An Unyielding Wind

BHAGAVAD GITA

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6
Dhyaana Yogah:Yoga of Meditation T.N.Sethumadhavan

CONTROL OF MIND IS DIFFICULT BUT POSSIBLE

arjuna uvaacha

yo'yam yogastwayaa proktah saamyena madhusoodana etasyaaham na pashyaami chanchalatwaat stithim sthiraam // 6.33 //

Arjuna said

This Yoga of equanimity, taught by You, O slayer of Madusudana (Krishna), I do not see how it can long endure, because of the restlessness of the mind. Perfect equanimity, a mind free from torpidity and restlessness, in all circumstances, conditions and challenges of life seemed an uphill task and impracticable to Arjuna. He says that achieving evenness of mind is day dreaming because the human mind, by its very nature, is restless in its own excitements.

chanchalam hi manah krishna pramaathi balavad dridham tasyaaham nigraham manye vaayor iva sudushkaram // 6.34 //

The mind verily is restless, turbulent, powerful and unyielding, O Krishna; it seems to me, to control it is as hard as to control the wind. Arjuna argues that the mind is without doubt restless, turbulent, strong and unyielding and is as difficult to control it as the wind. The characteristics of the mind described in this verse are: Restless - Because the mind constantly changes its focus from one object to another. Turbulent - Because of the speed in the flow of thoughts and consequent agitations it creates in the body and the senses by bringing them under the control of the sense objects. Strong - Because once it gets attached to any sense object, it gains strength in the same attachment and sticks to that object despite logical reasoning to the contrary. Unyielding - Because of the impossibility of an individual to pull it back from its fasting journey into the world of sense objects and to make it steady on a predetermined focus.

sri bhagavaan uvaacha

asamshayam mahaabaaho mano durnigraham chalam abhyaasena tu kaunteya vairaagyena cha grihyate // 6.35 //

Sri Bhagavan said Undoubtedly, O Mighty Armed, the mind is difficult to control and restless, but, by practice and detachment, O Son of Kunti, it is restrained. Sri Krishna agrees that mind is unsteady and restless and therefore difficult to control and that the goal cannot be easily reached. But through practice and detachment mind can be brought under control. Practice is the effort of the mind towards calmness. Practice becomes firmly grounded when it is followed for a long time and unremittingly with devotion. The end is easily achieved with the help of austerity, continence, discrimination and faith. The aspirant must not lose courage in the face of repeated failures. Detachment is freedom from thirst for any pleasure seen or heard of. It is acquired through a constant perception of evil in sensuous happiness, either of this life or hereafter. Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.12 says “abhyasavairagyabhyam tan nirodhaha” meaning that the restless mind, accustomed to act on impulse, can be controlled only by nonattachment and practice. Of these two methods, the attempt to make the mind steady is called practice. (Sutra 1.13) Bhagavatam explains non-attachment (vairagya) as “When there is earth to lie upon, why trouble about bed? When one’s arm is readily available, why need pillows? When there is the palm of one’s hand, why seek for plates and utensils? When there is the atmosphere, the bark of trees etc., what need is there of silks?” ] Yoga Sutra (1.16) says “Supreme or the highest form of dispassion represents absence of thirst for all the three Gunas or modes of Prakriti. It is attained through the Knowledge of Purusha or Spirit, who is altogether different from Prakriti." An Unyielding Wind

asamyataatmanaa yogo dushpraapa iti me matih vashyaatmanaa tu yatataa shakyo'vaaptumupaayatah // 6.36 //

Yoga, I think, is hard to attain by one who is not self-controlled but by the self-controlled it is attainable through proper means. An uncontrolled mind cannot progress in spiritual path unless it discovers the Self. The discovery of the Self is possible by self-control achieved through the withdrawal of sense organs from their respective objects. Yoga can be attained by striving hard to utilize the conserved energies for the Divine purposes. Yoga is the science of religion. The test of its validity lies in one’s seeing results through actual experimentation. Hence the teachers of yoga emphasize self-control and other disciplines.

arjuna uvaacha

ayatih shraddhayopeto yogaacchalitamaanasah apraapya yogasamsiddhim kaam gatim krishna gacchati // 6.37 //

Arjuna said He who is endowed with faith, but not with self-control, and whose mind wanders away from Yoga - to what end does he go, O Krishna, having failed to attain perfection in Yoga? This verse relates to a seeker who has faith in the efficacy of Yoga but who is unable to control the senses and the mind. Arjuna asks what happens to such a person for he may lose both the joys of the sense objects and the Absolute Bliss hereafter. The word Sraddha does not mean blind faith but an intellectual understanding of the deeper significance of what the teachers teach and scriptures declare.

kacchinnobhayavibhrashtash chhinnaabhramiva nashyati apratishtho mahaabaaho vimoodho brahmanah pathi // 6.38 //

Fallen from both, does he not, O Mighty Armed, perish like a rent cloud, supportless and deluded in the path of Brahman? Arjuna wonders as to what will happen to the seeker who though full of faith but for want of mental restraint fails to achieve success having fallen from both. Fallen from both means achieving no success in the path of worldly success as also in the path of Yoga. Rent cloud is that very small portion of the large cloud which gets detached from the latter on account of heavy winds and as a consequence moves about without any set direction hit by every passing breeze. Arjuna enquires whether such unsuccessful seekers will meander about the universe as the rented clouds and get lost.

etanme samshayam krishna chhettumarhasyasheshatah twadanyah samshayasyaasya chhettaa na hyupapadyate // 6.39 //

O Krishna, please dispel this doubt of mine completely for, it is not possible for anyone but you to dispel this doubt.

CLARIFICATION REGARDING PARTIAL SPIRITUAL EFFORTS

sri bhagavaan uvaacha

paartha naiveha naamutra vinaashastasya vidyate nahi kalyaankrit kaschid durgatim taatagacchati // 6.40 //

Sri Bhagavan said O Partha, there is no destruction for him either in this world, or in the next world; none verily, who does good, O My Son, ever comes to grief. In the following five verses Sri Krishna elucidates the path of progress of a seeker whose spiritual endeavors have not been met with any success either on account of death or due to any other temptation. The Lord assures him that he who does not achieve perfection in Yoga in this birth will not be destroyed either in this world or in the next. No destruction means that surely he will not take a birth lower than the present one in his next life. Doing good means striving for Self-realization.