage. Muni = he who observes silence or mauna. Please go to comment on BG2.54-- BG Chapter 2 Samkhya Theory Verse 54.

This is what Vasistha says about food consumption. Verse 6.20: A sage's meal is 8 mouthfuls, a forest hermit's 16, a householder's 22, and a student's an unlimited quantity. Translation from Sanskrit by Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasutras, page 267.


6.18: When the controlled mind abides in the Self alone, the Yogi free from desires and all objects is called perfected in Yoga at that time.


When the Self is the center of the mind and all the desires die down, there is stillness of the mind. The surface is calm and reflective of the light emanating from the Self.


6.19:  As a lamp’s flame does not flicker in a windless place, so goes the simile that a yogi of subdued mind practices steadfast yogam (meditation) on the Self.


There are no thoughts wafting in and out; the wind has died down; the thoughts have died down; there is that little steady flame of the self; and there is oneness, stillness, absolute freedom, and splendid isolation. (Here isolation means the self is free [isolated] from all the impurities of the material world.) Purusa breaks away from the vanishing Prakriti. As the flickerless flame of the “self” approaches the effulgence of the Self, the latter consumes and annihilates the former. That is Being, Consciousness and Bliss (SatChitAnanda). (Purusa: Spirit; Prakriti: matter.)


6.20:   When the mind is at rest and under restraint from the practice of yoga, he enjoys the Self by seeing the Self through the self.


6.21: When he knows that the Supreme happiness, experienced by the intelligence, is beyond the grasp of the senses, the yogi, standing firm, never swerves from the Truth.


6.22:  By gaining that, he considers there is no more to gain; thus standing firm, even a great sorrow does not move him. [he is never moved by any great sorrow].


6.23:  You must know, in perspective of yoga, this disjunction (viyoga) of union with pain. This yoga should be practiced with determination and unwearied mind. (Determination and unwearied mind must underlie practice of this yoga.)


 (Vi+yoga: dis+junction, dis+union, and dis+connection)


In this phenomenal word, this union with pain and pleasure is the stuff of samsāra and jivātma’s lot. Disunion from all union with pain and the dualities of this phenomenal world is yoga, which is union with the Brahman, pure Bliss. Apart from this disunion, yoga needs a good dose of determination and a steady mind (a flickerless flame). Death (death is a prelude to rebirth) does not haunt the soul’s body anymore; darkness dissipates; light comes in; and immortality of soul is a reality now. Unreality peels off from Reality; the veil falls; and the Truth shines. The untruth totters out and the Truth prevails; the veiling glitter (or gold), which is mind stuff, melts revealing the Truth.


The union with Brahman needs dedication, determination, strength, and focus; it is comparable to the arduous effort of a mountain climber on the sides of the steep canyon. Every step ascended, every grip held firm, every drop of sweat shed, every heartbeat missed, every ounce of courage mustered, every glance cast upwards, forgetting every pain suffered, every breath taken, every peril avoided dexterously, every thought focused on the goal, every faith held firm and every move made deliberately help the climber see the sun, when he peeks over the edge of the mountaintop. That is Bliss. That is Sat-chit-ananda or Being, awareness and bliss.


6.24 - 25:  Giving up all desires born of mental will and limiting by the mind all senses from all sides, one should withdraw slowly (little by little) by intelligence and firm conviction (from objects). With his mind steady on atman, one should not think of anything else


Viniyamya: to be limited


6.25:  One should withdraw slowly (little by little) by intelligence and firm conviction (from objects). With his mind steady on atman, one should not think of anything else


Sanaih, sanaih: slowly, slowly


6.26:  In whatever direction the unsteady fickle mind goes, one should hold this mind back and bring it under the control of the Self (Atman).


Niyam: hold back.  Vasam: authority, control, dominion


The mind is fuzzy and woozy, wild and woolly, agitated and avaricious, and narrow and shallow. Mundane thoughts come easy. Pleasure is its anchor. The mind knows not what it thinks it knows. It blinks and flickers. Thoughts rush in and thoughts rush out; they are erotic and erratic. The thoughts are light and fluffy one time, and at another slap like waves. There is no end to this onslaught. The mind wanders near and far like the wings on the wind. Mind jumps between unrelated thoughts. What a mind, what a bind!


Lord Krishna says that one should bring the mind under the control of the Self or Atman. It is worthwhile to consider this phrase: Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. Upanisads advance a sentiment more ancient, more original, more comprehensive, and more fundamental in its meaning and import. Their phrase is Atman, Moksa, and Bliss. Soul-life is Atman; Liberty is moksa; and Pursuit of happiness is Satchitananda or simply Bliss. Atman has to be in the driver's seat to reach moksa and bliss. Hindus consider this earthly life as passage of the soul through many bodies (plant, animal, and man) before liberation or moksa becomes a reality. How it is that Jefferson used a similar and dilute and yet powerful variant of the phrase in the Upanisads, which have been promoting them for millenniums? I doubt that he read Upanisads. What was he thinking when he wrote that phrase? Bliss is an advanced form of happiness saturated with spirit. Is it a life of health, wealth, and spirit? Is that liberty physical, spiritual, or both? Does that pursuit of happiness lead to true Bliss (Sat, Chit and Ananda or Being, Consciousness and Bliss)? Are they mere words? Are they mere thoughts? It could not have been mere words; it appears that Jefferson and the signers of The Declaration of Independence had an idea about Atman, Moksa, and Bliss, not exactly the way Upanishads mention. In the context of belief in rebirth, could it be possible that Jefferson was a Rishi in his past life and a sage in later life? 

The lower thoughts rest on animal needs and come easy; higher thoughts are hard to come by. Mundane thoughts come easy on good days; only on bad days and during hard times, spiritual thoughts come fleetingly. Why is that so? Are hard times a reminder that we think of God and the Self? Is it confused and confounded? Has it lost its anchor in the self? Can you tie it down? Can you curb it? Can you train it? Can you corral this wandering mind? Practice until you get it right (under the control of the Self). Self is light, Self is luminous, Self is Bliss, and Self is Reality. Everything else is mere māyā (illusion).


6.27:   Supreme happiness comes to yogi, whose mind is tranquil, who is free from sin or stain, whose passions (Rajas) are pacific, and who is one with Brahman.


Peace be upon the Yogin, who in purity knows that karma without fruits is salvation. Peace be upon the Yogin, who works for the sake of Brahman. Peace be upon the Yogin, who sees Brahman in all living beings. Peace be upon the Yogin, who knows that all actions done as sacrifice are devoid of gunas (transcend Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) and therefore are free from sin, stain and karma. Peace be upon the Yogin, who knows karma is bondage. Peace be upon the Yogin, who knows that Prakriti blocks his vision of the Self. Peace be upon the Yogin, who knows that ignorance and māyā are an obstacle in attaining Brahman. Peace be upon the Yogin who knows that all senses subside when ego (the progenitor of senses) dies. Peace be upon the Yogin who knows that karma and māyā die when ego dies. Peace be upon the Yogin who knows, not to tread on the triple fire of lust, greed, and desire. Peace be upon the Yogin, who knows that the two broken oars are greed and envy on a boat in the ocean of Samsāra. Peace be upon Yogin, who considers that all souls are equal. Peace be upon the Yogin, who sacrifices his work for animals, man, and God. Peace be upon the Yogin, who knows that the souls and the material world belong to Him. Peace be upon the Yogin, whose mind is on moksa and Brahman. Peace be upon the Yogin, who knows that attaining Brahman or merging with Brahman is the ultimate Bliss. Peace be upon the Yogin, who ascended all the eight steps of angas. Peace be upon the Yogin, who overcame his ahankāra. Peace be upon the Yogin, who overcame the manas and the indriyas. Peace be upon the Yogin, whose buddhi is intuitive intelligence. Peace be upon the Yogin, who is in peace with his self, abides in Brahman, and sees Brahman in all. Peace be upon Yogin, whose light in the heart no eye can see. Peace be upon the Yogin whose music no ear can hear. Peace be upon the Yogin who is carried like a kitten by Grace Divine. Peace be upon the Yogin who clings like a monkey to the Grace Divine. Peace be upon the Yogin who knows not the difference between the subject (Brahman) and the object (Yogi). Peace be upon the Yogin, who attains to kaivalya, samādhi, and Bliss.


6.28: The stainless Yogi by constantly concentrating his mind easily experiences infinite bliss of contact with Brahman.


Contact with Brahman by yoga brings peace, tranquillity, bliss, stillness, and oneness with Brahman. A true yogi endowed with pratibhā, gets flashes of intuitional and translucent thoughts, which are rare in ordinary men. That yogic wisdom is ārsa-jnāna (the wisdom of Rishis). It is not analytical logic. It is beyond discourse. The divine wisdom, into which the seers get to peak and obtain nuggets of wisdom, is eternal and inexhaustible and not apprehended by the ordinary human mind; it is intuitional and beyond reason and logic. We are familiar with words like “Pro-gnosis and Dia-gnosis.” The gnosis of the yogi is wisdom that does not flow in a linear logical sequential fashion over a long period of analysis. It is intuitive, paroxysmal and of sudden onset in its presentation and revelation. It comes unannounced to the yogi. After all, the mind and buddhi are products of prakriti and therefore by themselves are insentient and are not capable of reaching realms beyond reason unless they get to place themselves in proximity to the self-effulgent Self. With that proximity to the Self, the human mind and buddhi come to acquire the light of wisdom from the Self. Remember the tale of two birds. The lower bird on the tree branch nudges close to the Higher bird and merges with it in the high noon of realization. Until its merger, the lower bird, the jivātman, was a mere shadow, and at the high noon of realization, the shadow has gone forever. The shadow of the soul (or the faint light of the soul) disappears in the effulgence of the Greater Soul.        

The Greater or the Higher Self is always a subject and never an object; the individual self, the atman or the yogi is the object. This is the instance where an object has to get close to the subject to get a glimpse of the subject. The subject is like a book of knowledge with a zillion pages. To copy one page from the book of knowledge, the yogi needs the intermediation of a copying machine, a paper, and a flash of light. The accomplished yogi's mind is that paper capturing the image from the book of eternal knowledge with the “Self” providing that flash of light. And the result is Ārsa-jnāna– the wisdom of Rishi. Elsewhere, read on kaivalya, and samādhi


6.29: One whose self is in union with yoga  and who has visions of the same divinity everywhere sees his own Self exist in all beings and all beings [from Brahma to a blade of grass] exist in his Self.


Then, he (Yājñavalkya) said- 'Verily, not for the sake of the husband is the husband dear but for the sake of the Self is the husband dear.

IV. 5 .7  Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad   page 283. October 15, 2013

Verily, not for the sake of the wife is the wife dear but for the sake of the Self is the wife dear. Verily, not for the sake of the sons are the sons dear but for the sake of the Self are the sons dear Verily, not for the sake of wealth is wealth dear but for the sake of the Self is wealth dear. Verily, not for the sake of the cattle are the cattle dear but for the sake of the Self are the cattle dear. Verily, not for the sake of the Brāhmaṇa is the Brāhmaṇa dear but for the sake of the Self is the Brāhmaṇa dear. Verily, not for the sake of the Kṣatriya is the Kṣatriya dear but for the sake of the Self is the Kṣatriya dear. Verily, not for the sake of the worlds are the worlds dear but for the sake of the Self are the worlds dear. Verily, not for the sake of the gods are the gods dear but for the sake of the Self are the gods dear. Verily, not for the sake of the Vedas are the Vedas dear but for the sake of the Self are the Vedas dear. Verily not for the sake of the beings are the beings dear but for the sake of the Self are the beings dear. Verily, not for the sake of all is all dear but for the sake of the Self is all dear. Verily, the Self, Maitreyī, is to be seen, to be heard, to be reflected on, to be meditated upon; when, verily, the Self is seen, heard, reflected on and known, then all this is known.

7. Brāhmaṇahood deserts him who knows Brāhmaṇahood in anything else than the Self. Kṣatriyahood deserts him who knows Kṣatriyahood in anything else than the Self. The worlds desert him who  knows the worlds in anything else than the Self. The gods desert him who knows the gods in anything else than the Self. The Vedas desert him who knows the Vedas in anything else than the Self. The beings desert him who knows the beings in anything else than the Self. All deserts him who knows all in anything else than the Self. This Brahmanahood,

284                       The Principal Upaniṣads             IV. 5 12.

this Kṣatriyahood, and these worlds, these gods, these Vedas, all these beings, this all are the Self.


Self = Brahman, Bhagavan, Universal Consciousness, the Inner Abiding God.


The Yogi sees the Lord in all beings, all beings in the Lord and therefore regards all beings equally. This is the precept behind ahimsa or nonviolence.


6.30: He who sees Me in all things and who sees all things in Me, I am not lost  from his [vision] and he is not lost to Me.  


The realized yogi sees the Lord in all beings and in all things (Cit and Acit, sentient and insentient). The individual souls are the sparks from the fire. Ramanuja's Brahman is comparable to pomegranate fruit with seeds as the individual souls; Paramatma envelops and controls all, since He is all-pervasive. The Supreme Soul is Atman and the whole universe of individual souls and matter are Atman's body; in the same sense, the individual body is the body of the individual soul. Atman is the controller and owner of all individual souls and the material world. The Supreme Soul (Atman) and the individual souls are identical in substance, but not in their qualities: Supreme soul is the Supreme controller, all-pervasive and blissful; the individual soul is only a spark, an anu, or a monad. The Supreme soul and the individual soul are magnetic to each other, but ignorance and karma are impediments for their closeness. Saranāgati (self-surrender), Prapatti (resignation), and Bhakti (devotion) by the individual, and God's compassion, love and grace for the devotee get the individual soul in closeness to God. This magnetic resonance between God and men, in which the individual souls do the dance of symmetry around God, is the goal and Bliss. The individual souls found their fountainhead.

Brahman is compared to Pomegranate fruit. The seeds contained in the red, fleshy and juicy arils are the individual souls. Brahman and the entire fruit is Samasthi or the Undivided Whole. The seeded aril is Vyasthi or the manifest individual (soul).





6.31: The Yogin, established in unity, worships Me abiding in all beings; that yogi, whatever his condition may be and however much he is active, exists in Me.


        I exist in all beings: He is Antaryamin, the Inner Guide.  He resides in animate and inanimate objects. Vaishnavites love to tell the story of Man-Lion Narasimha emerging from a pillar substantiating the fact that Bhagavan is AntaryaAmin, Antarvarti, AntarAtman and  Paramatman (Inner Guide, Inner Dweller, Inner Self, and Supreme Atman). One classical example of his residence in objects is that he appeared from out of a pillar to support and save his devotee Prahalada and destroy his cruel father. He is the Dweller in an object and also in a being. He is neither an animal, nor a human; He is THAT or IT. He is half animal and half human; therefore He is Narasimha (Man-Lion-Divine Chimera) that emerged from a pillar. This illustrates He is all-pervasive.

    You don't have to believe the story. Let me bring to your attention many instances of miraculous survival of victims of earthquake in air pockets created by falling debris and subsequent rescue. Was that divine intervention or pure luck? Ask the victim and find the answer.

Narasimhar-Man-Lion Image from Kumudam  April 2020


        Let me give you an example to illustrate Antaryamin. When you go to a Hall of Frames, you see just the frames from afar and not the portraits. When you go close to a frame, you don't see the frame but the portrait that comes alive before your eyes. In like manner, when you see matter, you don't see Him; when you see Him, you do not see matter.

        Since He exists (Antaryamin) in all beings and matter (Cit and Acit), he is addressed as IT, THAT. It is not in any way derogatory to address Him such.

        Yogis have no problem worshipping Paramatman in His Nirguna Brahman state. Others need an object, idol or symbol for worship. Many hurricanes hit our coastal states, too many to remember or recall. So what do we do? We anthropomorphize the hurricanes, given them names (Hurricane Katrina) and recall their wayward propensities.  Yes, they have eyes, long limbs, and destructive swirl.


God appears in four ways: Daivam, Mānusham, Ārsham, Svayam Viyaktam.

    Daivam: This is the place where Devas worshipped Paramatman and therefore it became a place of worship.

    Mānusham: People establish and consecrate images in a new temple.

    Ārsham: This is where Paramatman appeared before Rishis and thereby they became places of worship.

    Svayam Viyaktam: = Self manifestation: Paramatman appeared in certain places on His own will and therefore they became places of worship.


6.32: O Arjuna; the Yogi who  sees  with equality all beings in the likeness of self (himself) and regards happiness and sorrow as his own [that Yogi] is considered supreme.

Ātma-aupamayena: in the likeness of self


All souls are similar, but not the same, because of the vitiating influence of Prakriti. All individual selves are of the same expansive knowledge in their intrinsic pristine nature. Because of overlay of prakriti (matter, gunas, indriyas and kosas), they experience the dualities of happiness and sorrow, which are no different from those of a yogi. The yogi’s self resonates with all other selves but it does not mean the yogi experiences other people's pleasure and pain. It means that he considers that his self and selves of others are equal in that they work in the same milieu of prakriti and duality and that the self of each one is immune from the pleasure and pain of this material body. The body is susceptible to pleasure and pain but the self is immune to such dualities of experience. It is an oxymoron to brand a soul as aching soul, though the term is in common usage. The yogi does not identify with the body of the other person but the self of that person in question. The pain and pleasure come from matter and not from the self.


6.33: O Madhusudana (Killer of demon Madhu, Krishna), In this Yoga that was declared by You  as same [as the Doctrine of Equality and Empathy], I do not see its stability because of agitation of (my) mind.   


Yogi: Steadfastness in yoga is a prerequisite for moksa; any slippage or agitation of mind postpones or bars the attainment of the goal. Lord Krishna says that yogis must have unifocal vision, which is absorption into Brahman; once the vision becomes a reality, the yogis go to live among gods close to Lord Krishna, the God of gods. Agitation of mind is an impediment in yogi’s progress. Once moksa is a reality, freedom is established. Read below more about the free and bound souls.


There are three kinds of souls: eternal souls, freed souls, and bound souls. Let me tell you right off the reel that we are all bound souls with a BIG B. The eternal souls are the ones who have never known life in this universe and live their lives in Vaikuntha (Narāyana's Heavenly Abode); the freed souls are the ones who attained to salvation and now live with God after an arduous journey in the ocean of samsāra during many transmigratory lives. Jivan mukti (liberation while living) is not attainable according to Ramanuja. The freed soul lives in the company of Bhagavan, but never becomes merged with God; the liberated soul enjoys a status equal to that of Brahman Himself, performs nitya-kainkarya meaning eternal divine service, enjoys Bliss, but does not have the absolute and exclusive powers of Isvara that go with creation, sustenance and sublation. The bound souls are of two kinds: spiritually conscious (Udita Viveka) and  (Anudita Viveka) spiritually unconscious. Udita = proclaimed; Viveka = true knowledge, discretion. True Vaishnavites who follow the precepts of Suddha Vaishnava Dharma are the spiritually conscious (BG02); others are not, according to Vaishnavas.


Lack of stability because of agitation is a big impediment for Yoga.

According to Yoga Sutras, there are personality types, fit for yoga. You heard about personality types like type A and type B. Yogis studied the minds of people and divided them into five kinds:

Kshipta Chitta: This mind is subject to distraction or absent. Rajasic personality is the underlying characteristic meaning there is motion and passion. If you know what a motor-mouth is, this qualifies as a motor-mind: There is no focus; it is not an ideal mind for yoga. Kshipta = scattered, distracted. Kshipta Chitta = Addlehead, Scatterbrain

Mudha Chitta: This is a dull and forgetful mind dominated by Tamasic personality, meaning darkness, sluggishness, and general malaise. Mûdha = stupid, dull. Mudha chitta = muddlehead.

Vikshipta Chitta: This is a distraught and agitated mind with periods of calmness and Sattva. Vikshipta = bewildered, agitated. Vikshipta Chitta = Rattlehead.

Ekagra Chitta: This is a one-pointed and trainable mind, which can practice yoga. EkAgra = one-pointed, having one point. Ekagra Chitta = laser head.

Niruddha Chitta: This is a restrained mind, most suitable for yoga practice. Niruddha = restrained. Niruddha Chitta = good head.

(Epithets are for entertainment only and no insult is intended.)

 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna

34. Though all souls are one and the same in their ultimate nature, they are of four classes according to their respective conditions. They are Baddha or bound, Mumukshu or struggling for liberation, Mukta or emancipated, and Nityamukta or ever-free.  

35. A fisherman cast his net into the river and had a large haul. Some fish lay in the net calm and motionless, not exerting in the least to go out of it. Others struggled and jumped but could not extricate themselves, while a third class of fish somehow managed to force their way out of the net. In the world, men too are thus of three kinds---those who are bound and never strive to be free, those who are bound but struggle for freedom, and those who have already attained freedom. 

36. There are three dolls--the first made of salt, the second made of cloth, and the third of stone. If these dolls are immersed in water, the first will become dissolved and lose its form, the second will absorb a large quantity of water but retain its form, and the third will remain impervious to water. The first doll represents the man who merges his self in the universal and all-pervading Self and becomes one with It; he is the liberated man. The second represents the Bhakta or the true lover of God, who is full of Divine bliss and knowledge. And the third represents the worldly man who will not admit even a particle of true knowledge into his heart.  

37. Men are like pillow-cases. The color of one may be red, that of another blue, and that of a third black; but all contain the same cotton within. So it is with man; one is beautiful, another is black, a third holy, and a fourth wicked; but the Divine Being dwells in them all.  

38. The outer layers of cakes are made of rice flour, but inside they are stuffed with different ingredients. The cake is good or bad according to the quality of its stuffing. So all human bodies are made of one and the same material, yet men are different in quality according to the purity of their hearts.  

39. A Brahmana's son is no doubt a Brahmana by birth; but some of these born Brahmanas grow up into great scholars, some become priests, others turn out cooks, and still others roll themselves in the dust before courtesans' doors.

43. Even at the time of death the 'bound souls' speak of worldly matters only. There is no use in visiting places of pilgrimage, or bathing in the holy Ganges, or counting beads; if there are worldly attachments in the heart, they are sure to manifest themselves at the dying moment. Hence 'bound souls' indulge in random talks even at that time. A parrot may ordinarily sing the holy name of Radha-Krishna, but when it is attacked by a cat, it cries out 'Kang', 'Kang'.--its natural cry.



6.34:  Because the mind is fickle, agitated, strong, and obstinate, O Krishna, I think restraint of the mind is as difficult as controlling the wind. 


6.35:  Sri Bhagavan said:

O son of Kunti, without doubt mind is difficult to restrain, prone to agitation; but it can be controlled by repetitive practice and by detachment.


6.36: Thus my opinion is that Yoga is hard to attain by one with unbridled mind but is attainable by one with controlled mind and by the man of endeavor through the means [mentioned above].


    Joseph Campbell in his book "Oriental Mythology" describes Yoga as follows. (page 27-28.)

       "Furthermore, the mind is in a continuous ripple of transformation and with such force that if one should try without yogic training to hold it to a single image or idea for as long, say, as a minute, almost immediately it would be seen to have already broken from the point and run off into associated, even remote, streams of thought and feeling. The first aim of yoga, therefore, is to gain control of this spontaneous flow, slow it down, and bring it to a stop.


Comment by Joseph Campbell

The analogy is given of the surface of a pond blown by a wind. The images reflected on such a surface are broken, fragmentary, and continually flickering. But if the wind should cease and the surface become still--nirvana: "beyond or without (nir-) the wind Vāna)"  we should behold, not broken images, but the perfectly formed reflection of the whole sky, the trees along the shore, the quiet depths of the pond itself, its lovely sandy bottom, and the fish. We should then see that all the broken images, formerly only fleetingly perceived, were actually but fragments of these true and steady forms, now clearly and steadily seen. And we should have at our command thereafter both the possibility of stilling the pond, to enjoy the fundamental form, and that of letting the winds blow and waters ripple, for the enjoyment of the play (lila) of the transformations. (We should be able to enjoy both the undulating and still images-- my interpolation.) One is no longer afraid when this comes and that goes; not even when the form that seems to be oneself disappears. For the One that is all, forever remains: transcendent beyond all; yet also immanent within all."

Joseph Campbell explains what transcendence is. In Occidental theology, the word transcendent is used to mean outside of the world. In the East, it means outside of thought.

    Author's interpretation: Astronauts transcend the physical barriers and go to the moon; that is physical transcendence, which is not as common as going to the grocery store or liquor store.  In like manner, thought transcendence takes the Yogi beyond the thought barriers into the supraliminal realm of the Spirit with which he becomes one for the duration of the Yogic state. To go to that realm needs special mental equipment and training.


6.37: Arjuna said: 

The failed ascetic who had faith but was of such mind to deviate from (the path of) yoga, failing to attain yogic perfection, which way does he go, O Krishna?


Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says the following about a pseudo-ascetic.   Saying 304, page 95, Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna: The man who becomes an ascetic owing to some misunderstanding with his father, or mother or wife may be called an 'ascetic-by-disgust.' His asceticism is momentary; he gives up the ascetic way of life  as soon as he gets a lucrative job in a wealthy family.

Saying 305 & 07: Piety, true dedication of heart and soul to God, renunciation of woman and gold , regarding and respecting all women as his mother, constant meditation on God, service to all creatures, knowing that God resides in all and forgiveness: these are the qualities of an ascetic or pious man.


6.38:  Having lost both (paths of Karma and Yoga), does he not perish like a riven cloud O Krishna, without support, and bewildered on the path to Brahman?


6.39: O Krishna, You are worthy of and obligated to remove this doubt of mine completely because no one other than You is proven remover of this doubt.


6.40:  Sri Bhagavan said:

O Son of Partha, neither here, nor hereafter (the other world), destruction exists for him. Never misfortune comes to the one who does good works (kalyānakrt, auspicious activities).


6.41:   Having attained to the world of those who performed pious activities and living there for many years, the unrealized or fallen yogi takes birth in the house of the ritually pure, the pious, and the prosperous.  


6.42:  Or such a yogi takes his birth in the family of yogins endowed with great wisdom; a birth like this is very rare indeed in this world.


    Kularnava Tantra states that (Yogis or) Gurus, who are learned in Brahmavidya or Brahma Yoga, are born in a Guru family. Such family has a long line of Gurus, who are competent to initiate Sisyas (pupils) into Pasvacara, Viracara, Mahavidya or Brahma Yoga and reveal appropriate Mantra. Such long line of Yogis is a rare phenomenon now.


6.43:  Thereupon, he regains the mental, intellectual, and yogic disposition from his previous birth (body), and strives again to gain for perfection, O son of Kuru.


disposition: Samskaras = tendencies, impressions.


6.44:  By virtue of previous (yogic) practice (in former life), he is carried forward even against his will. Even though he is only an inquisitive seeker of yoga, he transcends Sabda-Brahman or Vedic rituals. .


Any attempt and any progress made in yoga practice never go to waste. God creates circumstances in such ways that the incomplete yogi (a dropout) picks up where he left in the previous life by his birth in the right family. There are two kinds of spiritual knowledge: Sabda-Brahman and Param-Brahman. Param-Brahman is superior and Sabda-Brahman is only a means to Param-Brahman; Sabda-Brahman encompasses knowledge of Upanisads and Vedas, sacrifices and rituals, which are essential for the growth and development of the soul or atman to a finite stage. Reciting Vedas without knowing the meaning is standing like the pillars holding the roof. It is like the donkey or a draft animal carrying a load of sandalwood and not knowing its exquisite fragrance. It is like the hand that carries food to the tongue, not knowing its taste. After that stage, they drop off in the same spirit of detachment from desires at early stages of development. Here the self stands by itself with no props or support to the self. The yogi is dead to the world, figuratively; he gives up everything that he owns, be it material or knowledge; names and forms do not matter anymore. He rides the OM sound waves of Sabda-Brahman until he reaches the Param-Brahman, when the sound-syllable OM falls into silence (Turiya or fourth state). The Sound Brahman is the preliminary step before attainment of Soundless Brahman, upon attainment of which names, forms, books, rituals, sacrifices, prayers and hymns fall or should be abandoned. It is like saying that you abandon the raft, once you reach the shore; it is like saying that you throw away the chaff in favor of rice. This illustrates the journey, man makes from ignorance to Jnāna to Vijnāna. Ramana Maharishi gives an analogy: "You remove the thorn from the sole of the foot by another thorn and when done, throw away both thorns.” At this stage of development, rituals, Vedas, sacrifices fall by the wayside at the dawn of higher realization of Param-Brahman or Soundless Brahman. There is stillness and silence. The goal is absorption and bliss. It is like the spider climbing on its own thread to reach the higher space; so also the yogi goes up on the sound thread of OM and reaches his destination, silence (Param Brahman).


He rides on the sound waves of OM and his goal is silence: He goes from sound to silence, thus attaining Vijnāna, experiential realization of God. He sheds names and forms; speech and books are nothing for him; there are no hymns and no prayers. Where he is, there is no fear; there is no sorrow; there is tranquillity; there is silence; and there is bliss.


6.45:   The yogi, striving earnestly, free from all sins, and perfecting himself through many births, attains to the Supreme (Supreme Goal).


6.46:    The yogi is superior to the ascetic, greater than the Jnāni, and more sublime than the ritualists. Therefore, O Arjuna, thou become a yogi.


Here Lord Krishna mentions that a true yogi is superior to the ritualists who perform sacrifices, the yogis who practice austerities, and the yogis who are well versed in Vedic studies. As said earlier, a yogi has to go beyond the stage of Sabda-Brahman and attain to Param-Brahman.


6.47:  Of all yogis, he, who worships Me within his mind, abiding in me within with full faith,  is considered by me the most accomplished of all yogis.


Here Lord Krishna makes a great distinction among yogis. The Lord holds the Bhakti yogis as the most accomplished of all yogis for their love, devotion, self-surrender, and resignation with full faith and thoughts and the “self” centered on Bhagavan. Knowledge matters not; rituals matter not; sacrifices matter not; and work matters not: Love and devotion (Bhakti) to Krishna supersede them all and win easily.

Love in this phenomenal world waxes, wanes, and dies; blooms, withers, and falls because you are in love with a finite, a man, a woman, an object, or an idea:  That is not love but animal passion. True love has no difficulties; love always goes to something or somebody, who is more magnetic; love's pull varies according to the magnetism of the subject. (There is nobody more magnetic and infinite than God Himself.) God is the most magnetic centripetal force on earth; if you step into that circular ambit of God's magnetism, you are forever free. The magnetism and luminescence of God is that of the sun; those of other objects are that of candles; that magnetism seeks love and Bhakti, which Krishna considers most dear to Him.

Bhaktas, Bhubuksus and Mumukshus

Some Acharyas classify Bhakti into Suddha (Pure) and Viddha (selfish); the latter being Karma Viddha and Jnana Viddha, by which an aspirant seeks favor from Krishna.

Pure Bhakti is the best path recommended by Bhagavan Krishna in this verse: A Yogi  who worships with Sraddha and  inner self abiding in Me is considered by Me as the greatest and the highest (of all Yogis).

BhaktA loves God for love's sake and the Viddhas love God for something in return. Karma Viddhas are the ubiquitous visitors (Bubhuksus- one, hungry for enjoyment) to the temple and do rituals at home and temples for health, wealth, happiness, education, employment, prosperity, matrimony,  progeny ... The Jnana Viddhas are the seekers of liberation (Mumuksus) whose aptitude is towards meditation, breathings exercises (Ashtanga Yogam)...  Both are seekers of something; Bhakta's substance is love, while Viddha's is want.



End of Chapter Six: The Yoga of Self-Control

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