Chapter 6

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that a sannyasi and a yogi are one, ?He who does his duty with no expectation of the fruit of action is at once a sannyasi and a yogi. O Arjuna, no one becomes a yogi who has not renounced his selfish purpose.? (6.1-2) Here Krishna describes the nature of a Yogi, ?A yogi has conquered his lower self and has attained the calm of self-mastery. He is at peace in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, in honour and dishonour. For him a clod, a stone, and a piece of gold are the same. He is equal-minded among friends, companions, and foes, among saints and sinners.? (6.5-9)

The disciplines that a yogi must undertake in order to realise the Supreme Self are specified by Sri Krishna. He also tells Arjuna for whom Yoga is meant. ?Arjuna, Yoga is neither for an epicure, nor for him who does not eat at all, neither for him who sleeps overmuch, nor for him who is endlessly awake.? (6.16-17) Krishna defines a perfect Yogi, ?O Arjuna, a yogi whether in pleasure or in pain, established in oneness, sees Me everywhere and sees all in Me and worships Me is considered a perfect yogi.?

Now Arjuna asks Krishna, ?How can one achieve evenness of mind when the mind is very difficult to control just like the wind?”

Krishna says, ?Without doubt, O Arjuna, the mind is restless and difficult to curb, but it can be controlled by constant practice and non-attachment.? (6.35) On hearing this Arjuna asks a very significant question, ?Though endowed with faith, a man who has failed to subdue his passion and whose mind is wandering away from Yoga (at the time of passing away) and who fails to attain perfection, that is, God-realisation, what fate does he meet with. Does he not meet with destruction like a rent cloud? He is deprived of both God-realisation and world-pleasure. His fate has deluded him in the path of Yoga. He has nowhere to go. He has nothing to stand upon.? (6.37-38)

Sri Krishna enlightens Arjuna thus, ?O Arjuna, no fall is there for him either in this world or in the world beyond. The path of woe is not for him who does good and who strives for self-realisation.? (6.40) Krishna also says that he who falls from the path of Yoga in this life enters into a blessed and hallowed house in his next life to continue his spiritual journey. He regains all the spiritual progress he had made in the previous incarnation, and with this as the starting point he strives again for perfection.


(The following English translation is taken from ‘A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy’ Edited by S. Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore. 1957 Princeton University Press)

Chapter 6 : The True Yoga

Renunciation and action are one

The Blessed Lord said:
1. He who does the work which he ought to do without seeking its fruit is the sannyasin [renouncer], he is the yogin, not he who does not light the sacred fire, and performs no rites.

2. What they call renunciation, that know to be disciplined activity, 0 Pandava (Arjuna), for no one becomes a yogin who has not renounced his selfish purpose.

The pathway and the goal

3. Work is said to be the means of the sage who wishes to attain to yoga; when he has attained to yoga, serenity is said to be the means.

4. When one does not get attached to the objects of sense or to works, and has renounced all purposes, then he is said to have attained to yoga.

5. Let a man lift himself by himself; let him not degrade himself; for the Self alone is the friend of the self and the Self alone is the enemy of the self.

6. For him who has conquered his [lower] self by the [higher] Self his Self is a friend, but for him who has not possessed his [higher] Self, his very Self will act in enmity, like an enemy.

7. When one has conquered one’s [lower] self and has attained to the calm of self-mastery, his Supreme Self abides ever concentrate:* he is at peace in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, in honour and dishonour.

8. The ascetic (yogi) whose soul is satisfied with wisdom and knowledge, who is unchanging and master of his senses, to whom a clod, a stone, and a piece of gold are the same, is said to be controlled [in yoga].

9. He who is equal-minded among friends, companions, and foes, among those who are neutral and impartial, among those who are hateful and related, among saints and sinners-he excels.

Eternal vigilance over body and mind is essential

10. Let the yogin try constantly to concentrate his mind [on the Supreme Self] remaining in solitude and alone, self-controlled, free from desires, and longing for possessions.

11. He should set in a clean place his firm seat, neither too high nor too low, covered with sacred grass, a deerskin, and a cloth, one over the other.

12. There taking his place on the seat, making his mind one pointed, and controlling his thought and sense, let him practise yoga for the purification of the self**.

13. Holding the body, head, and neck erect and still, looking fixedly at the tip of his nose, without looking around [without allowing his eyes to wander].

14. Serene and fearless, firm in the vow of celibacy, subdued in mind, let him sit, harmonized, his mind turned to Me and intent on Me alone.

15. The yogin of subdued mind, ever keeping himself thus harmonized, attains to peace, the supreme nirvana, which abides in Me.

16. Verily, yoga is not for him who cats too much or abstains too much from eating. It is not for him, 0 Arjuna, who sleeps too much or keeps awake too much.

17. For the man who is temperate in food and recreation, who is restrained in his actions, whose sleep and waking are regulated, there ensues discipline (yoga) which destroys all sorrow.

The perfect yogi [yogi, or yogin]

18. When the disciplined mind is established in the Self alone, liberated from all desires, then is he said to be harmonized [in yoga].

19. As a lamp in a windless place flickereth not, to such is likened the yogi of subdued thought who practises union with the Self [or discipline of himself].

20. That in which thought is at rest, restrained by the practice of concentration, that in which he beholds the Self through the self and rejoices in the Self,

21. That in which he finds this supreme delight, perceived by the intelligence and beyond the reach of the senses, wherein established, he no longer falls away from the truth,

22. That, on gaining which he thinks that there is no greater gain beyond it, wherein established he is not shaken even by the heaviest sorrow

23. Let that be known by the name of yoga, this disconnection from union with pain. This yoga should be practised with determination, with heart undismayed.

24. Abandoning without exception all desires born of [selfish] will, restraining with the mind all the senses on every side,

25. Let him gain, little by little, tranquillity by means of reason controlled by steadiness, and, having fixed the mind on the Self, let him not think of anything else.

26. Whatsoever makes the wavering and unsteady mind wander away let him restrain and bring it back to the control of the Self alone,

27. For supreme happiness comes to the yogin whose mind is peaceful, whose passions are at rest, who is stainless and has become one with God.

28. Thus making the self ever harmonized, the yogin, who has put away sin, experiences easily the infinite bliss of contact with the Eternal.

29. He whose self is harmonized by yoga sees the Self abiding in all beings and all beings in the Self; everywhere he sees the same.

30. He who sees Me everywhere and sees all in Me-I am not lost to him nor is he lost to Me.

31. The yogin who, established in oneness, worships Me abiding in all beings lives in Me, howsoever he may be active,

32. He, 0 Arjuna, who sees with equality everything, in the image of his own self, whether in pleasure or in pain-he is considered a perfect yogi.

Control of mind is difficult but possible

Arjuna said:
33. This yoga declared by you to be of the nature of equality [evenness of mind], 0 Madhusudana (Krsna), I see no stable foundation for, on account of restlessness,

34. For the mind is verily fickle, 0 Krsna; it is impetuous, strong, and obstinate. I think that it is as difficult to control as the wind.

The Blessed Lord said:
35. Without doubt, 0 Mighty-armed (Arjuna), the mind is difficult to curb and restless, but it can be controlled, 0 Son of Kunti (Arjuna), by constant practice and non-attachment.

36. Yoga is hard to attain, I agree, by one who is not self-controlled; but by the self-controlled it is attainable by striving through proper means.

Arjuna said:

37. He who cannot control himself though he has faith, with the mind wandering away from yoga, failing to attain perfection in yoga -what way does he go, 0 Krsna?

38. Does he not perish like a rent cloud, 0 Mighty-armed (Krsna), fallen from both and without any hold and bewildered in the path that leads to the Eternal?

39. Thou shouldst dispel completely this, my doubt, 0 Krsna, for there is none else than Thyself who can destroy this doubt.

The Blessed Lord said:

40. 0, Partha (Arjuna), neither in this life nor hereafter is there destruction for him, for never does any one who does good, dear friend, tread the path of woe.

41. Having attained to the world of the righteous and dwelt there for very many years, the man who has fallen away from yoga is again born in the house of such as are pure and prosperous.

42. Or he may be born in the family of yogins who are endowed with wisdom. For such a birth as this is more difficult to obtain in the world.

43. There he regains the mental impressions of union [with the Divine] which he had developed in his previous life, and with this [as the starting point] he strives again for perfection, 0 Joy of the Kurus (Arjuna).

44. By his former practice, he is carried on irresistibly. Even the seeker after the knowledge of yoga goes beyond the Vedic rule.

45. But the yogi who strives with assiduity, cleansed of all sins, perfecting himself through many lives, then attains to the highest goal.

The perfect yogi

46. The yogin is greater than the ascetic; he is considered to be greater than the man of knowledge, greater than the man of ritual works; therefore, do thou become a yogin, 0 Arjuna.

47. And of all yogins, he who full of faith worships Me, with his inner self abiding in me,-him I hold to be the most attuned to me [in yoga].


This is the sixth chapter, entided ?The Yoga of Meditation.?

* That is, established in itself, self-established.

** ?Yoga? here means dhyana-yoga, meditation