We have seen Sri Bhagvan describing the process of meditation. He continues the discussion in the following verses pointing out that the controlled mind remains peaceful and explaining the process by which the seeker can gain the experience of the Essential Self through such disciplined mind. By training the mind, one must give up its preoccupation with the world and direct it to the Self within and make it introvert. As soon as the mind tastes the bliss of the Self it will realize that there is no greater enjoyment. Being established therein, even the greatest of the sorrows in the world cannot disturb its equanimity and peace. One practices that Yoga (union with the Self) through complete control of the senses and the thought flow which are the source-point of all desires. This sets the stage for practicing meditation and the realization of the Self.
The mind in the state of meditation thinks of the Self. The intellect holds the mind single pointedly upon the Self without allowing it to slip into any other thought. Whenever the mind wanders away the intellect brings it back through supervision and control. By maintaining single pointed thought of the Self, the mind becomes absolutely tranquil and quiet. The Jnani then experiences the infinite bliss of Brahman. Thereafter, he sees the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self. He sees the Supreme Being everywhere.
When he heard the exposition on how to discipline and control the mind, Arjuna raises a doubt as to whether the mind is such a thing which can be controlled at all. He wonders how the mind, a restless, turbulent, strong and obstinate entity, can be brought under control. And even if forcefully brought under control, how can the mind continue to remain steady and calm? Krishna assures Arjuna that the intellect can control the mind through sustained practice and dispassion.
Arjuna wonders as to what will happen to a seeker and his efforts if he fails to attain Self-realization in his lifetime. Will he not be denied the benefits of both the material and spiritual worlds? Krishna allays Arjuna’s logical and natural concern and assures him that no seeker falling short of Realization in his life time will ever suffer either here or hereafter. Such a person will gain a heavenly bliss and reincarnate in a pure and pious home or in a family of wise yogis, which will provide him with an ideal environment for pursuing spiritual goal of Realization in his new life. Therefore, Krishna advises Arjuna to practice yoga with devotion and determination until he merges with the Supreme Brahman.
WHO IS A YOGI
yadaa viniyatam chittamaatmanyevavatishthate
nihsprihah sarvakaamebhyo yukta ityuchyate tadaa // 6.18 //
When the well-controlled mind rests in the Self alone, free from longing for objects of desires, then one is said to have attained yoga.
When the mind is completely under control it rests peacefully in the Self alone. Uncontrolled mind is the one which wanders in search of satisfaction among the sense objects. To make the mind withdraw from its nomadic nature for contemplating continuously on the Self, which is the substratum that illumines all perceptions and experiences, one has to make it free from desires. While desires by themselves are not unhealthy, Gita advises us to renounce our cravings for all objects of desires seen or unseen, belonging to this world or the next.
When the mind is withdrawn from sense objects, it becomes capable of contemplating on the Self as it is free from agitations. The finite and limited sense objects disturb the mind, while the unlimited and infinite Self brings peace and joy to it. This condition of replacing sense oriented thoughts with contemplation on the Self is called steadfastness. The steadfast mind of a Yogi is described in the next verse.
yathaa deepo nivaatastho nengate sopamaa smritaa
yogino yatachittasya yunjato yogamaatmanah // 6.19 //
“Like a lamp kept in a windless place which does not flicker” - that is the figure (used by the wise) for the disciplined mind of a yogi practicing concentration on the Self.
Mind is as unstable as a flickering flame of a lamp. But when the same mind is made to concentrate in the Self by the meditator its vacillations and wanderings are stopped. It becomes brilliant just as a flickering lamp when placed in a windless spot.
yatroparamate chittam niruddham yogasevayaa
yatra chaivaatmanaatmaanam pashyannaatmani tushyati // 6.20 //
When the mind, restrained by the practice of yoga, attains quietitude and when seeing the Self by the self, he is rejoiced in his own Self.
sukhamaatyantikam yattad buddhi graahyamateendriyam
vetti yatra na chaivaayam sthitashchalati tattwatah // 6.21 //
When he (the Yogi) feels that Infinite bliss - which can be grasped by the (pure) intellect and which transcends the senses, wherein established, he never moves from the Reality.
yam labdhwaa chaaparam laabham manyate naadhikam tatah
yasminsthito na duhkhena gurunaapi vichaalyate // 6.22 //
Which having obtained, he thinks there is no other gain superior to it; wherein established, he is not moved even by the heaviest of sorrows -
tam vidyaad duhkhasamyogaviyogam yogasamjnitam
sa nishchayena yoktavyo yogo'nirvinna chetasaa // 6.23 //
Let that be known as Yoga which is severance from the contact of pain. This yoga should be practiced with perseverance and with an undaunted mind.
All these four Verses (20 - 23) should be taken together which give a complete picture of Yoga and explain the stages that a Yogi passes through whose mind has become single pointed by meditation. They end with a call given by The Lord to all mankind to practice this Yoga of Meditation and self development.
The goal of the meditator is attaining serene quietitude when his mind becomes completely restrained and gains an experience of the Self, not as an entity separate from himself but as his own true nature. This self discovery of the mind is nothing other than the process by which ego's identification with body, mind and intellect is replaced by the principle of Divine Consciousness. The experience of the self is an enduring state from which there is no return.
Sri Krishna says that having gained this Infinite Bliss; no one can come to the worldly sorrows and feel the urge to go after the worldly objects and pursuits. The Yogi who attained the state of Supreme Truth will consider no other gain as equal to it and worth comparable. Thus Sri Krishna defines Yoga as a state of “DISUNION FROM EVERY UNION WITH PAIN”.
The term yoga means contact. Man is always in contact with finite worldly objects through the instruments of body, mind and intellect and gets finite joy only. When this temporary joy ends on account of the cessation of the instrumentality of the senses, sorrow begins. Therefore it is said that life through these matter instruments is called the life of union-with-pain.
Detachment from this union is the process in which we disassociate ourselves from the fields of objects and their experiences. As mind cannot exist without any attachment, once it is detached from the unreal and pain giving world of objects, it has to get itself attached to the Real and Permanent Bliss, which is called meditation. In deep meditation, the senses do not function; they are resolved into their cause i.e. the mind. And when the mind becomes steady and cognition alone functions, then the indescribable Self is realized.
Thus Yoga is nothing but a man's renunciation of contacts with sorrows and turning towards Bliss which is his real nature. Sri Krishna says that this Yoga is to be practiced with an eager and decisive mind. Success in meditation is possible only when it is carried out with firm conviction, perseverance and an un-despairing heart as the Yoga or connection with the Real can be gained only with Viyoga or disconnection from the Unreal. There should be no relaxation of effort even though there is no quick result and the practice appears difficult. If living among the finite objects with its limited joys is sorrow, then to get away from it all is to enter the realm of Bliss which is the Self. This is Yoga.
Patanjali Yoga Sutras declare that the root of sorrow in the form of repeated births and deaths lies in the contact between the subject and the object or in the liaison due to ignorance between the soul and the objective world. With the termination of this contact, sorrows and sufferings also come to an end for all time.
Patanjali says “The great sorrow in the form of future births and deaths is called ‘Heya’- that which ought to be avoided (2.16). The cause of ‘Heya’ or suffering is the contact between the subject and the object (2.17). Ignorance is the root of that contact (2.24). The termination of that contact between the subject and the object through the eradication of the ignorance is known as ‘Hana’ - shutting out the ‘Heya’. This represents the aloofness of the subject - Kaivalya (2.25)
This state of God realization is termed ‘Yoga’ in the Gita. Further instructions on yoga are continued in the following verses.