Bhagavad-Gita Summary, Chapter VI

[For the Disciple—A Guide]

"Devotion by means of Self-Restraint."

Krishna says:

"He who, unattached to the fruit of his actions, performeth such actions as should be done is both a renouncer of action and a devotee of right action... No one without having previously renounced all intentions can be devoted... Action is said to be the means by which the wise man who is desirous of mounting to meditation may reach thereto; so cessation from action is said to be the means for him who hath reached to meditation." (Gita, p. 44)

True meditation is only obtained through action the motive for which is renunciation of any interest in the result.

The "lower self" is man resident in the body. In our lives, it has the natural duty of representing the "Higher Self" there. It errs when it forgets this agency. The "Higher Self" is always the friend of the "lower Self," which being involved in illusion, caused by the "pairs of opposites," becomes enemy to itself. Every man, as "lower mind," has to recognize this, and choose to make a change.

Discernment, implies that one is able to use Spiritual Knowledge. It is a faculty that is potential in the "lower Self" and which can be developed by its own efforts, when it clearly sees the distinction between that and error.

The "lower Self" has to choose to discipline itself. This is "self-conquest," and if successful in it, it becomes self-subdued and freed of self-directed desire. This position, when adopted and maintained, gives the "lower Self" spiritual knowledge and discernment. This is also called "equal-mindedness," or true meditation and is to be practiced in daily life. (Gita, p. 44)

For the practice of concentrated meditation, Krishna recommends seclusion, ease of posture for the body, control of the emotions and the mind, and all senses and organs are to be restrained. With the lower mind under control, peaceful and free from fear, the devotee's thoughts should be directed to the Spirit. Krishna calls this true yoga, or "divine discipline." (Gita, pp. 46-7)

Moderation in living, food, habits and company are keys to success in the process of self-purification. By centering his "heart" on the True Self, a man progresses towards the final Goal while continuing his involvement in the duties of daily life. He becomes one who: "as a lamp sheltered from the wind flickereth not." He is focused on the reality behind the objects of sense and daily affairs. In attitude he cultivates contentment. Such detachment from pain and pleasure is called yoga, "spiritual union or devotion, which is to be striven after by a man with faith and steadfastly." (Gita, p. 48)

Krishna states that in the process of meditation, when every desire that arises in the imagination has been abandoned, and the lower mind, held steady, subdues the impulses that arise from the senses and organs, and he then finds rest.

Krishna states:

"Supreme bliss surely cometh to the sage whose mind is thus at peace; whose passions and desires are thus subdued; who is thus in the true Self and free from sin. He who is thus devoted and free from sin obtaineth without hindrance the highest bliss—union with the Supreme Spirit. The man who is endued with this devotion and who seeth the unity of all things perceiveth the Supreme Soul in all things and all things in the Supreme Soul." (Gita, p. 48)

Arjuna notes that his mind is restless, agitated, strong and obstinate, and, like the wind, appears unrestrainable. How then, he asks, can steadiness be maintained so as to practice meditation, and, exercise the yoga of equalmindedness advocated by Krishna?

Krishna repeats that while it is difficult to do this, yet, "it may be acquired through proper means and by one who is assiduous and controlleth his heart." (Gita, p. 50)

Arjuna observes, that while the aspirant has faith and devotion, his still untrained mind, wandering, falls away from the steadfastness needed for divine discipline. In such a case, do his delusions destroy him? (Gita, p. 50)

Krishna assures Arjuna that no one who aspires and practices true discipline ever perishes:

"For never to an evil place goeth one who doeth good."

He states that rebirth in a "pure and fortunate family; or even in a family of those who are spiritually illuminated" awaits those whose devotion has been interrupted by death.

Incarnating again, Krishna says, he will come into:

"contact with the knowledge which belonged to him in his former body, and from that time he struggles more diligently towards perfecion...for even unwittingly by reason of that past practice, he is led and works on." (Gita, p. 51)

"The man of meditation as thus described is superior to the man of penance and to the man of learning and also to the man of action; wherefore, O Arjuna, resolve thou to become a man of meditation. But of all devotees he is considered by me as the most devoted who, with heart fixed on me (the Supreme Spirit), full of faith, worships me." (Gita, pp. 51-2)

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