The Way of Meditation – Gita VI

The Way of Meditation – Gita VI

Man, to succeed in life, excluding the external factors beyond his control, from his individual self, need to have co-operation from his body, mind, intellect, ego and consciousness. When any one of these are out of control, then energies are frittered away and then one has to concentrate and work to bring the energies that are off under control. Of these mind is challenging. It controls the sense organs and when not in tune is controlled by sense organs. It often flirts from one subject to another thereby hampering focus which is essential for any action to succeed.  In this chapter 6 of Gita, Krishna shows the way of bringing mind under control by Meditation, the techniques there off and how this meditation is likely to lead one to freedom.

Krishna elucidates, the qualities of a meditator/yogi, the ideal physical environment for meditation, the food, attitude, practice requirements for meditation , for if any one of these is not ideal one is likely to be disturbed and  concentration becomes difficult. And ends it up with importance of meditation and the benefits there off. There by in this chapter Krishna shows us the way for our emancipation through the practice of meditation.

Let the man be lifted by his own self:

Man is his best friend and worst enemy. Self help is the best help. A man’s own self, and his discriminative knowledge is the only friend. Any external object, event, person that one gets attached creates attachment and bondage. But the man who has not control over himself, his self injures him, like any external enemy and for such a person there is no need for an external enemy. He who has conquered himself and is serene in mind is constantly absorbed in supreme self, alike both in heat and cold, pleasure and pain, in honour and dishonor is wise. Yoga of meditation helps man to uplift himself and one who accomplishes meditation becomes a Yogi.

Qualities of a Yogi:

Yogi is one whose heart, through knowledge and realization, is filled with satisfaction, who having conquered his senses, never vacillates, and to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are the same.  Yogi is one who has equal regard for well-wishers, friends and foes; for those who are related or indifferent to him, for the impartial and the malicious and even for the righteous and sinful. Now how does one get to that state of inner poise.

Way of Meditation

For some people meditation happens naturally. They can sit, pull their senses away from external objects, quieten the mind and turn consciousness inward with least resistance. Such people are also able to function effectively in the outer world.  They are able to organize their life, have purposeful life and carry calm demeanor not impacted by the happening around them. They can renounce their thoughts -all thoughts of imagination, planning for future and dreaming and be in the here, now.  Such a person is called Yogi.  Others need practice.

For meditation to happen one should always try to concentrate his mind, retiring into solitude and living alone, having subdued his mind and body and got rid of his desires and possessions. He must purify the mind the of past impression, agitations, ego-centrism and integrate the mind.

The Seat: In a clean spot having fixed his seat, a firm seat that is neither too high nor too low and being comfortable and sitting there, restraining the activities of his mind and senses and bringing his thoughts to a point, he should practice yoga for the purification of the self.

The posture: one should sit firm, holding his body, neck and head erect and still, and gaze steadily at the tip of his nose without looking around. When the eyes are withdrawn from sense objects, the mind becomes steady and the eye balls are still and the gaze is directed as it were to the tip of the nose. His breathing has to be measured.

Serene and fearless, chaste and celibate, with disciplined mind thinking of Brahman creator he has to meditate.

The Food: Yoga is for one who neither eats too much nor for him who eats too little. It is not for one who sleeps too much nor for him who sleeps too little. It is for one who maintains moderation in eating, sleeping and in every activity, he undertakes. Simply put no extremes. Body well provided for and under control. When that happens the bodily disturbances and distractions disappear and so also the thoughts of presence or absence of body.

Controlling the Mind: Mind by nature is restless and difficult to control. It is a friend if one has controlled it, else it is one’s enemy. The uncontrolled mind runs behind the pull of sense objects. Controlling one’s mind is the first step towards one’ release and not easy.  However, this can be achieved by practice and by detachment. Austerity, continence, discrimination and faith are also helpful. And last but not least one should persevere despite failures for control of mind being difficult is not likely to happen in the very first attempt or few attempts. So persistence is imperative.  An understanding that sensory enjoyments are likely to lead one to short time happiness with another side being pain and sorrow effort must the taken to detach oneself from engaging in excess of sensory pleasures and entertainment.

Success in Yoga –  When the well controlled mind practices meditation, resting on self, free from longing for objects – seen or unseen, belonging to this world or the next, then one is said to have attained yoga.  Yoga is not possible for one who cannot control himself. And the test of Yoga’s validity lies in one’s seeing results through actual experimentation.  Thus by practice alone can one attain Yoga. And the path being difficult, if one fails in his path, he would still be benefited. For having tried, the knowledge stays with him.  And by virtue of his practice he can take it up from there towards perfection anytime in this life or here after.

Benefits of yoga of Meditation – Yoga is a unique state of self-realization. When meditation is practiced thus, with subdued mind, one attains the peace and subsequently freedom and bliss. The mind is completely tranquil, passions are quieted, free from stress and strains and becomes one with Brahman.

In deep meditation sense object are pulled in and merge with mind. With mind also rested and calmed becomes steady. In that state cognition alone functions and that is when self is realized. When mind is under control, focused, calm, seeing the real self one experiences boundless joy that is beyond the sensory perception can bring in. One is able to go beyond pain, transcends sorrows. As a result of this realization of Brahman and oneness with Brahmans, one attains a state where he is able to see himself in every one and in everything and vice versa. He realizes Unity, Brahman and oneness with Brahman. The result of this knowledge is liberation.

Thus is the way of Meditation, imparted by Krishna in sixth chapter of Bhagavad Gita.




To Work or Not to Work –  Gita Chapter V

The Way of Renunciation

The chapter starts with Arjuna asking Krishna – Tell me clearly, what is better, Work or renunciation of work.  For in the previous discussion, Krishna has advised Arjuna that work is the way to go, Knowledge is the way to freedom and renunciation of action is ultimate . This has again raised question in the minds of Arjuna. Hence is this question.

Action Or Renunciation of Action – Divergent paths with same goal

Way of action and renunciation of action both lead to happiness, they lead to different path in life, but of the two, work is better than renunciation. Both has to be practiced serially, for first Karma yoga clarifies one’s understanding, illuminates intellect and thus paves way for contemplation and meditation through which only the final experience is achieved. Knowledge is possible with action. Right actions help in self-discovery. To renounce first one must experience the world, experience the life. Renouncing without experience would lead to exhaustion. Life of renunciation because of inability to get something, failures or forced is not true renunciation. Thus only mind that has experienced, only one who has performed active work can let go intelligently. It is like been there, seen it, done that and now I am happy, fulfilled and in such a state letting go happens naturally.

Who is a Renunciate

Krishna portraits the picture of renunciate as – the one who is engrossed in effort, with senses controlled, calm and focused mind, victorious in self, understanding self in all and all in self. This is because one who has well developed intellect, who has honed his work, who understands the purpose and process of work, works in desire-less state only is capable of working in controlled and competent way. For him emotions are also under control. For such person work becomes child’s play and meditative state is automatic. Thus having mastered his mind renunciation becomes easy and a natural state.

Work Intelligently

Like how one is not aware of the involuntary acts of the body, when ego is surpassed, all conscious work also becomes instinctive. Despite being engaged in action, one moves with the mind that I am not doing anything. Krishna counsels us to live the life with intelligent detachment. Rather than detaching ourselves completely from work or doer-ship, which is difficult, for is not possible for human mind, the direction here is for one to engage in this world of ours, yet to stay detached from or work in areas not prompted from ones likes and dislikes and desired state. When work is performed thus it is transformed from mere Karma to Karma-Yoga. Thus, having abandoned attachment, the wise man performs work by using body, senses, mind and intellect and purifies himself. Contrary to the one who works, still impelled by mind, intellect, body and senses, attached to results of one’s action, the wise man performs desire less action with detached mindset and having no expectation of fruits of action. He is able to achieve peace,  becomes well poised and unrestricted. He is able to acquire a degree of self control and is happy.

What is Sanyas

Sanyas or renunciation is not just forced withdrawal from actions, a mere physical escapism but mental withdrawal from thing that are unintelligent and wasteful. It is a mental attitude and not a mere external symbol by way of dress, color or dress, hair style, food and the variants of it. it is not running away from life and its challenges.  Sanyas is for one or Sanyasi is one who has his ego and desire under control, performs his duty as per his stage of life intelligently and lives a life of happiness, joy, peaceful and contentment.

Knowledge and Ignorance

Work in outer field intelligently. The world is run by nature. As long as ignorance is there, knowledge has no place and once the veil of ignorance is removed knowledge shines. Ignorance creates egocentricity and with the removal of ignorance egocentric lifestyle is stopped.  And with the end of ego, self becomes aware of its grandeur. One comes to recognize the divinity everywhere, oneness of everything and everyone. That the distinctions in the outer world of names and forms are temporary phenomenon. He understands that Brahman, nature, consciousness, god head whatever name one proposes to call it by is all pervading and homogeneous. Everything happens in it yet nothing happens to it.

Thus, for an individual who is identified with his body, it is changing factor and he comes identified with every passing phenomenon except for the fact that the eternal self, the substratum, the atman remains the same under all circumstances. Thus an individual who comes to be aware of this has sufficient amount of tranquility in him and nothing happening around him can disturb him and is able maintain equi-poise under all conditions. Therefore the man of perfection is neither grieved when unpleasant things happen and nor exuberant when pleasant and favorable circumstances arise. He is not affected by pleasant and unpleasant, holds his intellect steady and in him all delusions have ended. And he comes to “know Brahman” and knowing Braham he becomes Brahman.

Why Equanimity

Krishna also answers the question, what use is this equanimity where one is expected not to rejoice nor to wallow in sorrow. why control or withdraw senses from external objects. To what purpose should one forsake enjoyment.

Pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin. When one is full of desires, starts any activity, or even in our ordinary course of life, obstacles are bound to arise mid-course. Accidents do happen and all sorts of problems like loss of job, loss of loved one, failures in study do occur. When that arises, ordinary man reacts in anger, fear, despair, dejection and sorrow which then more often is likely to derail him further from his course of action. He has to then come out, calm and compose the mind, collect oneself together again, think intelligently, course correct and start again. If he wins he is happy and rejoices. Thus he alternates from sorrow and joy, moves from activity to activity. Instead if he is able maintain equanimity he reaches an inner calm, peace and joy unaffected by the results of action which is more permanent than temporary. He is able to withdraw himself from outer objects and enjoy the inner bliss laying foundation for contemplation.

Thus work intelligently such that renunciation becomes automatic.