Publisher’s Note: The translation of the Gita presented here was compiled mainly from Sri Aurobindo’s“Essays on the Gita”. It first appeared in “The Message of the Gita”, edited by Anilbaran Roy, in 1938. Sri Aurobindo approved this book for publication; however, he made it clear in one of his letters that the translations in the Essays were “more explanatory than textually precise or cast in a literary style”. Many of them are paraphrases rather than strict translations.
Sri Aurobindo also wrote that he did not wish extracts from the Essays “to go out as my translation of the Gita”. This should be borne in mind by the reader as he makes use of this translation, which has been provided as a bridge between the Gita and Sri Aurobindo’s Essays.
1. The Blessed Lord said: Whoever does the work to be done without resort to its fruits, he is the Sannyasin and the Yogin, not the man who lights not the sacrificial fire and does not the works.
2. What they have called renunciation (Sannyasa), know to be in truth Yoga, O Pandava; for none becomes a Yogin who has not renounced the desire-will in the mind.
3. For a sage who is ascending the hill of Yoga, action is the cause; for the same sage when he has got to the top of Yoga self-mastery is the cause.
4. When one does not get attached to the objects of sense or to works and has renounced all will of desire in the mind. then is he said to have ascended to the top of Yoga.
5. By the self thou shouldst deliver the self, thou shouldst not depress and cast down the self (whether by self-indulgence or suppression); for the self is the friend of the self and the self is the enemy.
6. To the man is his self a friend in whom the (lower) self has been conquered by the (higher) self, but to him who is not in possession of his (higher) self, the (lower) self is as if an enemy and it acts as an enemy.
7. When one has conquered one’s self and attained to the calm of a perfect self-mastery and self-possession, then is the supreme self in a man founded and poised (even in his outwardly conscious human being) in cold and heat, pleasure and pain as well as in honour and dishonour.
8. The Yogin, who is satisfied with self-knowledge, tranquil and self-poised, master of his senses, regarding alike clod and stone and gold, is said to be in Yoga.
9. He who is equal in soul to friend and enemy and to neutral and indifferent, also to sinner and saint, he excels.
10. Let the Yogin practise continually union with the Self (so that that may become his normal consciousness) sitting apart and alone, with all desire and idea of possession banished from his mind, self-controlled in his whole being and consciousness.
11-12. He should set in a pure spot his firm seat, neither too high, nor yet too low, covered with a cloth, with a deer skin, with sacred grass, and there seated with a concentrated mind and with the workings of the mental consciousness and the senses under control, he should practise Yoga for self-purification.
13-14. Holding the body, head and neck erect, motionless (the posture proper to the practice of Rajayoga), the vision drawn in and fixed between the eyebrows, not regarding the regions, the mind kept calm and free from fear and the vow of Brahmacharya observed, the whole controlled mentality turned to Me (the Divine), he must sit firm in Yoga, wholly given up to Me (so that the lower action of the consciousness shall be merged in the higher peace).
15. Thus always putting himself in Yoga by control of his mind, the Yogin attains to the supreme peace of Nirvana which has its foundation in Me.
16. Verily this Yoga is not for him who eats too much or sleeps too much, even as it is not for him who gives up sleep and food, O Arjuna.
17. Yoga destroys all sorrow for him in whom the sleep and waking, the food, the play, the putting forth of effort in works are all yukta.
18. When all the mental consciousness is perfectly controlled and liberated from desire and remains still in the self, then it is said, “he is in Yoga.”
19. Motionless like the light of a lamp in a windless place is the controlled consciousness (free from its restless action, shut in from its outward motion) of the Yogin who practises union with the Self.
20. That in which the mind becomes silent and still by the practice of Yoga: that in which the Self is seen within in the Self by the Self (seen, not as it is mistranslated falsely or partially by the mind and represented to us through the ego, but self-perceived by the Self, swaprakasha), and the soul is satisfied.
21. That in which the soul knows its own true and exceeding bliss, which is perceived by the intelligence and is beyond the senses, wherein established, it can no longer fall away from the spiritual truth of its being.
22. That is the greatest of all gains and the treasure beside which all lose their value, wherein established he is not disturbed by the fieriest assault of mental grief.
23. It is the putting away of the contact with pain, the divorce of the mind’s marriage with grief. The firm winning of this inalienable spiritual bliss is Yoga; it is the divine union. This Yoga is to be resolutely practised without yielding to any discouragement by difficulty or failure (until the release, until the bliss of Nirvana is secured as an eternal possession).
24-25. Abandoning without any exception or residue all the desires born of the desire-will and holding the senses by the mind so that they shall not run to all sides (after their usual disorderly and restless habit), one should slowly cease from mental action by a buddhi held in the grasp of fixity, and having fixed the mind in the higher Self one should not think of anything at all.
26. Whenever the restless and unquiet mind goes forth, it should be controlled and brought into subjection in the Self.
27. When the mind is thoroughly quieted, then there comes upon the Yogin stainless, passionless, the highest bliss of the soul that has become the Brahman.
28. Thus freed from stain of passion and putting himself constantly into Yoga, the Yogin easily and happily enjoys the touch of the Brahman which is an exceeding bliss.
29. The man whose self is in Yoga, sees the self in all beings and all beings in the self, he is equal-visioned everywhere.
30. He who sees Me everywhere and sees all in Me, to him I do not get lost, nor does he get lost to Me.
31. The Yogin who has taken his stand upon oneness and loves Me in all beings, however and in all ways he lives and acts, lives and acts in Me.
32. He, O Arjuna, who sees with equality everything in the image of the self whether it be grief or it be happiness, him I hold to be the supreme Yogin.
33. Arjuna said: This Yoga of the nature of equality which has been described by Thee, O Madhusudana, I see no stable foundation for it, owing to restlessness.
34. Restless indeed is the mind, O Krishna; it is vehement, strong and unconquerable; I deem it as hard to control as the wind.
35. The Blessed Lord said: Without doubt, O mighty-armed, the mind is restless and very difficult to restrain; but, O Kaunteya, it may be controlled by constant practice and non-attachment.
36. By one who is not self-controlled, this Yoga is difficult to attain; but by the self-controlled, it is attainable by properly directed efforts.
37. Arjuna said: He who takes up Yoga with faith, but cannot control himself with the mind wandering away from Yoga, failing to attain perfection in Yoga, what is his end, O Krishna?
38. Does he not, O mighty-armed, lose both this life (of human activity and thought and emotion which it has left behind) and the Brahmic consciousness to which it aspires and falling from both perish like a dissolving cloud?
39. This my doubt, O Krishna, please dispel completely without leaving any residue; for there is none else than Thyself who can destroy this doubt.
40. The Blessed Lord said: O son of Pritha, neither in this life nor hereafter is there destruction for him; never does anyone who practises good, O beloved, come to woe.
41. Having attained to the world of the righteous and having dwelt there for immemorial years, he who fell from Yoga is again born in the house of such as are pure and glorious.
42. Or he may be born in the family of the wise Yogin; indeed such a birth is rare to obtain in this world.
43. There he recovers the mental state of union (with the Divine) which he had formed in his previous life: and with this he again endeavours for perfection, O joy of the Kurus.
44. By that former practice he is irresistibly carried on. Even the seeker after the knowledge of Yoga goes beyond the range of the Vedas and Upanishads.
45. But the Yogin, endeavouring with assiduity, purified from sin, perfecting himself through many lives attains to the highest goal.
46. The Yogin is greater than the doers of askesis, greater than the men of knowledge, greater than the men of works; become then the Yogin, O Arjuna.
47. Of all Yogins he who with all his inner self given up to me, for me has love and faith, him I hold to be the most united with me in Yoga.
as translated by
in: SABCL, volume 13 “Essays on the Gita, with Sanskrit Text and Translation of the Gita”
pages 636- 647
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Pondicherry