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Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita, English translation and commentary by Swami Swarupananda, [1909], at

p. 137


The Blessed Lord said:

1. He who performs his bounden duty without leaning to the fruit of action —he is a renouncer of action as well as of steadfast mind: not he who is without fire, nor he who is without action. 1

p. 138

2. Know that to be devotion to action, which is called renunciation, O Pândava, for none becomes a devotee to action without forsaking Sankalpa. 2

p. 139

3. For the man of meditation wishing to attain purification of heart leading to concentration, work is said to be the way: For him, when he has attained such (concentration), inaction is said to be the way. 3

4. Verily, when there is no attachment, either to sense-objects, or to actions, having renounced all Sankalpas, then is one said to have attained concentration. 4

p. 140

5. A man should uplift himself by his own self, so let him not weaken this self. For this self is the friend of oneself, and this self is the enemy of oneself. 5

p. 141

6. The self (the active part of our nature) is the friend of the self, for him who has conquered himself by this self. But to the unconquered self, this self is inimical, (and behaves) like (an external) foe. 6

7. To the self-controlled and serene, the Supreme Self is, the object of constant, realisation, in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, as well as in honour and dishonour. 7

p. 142

8. Whose heart is filled with satisfaction by wisdom and realisation, and is changeless, whose senses are conquered, and to whom a lump of earth, stone, and gold are the same: that Yogi is called steadfast. 8

p. 143

9. He attains excellence who looks with equal regard upon well-wishers, friends, foes, neutrals, arbiters, the hateful, the relatives, and upon the righteous and the unrighteous alike.

10. The Yogi should constantly practise concentration of the heart, retiring into solitude, alone, with the mind and body subdued, and free from hope and possession.

11. Having in a cleanly spot established his seat, firm, neither too high nor

p. 144

too low, made of a cloth, a skin, and Kusha-grass, arranged in consecution: 11

12. There, seated on that seat, making the mind one-pointed and subduing the action of the imaging faculty and the senses, let him practise Yoga for the purification of the heart.

13. Let him firmly hold his body, head and neck erect and still, (with the eye-balls fixed, as if) gazing at the tip of his nose, and not looking around. 13

p. 145

14. With the heart serene and fearless, firm in the vow of a Brahmachâri, with the mind controlled, and ever thinking of Me, let him sit (in Yoga) having Me as his supreme goal.

15. Thus always keeping the mind steadfast, the Yogi of subdued mind attains the peace residing in Me,—the

p. 146

peace which culminates in Nirvâna (Moksha).

16. (Success in) Yoga is not for him who eats too much or too little—nor, O Arjuna, for him who sleeps too much or too little. 16

17. To him who is temperate in eating and recreation, in his effort for work,

p. 147

and in sleep and wakefulness, Yoga becomes the destroyer of misery.

18. When the completely controlled mind rests serenely in the Self alone, free from longing after all desires, then is one called steadfast, (in the Self).

19. "As a lamp in a spot sheltered from the wind does not flicker,"—even such has been the simile used for a Yogi of subdued mind, practising concentration in the Self.

p. 148 p. 149

20-23. When the mind, absolutely restrained by the practice of concentration, attains quietude, and when seeing the Self by the self, one is satisfied in his own Self; when he feels that infinite bliss—which is perceived by the (purified) intellect and which transcends the senses, and established wherein he never departs from his real state; and having obtained which, regards no other acquisition superior to that, and where established, he is not moved even by heavy sorrow;—let that be known as the state, called by the name of Yoga,—a state of severance from the contact of pain. This Yoga should be practised with perseverance, undisturbed by depression of heart. 20

p. 150

24. Abandoning without reserve all desires born of Sankalpa, and completely restraining, by the mind alone, the whole group of senses from their objects in all directions;

25. With the intellect set in patience, with the mind fastened on the Self, let him attain quietude by degrees: let him not think of anything.

26. Through whatever reason the

p. 151

restless, unsteady mind wanders away, let him curbing it from that, bring it under the subjugation of the Self alone.

27. Verily, the supreme bliss comes to that Yogi, of perfectly tranquil mind, with passions quieted, Brahman-become, and freed from taint. 27

28. The Yogi freed from taint (of good and evil), constantly engaging the mind thus, with ease attains the infinite bliss of contact with Brahman.

p. 152

29. With the heart concentrated by Yoga, with the eye of evenness for all things, he beholds the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self.

30. He who sees Me in all things, and sees all things in Me, he never becomes separated from Me, nor do I become separated from him. 30

p. 153

31. He who being established in unity, worships Me, who am dwelling in all beings, whatever his mode of life, that Yogi abides in Me. 31

32. He who judges of pleasure or pain everywhere, by the same standard as he applies to himself, that Yogi, O Arjuna, is regarded as the highest. 32

p. 154

Arjuna said:

33. This Yoga which has been taught by Thee, O slayer of Madhu, as characterised by evenness, I do not see (the possibility of) its lasting endurance, owing to restlessness (of the mind).

34. Verily, the mind, O Krishna, is restless, turbulent, strong, and unyielding;. I regard it quite as hard to achieve its control, as that of the wind. 34

p. 155

The Blessed Lord said:

35. Without doubt, O mighty-armed, the mind is restless, and difficult to control; but through practice and renunciation, O son of Kunti, it may be governed. 35

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36. Yoga is hard to be attained by one of uncontrolled self: such is My conviction; but the self-controlled, striving by right means, can obtain it.

Arjuna said:

37. Though possessed of Shraddhâ but unable to control himself, with the mind wandering away from Yoga, what end does one, failing to gain perfection in Yoga, meet, O Krishna?

p. 157

38. Does he not, fallen from both, perish, without support, like a rent cloud, O mighty-armed, deluded in the path of Brahman? 38

39. This doubt of mine, O Krishna, Thou shouldst completely dispel; for it is not possible for any but Thee to dispel this doubt. 39

p. 158

The Blessed Lord said:

40. Verily, O son of Prithâ, there is destruction for him, neither here nor hereafter: for, the doer of good, O my son, never comes to grief. 40

41. Having attained to the worlds of the righteous, and dwelling there for everlasting years, one fallen from Yoga reincarnates in the home of the pure and the prosperous. 41

p. 159

42. Or else he is born into a family of wise Yogis only; verily, a birth such as that is very rare to obtain in this world. 42

43. There he is united with the intelligence acquired in his former body, and strives more than before, for perfection, O son of the Kurus. 43

p. 160

44. By that previous practice alone, he is borne on in spite of himself. Even the enquirer after Yoga rises superior to the performer of Vedic actions. 44

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45. The Yogi, striving assiduously, purified of taint, gradually gaining perfection through many births, then reaches the highest goal.

46. The Yogi is regarded as superior to those who practise asceticism, also to those who have obtained wisdom (through the Shâstras). He is also superior to the performers of action, (enjoined in the Vedas). Therefore, be thou a Yogi, O Arjuna! 46

p. 162

47. And of all Yogis, he who with the inner self merged in Me, with Shraddhâ devotes himself to Me, is considered by Me the most steadfast. 47


The end of the sixth chapter, designated The Way of Meditation.


137:1 Bounden duty: Nityakarma.

Renouncer of action as well as of steadfast mind: Sannyâsi and Yogi.

Without fire: He that has renounced actions enjoined by the Vedas, requiring fire as adjunct, e.g., Agnihotra. p. 138

Without action: He who has renounced actions which do not require fire as adjunct, such as austerities and meritorious acts like digging wells etc.

138:2 Sankalpa—is the working of the imaging faculty, forming fancies, making plans and again brushing them aside, conceiving future results, starting afresh on a new line, leading to different issues, and so on and so forth. No one can be a Karma-Yogin or a devotee to action, who makes plans and wishes for the fruit of action.

139:3 Purification of the heart leading to concentration—Yoga. "For a Brâhmana there is no wealth like unto (the eye of) one-ness, (and) even-ness, trueness, refinement, steadiness, harmlessness, straightforwardness, and gradual withdrawal from all action."—Mahâbhârata, Shânti Parva. 175, 88.

139:4 Attained concentration: Yogârudha.

Renouncer of all Sankalpas: "O desire, I know where thy root lies: thou art born of Sankalpa. I p. 140 shall not think of thee, and thou shalt cease to exist, together with thy root." Mahâbhârata. Shânti Parva. 177, 25.

140:5 The self-conscious nature of man is here considered in two aspects as being both the object of spiritual uplift and the subject of spiritual uplift, the ego acted upon and the ego acting upon the former. This latter active principle or ego should be kept strong in its uplifting function, for it. is apt to turn an enemy, if it is not a friend, and the next verse explains the reason.

141:6 The self is the friend of one, in whom the aggregate of the body and the senses has been brought under control, and an enemy when such in not the case.

141:7 Hence he remains unruffled in pleasant and adverse environments.

142:8 Wisdom—Jnâna: knowledge of Shâstras. Realisation—Vijnâna: one's own experience of the teachings of Shâstras.

Changeless—like the anvil. Things are hammered and shaped on the anvil, but the anvil remains unchanged: in the same manner he is called Kutastha—whose heart remains unchanged though objects are present.

144:11 Arranged in consecution: that is,—the Kusha-grass arranged on the ground; above that, a tiger or deer skin, covered by a cloth.

144:13 Gazing at the tip of his nose,—could not be-literally meant here, because then the mind would be fixed only there, and not on the Self: when the eyes are half-closed in meditation, and the eye-balls are still, the gaze is directed, as it were, on the tip of the nose.

146:16 The Yoga-shâstra prescribes: "Half (the stomach) for food and condiments, the third (quarter) for water, and the fourth should be reserved for free motion of air."

149:20 Which is perceived . . . intellect: Which the purified intellect can grasp independently of the senses. When in meditation the mind is deeply concentrated, the senses do not function and are resolved into their cause,—that is, the mind; and when the latter is steady, so that there is only the intellect functioning, or in other words, cognition only exists, the indescribable Self is realised.

151:27 Brahman-become, i.e., one who has realised that all is Brahman.

Taint—of good and evil.

152:30 Separated, i.e., by time, space, or anything intervening.

153:31 Worships Me: realises Me as the Self of all.

Established in unity, i.e., having resolved all duality in the underlying unity.

153:32 Seeing that whatever is pleasure or pain to, himself, is alike pleasure or pain to all beings, he, the highest of Yogins, wishes good to all and evil to none,—he is always harmless and compassionate to all creatures.

154:34 p. 155 'Krishna,' is derived from 'Krish,' to scrape: Krishna is so called, because He scrapes or draws away all sins and other evils from His devotees.

155:35 Cf. Patanjali I. 12.

Practice: Earnest and repeated attempt to make the mind steady in its unmodified state of Pure Intelligence, by means of constant meditation upon the chosen Ideal.

Renunciation: Freedom from desire for any pleasures, seen or unseen, achieved by a constant perception of evil in them.

157:38 Fallen from both: That is, from both the paths of knowledge and action.

157:39 Since there can be no better teacher than the Omniscient Lord.

158:40 Tâta—son. A disciple is looked upon as a son; Arjuna is thus addressed having placed himself in the position of a disciple to Krishna.

158:41 Everlasting years—not absolutely, meaning a very long period.

159:42 Very rare: more difficult than the one mentioned in the preceding Sloka.

159:43 Intelligence—Samskâra: Store of experience in the shape of impressions and habits.

Strives . . . perfection: Strives more strenuously to attain to higher planes of realisation than those acquired in his former birth.

160:44 Borne on in spite of himself: carried to the goal of the course which he marked out for himself in his last incarnation, by the force of his former Samskâras, though he might be unconscious of them—or even unwilling to pursue it, owing to the interference of some untoward Karma.

Rises &c.: lit. goes beyond the Word-Brahman, i.e., the Vedas.

161:46 Wisdom: Knowledge from precepts, but not direct insight into the Divine Truth.

162:47 Of all Yogis &c.:—of all Yogis he who devotes himself to the All-pervading Infinite, is superior to those who devote themselves to the lesser ideals, or gods, such as Vasu, Rudra, Aditya, etc.

Next: Seventh Chapter. The Way of Knowledge with Realisation