Essence of SrI bhagavath gIthA – Chapter 6 (abhyAsa yOga)

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Essence of SrI bhagavath gIthA

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In the tenth SlOkam of gIthArtha sangraham, ALavandhAr explains the summary of sixth chapter saying “In the sixth chapter the method to practice yOgam (which leads to Athma sAkshAthkAram – self realization), four types of yogis, the exercise, detachment, etc., which leads to such yOgam and the greatness of bhakthi yOgam towards himself [krishNa] are spoken”.

Important SlOkams/Verses

SlOkam/Verse 1

SrI bhagavAn uvAcha
anASritha: karmapalam kAryam karma karOthi ya: |
sa sanyAsI cha yOgI cha na niragnir na chAkriya: ||

One who performs karma yOga exclusively with the intention of performing that practice, not holding on to the result of karma (actions) such as svarga (heaven) etc, remains a gyAna yOga nishta (practitioner); he also remains a karma yOga nishta (practitioner); neither is he aloof from karmas (actions) such as yagya etc which invoke fire nor is he exclusive gyAna nishta (one who is focussed on pursuit of knowledge exclusively without adequate actions).

Note: In the first nine SlOkams, krishNa again explains karma yOga which includes gyAna also, in detail.

SlOkam/Verse 5

udhdharEth AthmanAthmAnam nAthmAnamavasAdhayEth |
Athmaiva hyAthmano bandhur Athmaiva ripur Athmana: ||

Let one elevate oneself with the mind (which is detached from worldly pleasures);  let one not push oneself down with the mind which is attached to worldly pleasures; mind alone is one’s relative/friend (when detached from worldly pleasures) and enemy (when attached to worldly pleasures) as well.

Note: The importance of mind in elevating oneself is highlighted here.

SlOkam/Verse 10

yOgI yunjItha sathatham AthmAnam rahasi sthitha: |
EkAkI yathachiththAthmA nirASIr aparigraha: ||

Such karma yOgi, every day, at specific times set aside for yOga, being alone in a secluded place, having control over the wandering mind, being desireless, without the thought of belongingness (in such aspects), will engage in meditating and seeing the self.

Note: From the 10th SlOkam to 28th SlOkam, krishNa explains the method of performing yOga.

SlOkam/Verse 11

Suchau dhESE prathishtApya sthiram Asanam Athmana: |
nAthyuchchritham nAthinIcham chElAjinakuSOththaram ||

One should firmly establish a seat which is firm (made of out wood etc), placed neither too high nor too low, with silk cloth, deer skin and kuSa (dharba) grass placed on top of each other [in reverse order – i.e., first grass on the seat, deer skin on top of that and silk cloth on top of the deer skin] in a pure place for oneself.

SlOkam/Verse 12

thathraikAgram mana: kruthvA yathachiththEndhriyakriya: |
upaviSyAsanE yunjyAth yOgam AthmaviSudhdhayE ||

Being seated on that seat [explained in previous SlOkam], one should have his/her mind single-focussed, controlling actions of mind and senses, and should engage in having the vision of self, to be freed from bondage [in this material realm].

Note: In the 13th SlOkam, body posture and eyes focussing on the tip of the nose are explained. In the 14th SlOkam, brahmacharya (celibacy) is explained. Giving up attachment towards sensual pleasures is to be understood as brahmacharya. In the 15th SlOkam, those who perform yOga in this manner will attain self-realisation, is explained. In the 16th and 17th SlOkams, regulated food habits and sleeping habits are emphasised. Subsequently, giving up possessiveness is explained.

SlOkam/Verse 29

sarvabhUthastham AthmAnam sarvabhUthAni chAthmani |
IkshathE yOgayukthAthmA sarvathra samadharSana: ||

One whose heart is engaged in yOga practice, seeing the state of sameness (of having gyAnam (knowledge), Anandham (bliss) etc as identity) in all AthmAs (AthmA which is not connected to matter), sees self as having same nature as all AthmAs and all AthmAs as having same nature as self.

Note: Equal vision of all AthmAs is emphasised. From this SlOkam, in 4 SlOkams, the four types of yOgis are explained.

SlOkam/Verse 32

AthmaupamyEna sarvathra samam paSyathi yO’rjuna |
sukham vA yadhi vA du:kham sa yOgI paramO matha: ||

Oh arjuna! Everywhere, as the AthmAs have equality (as explained previously), whosoever sees equally the joy (of giving birth to a child etc) and sorrow (of losing a child to death etc) in self and others, that yOgi is considered to be superior.

In the next 2 SlOkams, arjuna informs krishNa about the difficulty in controlling the mind, which is even more difficult that controlling wind.

SlOkam/Verse 35

SrI bhagavAn uvAcha
asamSayam mahAbAhO manO dhurnigraham chalam |
abhyAsEna thu kaunthEya vairAgyEṇa cha gruhyathE ||

krishNa responds:

Oh mighty armed! Oh son of kunthI! There is no doubt that it is difficult to control a wavering mind; still, by practicing (in AthmaguNams – focussing on AthmA) and developing aversion (in worldly matters by showing their defects), it is controlled (to some extent).

Note: In the 35th and 36th SlOkams, krishNa explains how mind is to be controlled by practice.

In the next 3 SlOkams, arjuna asks about the fate of the one who commenced engaging in yOga but failed before completing it.

From the 40th SlOkam, krishNa gives the answer for the questions raised previously. He explains that such persons will be born in favourable families to continue pursuing the yOga from where they left it.

SlOkam/Verse 47

yOginAmapi sarvEshAm madhgathEnAntharAthmanA |
SradhdhAvAn bhajathE yO mAm sa mE yukthathamO matha: ||

One who has his heart engaged in me, has the desire to reach me and meditates upon me is considered as the greatest by me as he is greater than the previously mentioned yOgis and all others such as thapasvis (those who are engaged in penance).

Note: krishNa concludes that one who is constantly devoted to him is the best among the yOgis.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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