Bhagavad-gita As It Is – Macmillan 1972 Edition – 06 – Sankhya-yoga

Updated : Sep 13, 2019 in Articles

Bhagavad-gita As It Is – Macmillan 1972 Edition – 06 – Sankhya-yoga


The Blessed Lord said: One who is unattached
to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order
of life, and he is the true mystic: not he who lights no fire and performs no work.
What is called renunciation is the same as yoga, or linking oneself with the Supreme,
for no one can become a yogi unless he renounces the desire for sense gratification.
For one who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work is said to be the means;
and for one who has already attained to yoga, cessation of all material activities is said
to be the means. A person is said to have attained to yoga
when, having renounced all material desires, he neither acts for sense gratification nor
engages in fruitive activities. A man must elevate himself by his own mind,
not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as
well. For him who has conquered the mind, the mind
is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the
greatest enemy. For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul
is already reached, for he has attained tranquility. To such a man happiness and distress, heat
and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same. A person is said to be established in self-realization
and is called a yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge
and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He
sees everything–whether it be pebbles, stones or gold–as the same.
A person is said to be still further advanced when he regards all–the honest well-wisher,
friends and enemies, the envious, the pious, the sinner and those who are indifferent and
impartial–with an equal mind. A transcendentalist should always try to concentrate
his mind on the Supreme Self; he should live alone in a secluded place and should always
carefully control his mind. He should be free from desires and feelings of possessiveness.
To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kuśa-grass on the ground
and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should neither be too high
nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very
firmly and should practice yoga by controlling the mind and the senses, purifying the heart
and fixing the mind on one point. One should hold one’s body, neck and head
erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus with an unagitated,
subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me
within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.
Thus practicing control of the body, mind and activities, the mystic transcendentalist
attains to the kingdom of God [or the abode of Kṛṣṇa] by cessation of material existence.
There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much, or
eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.
He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate
all material pains by practicing the yoga system.
When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated
in Transcendence–devoid of all material desires–he is said to have attained yoga.
As a lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the transcendentalist, whose mind is controlled,
remains always steady in his meditation on the transcendent Self.
The stage of perfection is called trance, or samādhi, when one’s mind is completely
restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This is characterized
by one’s ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self.
In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness and enjoys himself
through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and
upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one
is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom
from all miseries arising from material contact. One should engage oneself in the practice
of yoga with undeviating determination and faith. One should abandon, without exception,
all material desires born of false ego and thus control all the senses on all sides by
the mind. Gradually, step by step, with full conviction,
one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence, and thus the mind should
be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.
From whatever and wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature,
one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.
The yogi whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the highest happiness. By virtue of
his identity with Brahman, he is liberated; his mind is peaceful, his passions are quieted,
and he is freed from sin. Steady in the Self, being freed from all material
contamination, the yogi achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in touch with
the Supreme Consciousness. A true yogi observes Me in all beings, and
also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized man sees Me everywhere.
For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost
to Me. The yogi who knows that I and the Supersoul
within all creatures are one worships Me and remains always in Me in all circumstances.
He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all
beings, both in their happiness and distress, O Arjuna!
Arjuna said: O Madhusūdana, the system of yoga which you have summarized appears impractical
and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.
For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Kṛṣṇa, and to subdue it
is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind.
The Blessed Lord said: O mighty-armed son of Kuntī, it is undoubtedly very difficult
to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by constant practice and by detachment.
For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled
and who strives by right means is assured of success. That is My opinion.
Arjuna said: What is the destination of the man of faith who does not persevere, who in
the beginning takes to the process of self-realization but who later desists due to worldly-mindedness
and thus does not attain perfection in mysticism? O mighty-armed Kṛṣṇa, does not such a man,
being deviated from the path of Transcendence, perish like a riven cloud, with no position
in any sphere? This is my doubt O Kṛṣṇa, and I ask You to
dispel it completely. But for Yourself, no one is to be found who can destroy this doubt.
The Blessed Lord said: Son of Pṛthā, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not
meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good,
My friend, is never overcome by evil. The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years
of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous
people, or into a family of rich aristocracy. Or he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists
who are surely great in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is rare in this world.
On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine consciousness of his previous life,
and he tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted
to the yogic principles–even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist,
striving for yoga, stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.
But when the yogi engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being
washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, after many, many births of practice, he attains
the supreme goal. A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater
than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances,
be a yogi. And of all yogis, he who always abides in
Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united
with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.

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