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Jai Shri Krishna! ૐ

1. Yoga is clear, discerning, totally voluntary, dynamic participation in one’s life.

Krishna first identifies yoga (chap. 2 verse 31) as clear discernment that will free one from feeling forced into action. Speaking directly to Arjuna’s stagnation, Krishna emphasizes the importance of action that does not calculate what fruits one might obtain from those actions. Krishna also makes it clear that yoga is not just philosophy, (as in Sankhya’s teachings) but philosophy in action: yoga is a lifestyle requiring active participation.

2. Yoga is everlasting, primal, revealing, the archetypal light fueled by love.

The fourth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita opens with the dramatic announcement that the yoga Krishna gives Arjuna is the same yoga he gave the sun god, Vivasan. Here yoga is connected to light, to primal origins, to sonic transmission and to the eternal. It is characterized to be as valuable and reliable to all beings on our planet as the sun is. Only loosing sight of the sun, as in the passing of time, can obscure our vision of yoga.

When light is lost to us, and we feel uninspired on our journey, what becomes our compass? How does yoga find us in our lives? In chapter four, verse three, Krishna tells Arjuna that it is through love that we are found.

Krishna tells us it was Arjuna’s love for him that inspired him to speak of yoga again, the “ultimate secret”, the same yoga that was once known by the ancients. This is the first instance in which the word bhakta, a lovingly devoted one, appears, from the noun bhakti. Thus the connection between yoga, light and our loving relationships with others is emphasized.

3. Yoga is sacrifice that elevates us, motivates us, actively engages us and does so in a manner that is harmonious to all other living beings.

The verses in which Krishna directly utters the word yoga, or yukta, in chapter four speak about sacrifice: the voluntary renouncing of something of lower value, for something of higher value. How interesting that this follows Krishna’s exposition of love’s value to a yoga practice. He then speaks of offering the actions of one’s senses and one’s very life breath into “the fire of yoga”.

Chapter four then ends with a spirited and exclamatory urging that Arjuna “rise in yoga!” by cutting the doubts in his heart with the sword of knowledge, which is wielded by his very self.

Chapter five begins with Arjuna asking Krishna which is better: the renunciation of actions or the practice of yoga? To this, Krishna replies that the performance of actions in yoga, or the yoga of action is far better than giving up all action.

In verse six of the same chapter Krishna characterizes absorption in yoga as the swiftest way to reach Brahman, or ultimate reality. Then Krishna defines yoga as that which causes one’s self to become connected to the Self in all beings, “and thus one is not tainted even while acting” (5.7) So never does one who is absorbed in yoga act alone. “That one, whose self is absorbed in the yoga of Brahman through yoga, attains imperishable happiness” (5.21).

4. Yoga is selfless, cleansing, freeing, balancing, inspiring, and joyfully performed: a vision in which one experiences peaceful interconnectedness with all life around them.

In chapter six on the way of meditation, Krishna devotes 29 verses (more than any other chapter in the Bhagavad Gita) to defining what yoga is, what yoga is not, and what the effects of practicing yoga are.

Krishna begins by telling Arjuna how yoga cannot be practiced without renouncing selfish motive (6.1). Then he emphasizes action in yoga as a prerequisite to being calm and still. Yoga is defined as not being attached to one’s actions, one’s senses and having no selfish motives, but only for the “purification of the self” (6.12)

Being absorbed in yoga is holding divinity in the highest (6.14) Absorbing oneself in yoga “culminates in the highest state of Nirvana”, which Krishna tells Arjuna rests in him.

Then Krishna goes on with one detail after another about yoga: Yoga is not possible for those who have extremes in sleeping and eating. Being absorbed in yoga destroys suffering. One absorbed in yoga is free from longings for selfish desires. Yoga steadies the thoughts, the mind, and rids one of suffering. Yoga should be practiced with determination and without entertaining discouraging thoughts. One absorbed in yoga enjoys boundless happiness, sees the Self present in all beings, and all beings present within the Self.

In verse thirty-three of chapter six Krishna defines Yoga as the “state of sameness”. One’s self needs to “strive fully” to achieve yoga without difficulty.

5. Yoga is nourished in the company of other yoga practitioners, by offerings of love, and the understandings they give rise to.

This is the second time Arjuna, representing the student, or disciple, uses the word yoga. His inquiry sounds familiar to anyone struggling in their yoga practice, as he asks Krishna what happens to that person “whose mind has deviated from yoga, and does not achieve the perfection of yoga, does not strive yet still possesses faith?”

In verse 6.41, Krishna reassures Arjuna that such a soul is reborn to the “pure and prosperous”, and that even one desiring to know yoga “transcends the sound of ultimate reality”.

Aside from the obvious reincarnation interpretation, the double entendre of these words could point toward the value of surrounding oneself with others who are practicing yoga as a means to motivate and inspire one’s own practice. Being “reborn” into such company can feel like a new start, giving one’s yoga practice new inspiration.

Krishna continues emphasizing the value of loving relationships with others in yoga, as he declares in verse 6. 47 that “one whose inner self has come to me, who is full of faith, who offers love to me- that one is considered by me to be the most deeply absorbed in yoga” What is this deep absorption called in Sanskrit, the language of the Bhagavad Gita?

In chapter seven on the way of realized knowledge, Krishna only speaks six verses in which the words yoga or yukta appears. However, they are very revealing verses as Krishna first utters the word bhakti, thus speaking about love.

6. Yoga is a heightened sensitivity and awareness of all life around us and within us, and an outpour of love in reciprocation with life’s wonder and beauty.

Krishna then begins to describe the effects of those who completely depend on Krishna in their practice of yoga, and become attached to him. Krishna tells Arjuna they will know him completely. Then he asks Arjuna to hear how that is so.

So yoga draws one to Krishna? What does this translate into for the life of the modern yoga practitioner? Who is Krishna in relation to your yoga practice?

Krishna goes on to define what it means to know him “completely” in chapter seven and speaks about all the places he is to be found:

We experience Krishna in the taste of water, the radiance of the moon and sun, the sacred utterance in all the Vedas, the sound in space, the prowess in men. The pure fragrance in earth, the brilliance in fire, the life in all beings, austerities, the seed in all beings, discernment, splendor, power devoid of desire and passion, desire that does not conflict with dharma and the qualities in the cosmic ingredients all around us, and inside out own bodies.

Then Krishna tells Arjuna that four types of people turn toward him: those who are distressed, those desiring knowledge, those seeking personal gain and those possessing knowledge.

“Among these, the person of knowledge, who is constantly absorbed in yoga that is solely an offering of love, is exceptional. For I am so dearly loved by the person of knowledge, and that person is dearly loved by me” (7.17)

This verse has the word bhakti in it -appearing for the first time here, as a noun- also appearing a total 14 times in the BG. Bhakti is how we engage out heart in our yoga practice.

7. Yoga is fearless, is illuminating, and is a journey that does not end with death.

Krishna ends this chapter by informing Arjuna that one who is absorbed with faith in yoga, abides only in Krishna. In verse 25 Krishna says: “I am not revealed to everyone, being concealed by the divine power of yoga, Yoga-Maya. This bewildered world does not recognize me as the unborn and ever-present” But those who do will know Krishna even at the time of death.

In chapter eight Krishna speaks nine verses about death, and how to achieve him beyond death through absorption in yoga. Concluding in verse 27 “be absorbed in yoga by means of yoga” and thus not be bewildered by the “two paths” of darkness and light through which souls exit their bodies.

In chapter nine and ten we find eight verses that employ the words yoga and yukta. Eight are spoken by Krishna as he characterizes yoga’s immortal nature, and one is spoken by Arjuna (10.18) asking Krishna to continue further describing the nature of yoga, as he is never satiated when hearing of the immortal.

8. Yoga is a vision that excludes nothing from its practice.

In these verses Krishna, in the role of the yoga teacher, describes those always absorbed in yoga as pleasing and honoring him with offerings of love, and striving with intense devotion. (9.14) Krishna then promises prosperity and security for ones so fully absorbed in yoga. And that such souls will surely come to him: “Surely you shall come to me, thus having absorbed yourself in yoga with me as the supreme goal” (9.34)

And again in verse ten of chapter ten: ““For them, who are constantly absorbed in yoga, who offer loving service with natural affection, I offer that yoga of discernment by which they come close to me”

What is this discernment Krishna speaks of? How does a person intent on practicing yoga see everything in the world as fuel for their yoga practice?

In chapter ten Krishna elaborates and injects his presence as the original yoga teacher into fire, the radiant sun, the moon, the ocean, quietly repeated prayer, the Himalayas, the thunderbolt, death, time, wind, the shark, the beginning, the end, the middle, the spring season, courage, the silence of secrets, knowledge, beauty and abounding power. “But what is the necessity of knowing such things, O Arjuna? I support this whole universe continuously, with one part of myself.” (10.42)

9. Yoga is our intimate connection with the whole universe, with eternal realms even beyond the manifested universe, and with our own being’s endless capacity to love.

In the famous chapter eleven of the Bhagavad Gita Krishna gives Arjuna a vision of his “Universal Form”. Perhaps what is most amazing to any yoga practitioner about this spectacular vision is that Krishna attributes his universal form as having manifested from the yoga of his own being! So even Krishna himself practices yoga!

Chapter twelve begins with Arjuna inquiring about which form of yoga is “the greatest”, that of “those who worship Krishna by offering love, or those who worship Krishna as the “imperishable unmanifest”?

Krishna answers that it is those whose mind are directed toward him and are always absorbed in yoga.

Then Krishna characterizes yoga again as devoting all actions to him. And in chapter twelve verse ten, Krishna defines yoga as “the unwavering offering of love”. Then in 14.26 Krishna says:

“And one, who unfailingly, with the yoga of offering love, serves me, that one, transcending these ‘qualities’ prepares oneself with being united with supreme reality.”

10. Yoga is a pure, determined force that moves us toward the mysterious and secret, and connects us with the wonderfulness of existence, of being, and of all life itself.

Krishna begins chapter sixteen with a verse that talks about “steadfastness in the yoga of knowledge”. Then the subject of energies that pull one toward and away from absorption in yoga begins, with only eight verses in the last three chapters of the Bhagavad Gita that use the words yoga or yukta, mainly characterizing those absorbed in yoga as reflecting the qualities of sattva, or clarity, purity.

The penultimate verse in which the word yoga appears are spoken by the visionary Sanjaya who ends by calling Krishna Yogeshvara, the Lord of Yoga, in verse 18.75:

“By the grace of Vyasa I have heard this supreme secret of yoga from Krishna, the supreme Lord of Yoga, appearing directly before my eyes, speaking it himself”.

The Bhagavad Gita ends with an emphatic, final verse that delights in the triumph of those who align themselves with a genuine, loving yoga practitioner and teacher, as Arjuna did with Krishna.

“Where there is Krishna, the Supreme Lord of Yoga (Yogeshvara), where there is Partha (Arjuna), holder of the Bow, there is fortune, triumph, well-being, and lasting righteousness- that is my conclusion”.

So yoga appears in more ways than we imagine. Perhaps the individual practices of today’s yoga practitioners will be significantly nourished the more they embrace the rich and complex definitions Krishna gave yoga in the Bhagavad Gita.

As one of the world’s most important yoga texts, the Gita stands to illumine the areas in our lives we get stuck in -just as Arjuna was in his- and offer us an alternative way of being through practicing yoga: an experience that can potentially include everything!

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Chapter VI - The Yoga of Meditation

Krishna said:
One who performs the prescribed duty
Without seeking its fruit is a Samnyasi and a yogi,
Not the one who merely does not light the sacred fire,
And does not work.

O Arjuna, know that to be the Karma-yoga
Which they call Samnyasa.
No one becomes a Karma-yogi
Who has not renounced
The selfish motive behind an action.

For the wise who seeks to attain yoga
Karma-yoga is said to be the means;
For the one who has attained yoga,
Equanimity becomes the means.

A person is said to have attained yogic perfection
When there is no desire for sensual pleasures,
Or attachment to the fruits of work,
And has renounced all personal selfish motives.

One must elevate, not degrade, oneself
By one's own mind.
The mind alone is one's friend
As well as one's enemy.

The mind is the friend
Of those who have control over it,
And the mind acts like an enemy
For those who do not control it.

One who has control over the mind
Is tranquil in heat and cold,
In pleasure and pain, and in honor and dishonor;
And is ever steadfast with the Supreme Self.

A yogi is called Self-realized
Who is satisfied with knowledge
And understanding of the Self,
Who is equanimous, who has control over the senses,
And to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are the same.

A person is considered superior
Who is impartial towards companions,
Friends, enemies, Neutrals, arbiters,
Haters, relatives, saints, and sinners.

Let the yogi seated in solitude and alone
Having mind and senses under control
And free from desires and attachments for possessions,
Try constantly to contemplate on the Supreme Self.

The yogi should sit on a firm seat
That is neither too high nor too low,
Covered with sacred Kusha grass,
A deerskin, and a cloth,
One over the other, in a clean spot.

Sitting and concentrating the mind
On a single object,
Controlling the thoughts
And the activities of the senses,
Let the yogi practice meditation for self-purification.

Hold the waist, spine, chest, neck, and head erect,
Motionless and steady, fix the eyes and the mind
Steadily between the eye brows,
and do not look around.

With serene and fearless mind;
Practicing celibacy; having the mind under control
And thinking of Me; let the yogi sit
And have Me as the supreme goal.

Thus, by always keeping the mind fixed on the Self,
The yogi whose mind is subdued attains peace
Of the Supreme nirvana by uniting with Me.

This yoga is not possible, O Arjuna,
For the one who eats too much,
Pr who does not eat at all;
Who sleeps too much,
Or who keeps awake.

But, for the one who is moderate
In eating, recreation, working,
sleeping, and waking,
This yoga destroys sorrow.

A person is said to have achieved yoga,
The union with the Self,
When the perfectly disciplined mind
Gets freedom from all desires,
And becomes absorbed in the Self alone.

As a lamp in a spot
Sheltered from the wind
Does not flicker,
This simile is used for the subdued mind
Of a yogi practicing meditation on Brahman.

When the mind disciplined
By the practice of meditation becomes steady,
One becomes content in the Self by beholding Him
With (purified) intellect.

One feels infinite bliss
That is perceivable only through the intellect,
And is beyond the reach of the senses.
After realizing Brahman,
One is never separated from absolute reality.

After Self-Realization,
One does not regard any other gain
superior to Self-Realization.
Established in Self-Realization,
One is not moved even by the greatest calamity.

The severance of union with sorrow
Is known by the name of yoga.
This yoga should be practiced
With firm determination and perseverance,
Without any mental reservation or doubts.

Totally abandoning all selfish desires,
And completely restraining
The senses by the intellect;

One gradually attains tranquillity of mind
By keeping the mind fully absorbed in the Self
By means of a well-trained intellect,
And thinking of nothing else.

Wheresoever this restless
And unsteady mind wanders away,
One should bring it back
To the reflection of the Supreme.

Supreme bliss comes to a Self-realized yogi
Whose mind is tranquil,
Whose desires are under control,
And who is free from sin.

Such a sinless yogi,
Who constantly engages the mind with the Self,
Easily enjoys the infinite bliss
Of contact with Brahman.

Because of perceiving the Self (abiding) in all beings
And all beings (abiding) in the Self;
A yogi, who is in union with the Self,
Sees everybeing with an equal eye.

Those who see Me in everything
And see everything in Me,
Are not separated from Me
And I am not separated from them.

The non-dualists,
Who adore Me as abiding in all beings,
Abide in Me irrespective
Of their mode of living.

One is considered the best yogi
Who regards every being like oneself,
And who can feel the pain and pleasures of others
As one's own, O Arjuna.

Arjuna said:
O Krishna, You have said that yoga of meditation
Is characterized by the equanimity ,
But, due to restlessness of mind
I do not perceive the steady state of mind.

Because the mind, indeed, is very unsteady,
Turbulent, powerful, and obstinate, O Krishna.
I think restraining the mind
Is as difficult as restraining the wind.

Krishna said:
Undoubtedly, O Arjuna, the mind is restless
And difficult to restrain,
but it is subdued by Abhyaasa (practice),
And Vairaagya (detachment), O Arjuna.

In My opinion, yoga is difficult
For the one whose mind is not subdued.
However, yoga is attainable by the person
Of subdued mind by striving through proper means.

Arjuna said:
For the faithful but of unsubdued mind,
Who deviates from (the path of) meditation
And fails to attain yogic perfection
What is the destination of such a person, O Krishna?

Do they not perish
Like a dispersing cloud, O Krishna,
Having lost both, supportless and bewildered
On the path of Self-realization?

O Krishna,
Only You are able to completely dispel
This doubt of mine.
Because there is none, other than You,
who can dispel this doubt.

Krishna said:
There is no destruction, O Arjuna,
For such a yogi either here or hereafter.
A transcendentalist is never put to grief, My dear friend.

The unsuccessful yogi is reborn,
After attaining heaven and living there for many years,
In the house of the pure and prosperous; or

Such a yogi is born in a family
Of wise transcendentalists.
A birth like this is very difficult, indeed,
To obtain in this world.

After taking such a birth, O Arjuna,
One regains the knowledge acquired
In the previous life, and strives again
To achieve perfection.

The unsuccessful yogi is instinctively carried
Towards Brahman by virtue of Sanskaara
Of yogic practices of previous lives.
Even the inquirer of Brahman
Surpasses those who perform Vedic rituals.

The yogi who diligently strives,
Perfecting through many incarnations,
Becomes completely free from all sins
And reaches the supreme goal.

The yogi is superior to the ascetics.
The yogi is superior to the scholars.
The yogi is superior to the ritualists.
Therefore, O Arjuna, be a yogi.

I consider one to be the most devoted
Of all the yogis who lovingly contemplates
On Me with supreme faith,
And whose mind is ever absorbed in Me.

~ This is the end of Chapter VI of the Bhagavad Gita ~

Entitled "Dhyana-Yoga, Or "The Yoga of Meditation"

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But the man who rejoices only in the Self, who is satisfied with the Self, who is content in the Self alone, for him, indeed, there is nothing (more) to be done.

- III-17

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He who recognizes inaction in action and action in inaction is wise among men; he is a Yogi and a true performer of all actions.

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The man who is full of faith, who is devoted to It, and who has subdued the senses, obtains (this) Knowledge; and having obtained Knoweldge, he goes ere long to the the Supreme Peace. IV-39

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With the mind harmonised by Yoga he sees the Self, abiding in all beings and all beings in the Self; he sees the same everywhere. ( verse VI-29 )

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( The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation )

Chapter 18

Arjuna said:

I desire to know severally
The essence of Sannyasa,
And also of Tyaga,
O Kesinishudana !

Lord Krishna said:

Renouncing works whose motive is desire,
The sages know to be Sannyasa;
Abandonment of fruits of works
Is called Tyaga by the wise.

Sacrifice, charity and austerity
Should not be relinquished,
But surely to be done;
They are purifiers of the wise.

These are the five causes
For the fulfilment of all works,
The body, the actor,
The various organs,
Separate manifold functions,
And the presiding deity, also, the fifth.

He who is free from egoistic notion,
Whose reason is not affected,
Though he kills these people
He kills not, nor is he bound by the action.

An action which is ordained,
That is done without attachment, love or hate,
By one who seeks not fruit,
Is called Sattvic.

But that action which is done
By one who seeks to win his desires,
Or again with egoism, or much effort,
Is declared to be Rajasic.

Heedless of consequences,
Loss, injury (to others) or capacity,
Action done under delusion,
Is called Tamasic.

That which knows action and inaction,
What ought to be done
And what ought not to be done,
Fear and fearlessness,
Bondage and liberation,
That intellect is Sattvic , O Partha!

That by which one wrongly understands
Right and wrong,
What ought to be done
And what ought not to be done,
That intellect is Rajasic, O Partha!

That which, enveloped in darkness,
Conceives wrong as right,
Sees all things perverted,
That intellect is Tamasic, O Partha!

Which is at first like poison,
But like nectar in the end,
That happiness is Sattvic
Born of the blissful knowledge of the Self.

That pleasure which arises
From the union of the senses with objects,
Is at first like nectar
But in the end like poison;
That is declared to be Rajasic.

That pleasure at first
And in its consequence
Is delusive of the self,
And is the product of sleep,
Indolence and heedlessness,
Is called Tamasic.

Dwelling in solitude,
Eating but little,
Speech, body and mind disciplined,
Ever engaged in the Yoga of meditation,
Fully established in dispassion.

Forsaking egoism, violence, arrogance,
Desire, anger and covetousness,
Without mine-ness and serene,
He is fit for becoming Brahman.

Becoming Brahman,
Serene in the Self,
He neither grieves nor desires,
The same to all beings,
He attains supreme devotion to Me.

By devotion he knows Me in truth,
What and who I am.
Then knowing Me in truth,
Forthwith he enters into Me.

The Lord dwells
In the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna!
Causing all beings by His Maya
To revolve, as if mounted on a machine.

Take refuge in Him
With all thy heart, O Bharata!
Thou shall attain by His grace
Supreme Peace and Eternal Abode.

Fix thy mind in Me;
Be My devotee;
Sacrifice to Me;
Bow down to Me:
You shall reach My Self:
Truly do I promise unto thee,
For thou art dear to Me.

All duties abandon;
In Me alone take refuge.
From all sins I will liberate thee,
Grieve not, O Arjuna.

Has this been heard by thee
With an attentive mind? O Partha!
Has thy delusion bred of ignorance
Been destroyed? O Dhananjaya!

Arjuna said:

Destroyed is my delusion;
By Your Grace have I gained knowledge;
Firm am I, O Achyuta!
My doubts are gone;
I will do Thy word.

Wherever is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga,
Wherever is Partha, the bow-man,
There are prosperity, victory,
Happiness and sound policy;
So I think.


Om Shanti! Shanti! Shantih!

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of the Division of the Threefold Faith )

Chapter 17

Arjuna said:

Whose worship endowed with faith,
Casting aside the ordinances
of the scriptures,
What faith is theirs?
Is it Sattva, Rajas or Tamas?

Lord Krishna:

Threefold is faith in souls embodied;
It is born of the nature of each,
Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic;
Do thou hear of it.

The faith of each, O Bharata!
Is in accordance with his nature;
The man consists of his faith;
As a man's faith is, so is he.

Those men who do terrible austerities
Not enjoined by the scriptures,
Given to hypocrisy and egoism,
Impelled by the force of lust and attachment,

These senseless men torturing
The aggregate of the elements in the body
And Me also seated within, -
Know these demoniacal in their resolves.

The foods which increase vitality,
Energy, strength, health, joy and cheerfulness,
Which are savoury, oleaginous,
substantial and agreeable,
Are dear to the Sattvic.

The foods which are bitter, sour, saline,
Excessively hot, pungent, dry and burning,
Which cause pain, grief and disease,
Are dear to the Rajasic.

That which is stale,
Tasteless and putrid,
Rotten, refuse and impure
Is dear to the Tamasic.

The sacrifice that is offered by men
Without desire for fruit,
As enjoined by the ordinances,
With a belief that 'Sacrifice is Duty',
Is pure.

That which is offered, O best of the Bharatas!
With desire for fruit,
And for self-glorification,
Know it to be a Rajasic sacrifice.

The sacrifice contrary to ordinances,
In which no food is distributed,
Which is devoid of Mantras, gifts and faith,
Is said to be Tamasic.

Worship of the gods, the twice-born,
Teachers and the wise men,
Purity, uprightness, continence and non-injury
Are called the austerity of the body.

Speech causing no excitement,
Truthful, pleasant and beneficial,
And also study of the scriptures,
Are called the austerity of speech.

Serenity of mind, equilibrium,
Silence and self-control,
Purity of nature,
Are callled the mental austerity.

The threefold charity
Practiced by devout men
With utmost faith,
Without desire for fruit,
Is said to be Sattvic.

That austerity which is practices
To win welcome, honor and respect,
And with hypocrisy,
Is said to be Rajasic, unstable and uncertain.

Austerity practices out of foolish notions
With self-torture,
Or for running another,
Is declared to be Tamasic.

That gift which is given
To one who does nothing in return,
Believing that a gift ought to be done
In a fit place and time,
To a worthy person, -
That gift is Sattvic.

The gift which is given
For the sake of a gift in return,
Or with an eye to fruit hereafter,
Or grudgingly, -
That gift is Rajasic.

That gift given
At a wrong place or time,
To unworthy persons,
Without respect and with insult, -
That gift is Tamasic.

Om Tat Sat, -
This is the triple designation of Brahman.
By that were created formerly
The Brahmanas, the Vedas and the Sacrifices.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demoniacal )

Chapter 16

Lord Krishna said:

Fearlessness, purity of heart,
Fixity in Yoga of Knowledge,
Charity, self-restraint, sacrifice,
Scripture study, austerity, uprighteousness,

Harmlessness, truth, non-anger,
Renunciation, serenity, absence of crookedness,
Compassion to creatures, non-covetousness,
Gentleness, modesty, firmness,

Vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, purity,
Absence of hatred, non-pride,
These are the virtues
Of one born in the Divine state, O Bharata!

Ostentation, arrogance, self-conceit,
Anger and also insolence and ignorance, -
These are the vices
Of one born in the devilish state, O Partha!

The Divine state leads to Liberation;
The devilish state leads to bondage.
Grieve not, O Pandava!
Thou art born with Divine qualities.

What to do and what to refrain from,
The demoniacal understand not,
Neither purity nor right conduct,
Nor truth does one see in them.

Without truth, without moral basis,
Without God is this world they say,
Born of mutual union under lust impulses,
And nothing else.

Given over to desires insatiable,
Full of hypocrisy, conceit and arrogance,
Through delusion sticking to evil ideas
They act, men of unholy resolves.

Bound by hundred ties of hopes,
Given up to desire and wrath,
They strive to hoard riches
By unlawful means for sensual enjoyment.

"This I have gained today,
This desire I shall attain;
This wealth is mine already,
This also shall be mine hereafter."

"This enemy have I slain,
And others also shall I slay;
I am a Lord, I enjoy,
I am perfect, powerful and happy."

"Rich am I, high born,
Who else is equal to me?
I will sacrifice, I will give charity,
I will rejoice."

Thus deluded by unwisdom,
Bewildered by numerous thoughts,
Enmeshed in the web of delusion,
They fall into a foul hell.

Triple is the gate of this hell
Destructive of the self,
Lust, anger and greed;
Therefore abandon these three.

A man who is released from these,
The three gates of darkness, O Kaunteya,
Practices what is good for him
And thus reaches the Supreme Goal.

He who ignores the ordinances
of the scriptures,
And acts under impulse of desire
Attains not to perfection,
Nor happiness, nor the Supreme Goal.

Therefore, let the scriptures be thy authority
In deciding as to what ought to be done,
And what ought not to be done.
That work which the scripture enjoins
Thou should know and here perform.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit )

Chapter 15

The Blessed Lord said:

With roots above, branches below,
The Asvattha is said to be indestructible;
Its leaves are the hymns;-
He who knows this is a Veda-Knower.

Below and above spread its branches
Nourished by the Gunas;
Sense-objects are its buds;
Downward do the roots extend;
Their effect is work in the world of men.

Its form is not percieved here,
Neither its end nor its origin,
Nor its existence;
Cut this tree with the sword of dispassion.

Then seek the goal,
Going whither none return,
Without pride or delusion,
Victorious over the evil of attachment,
Self-absorbed, desires cast away,
Of pairs like pleasure and pain freed,
They go undeluded to that Goal Eternal.

There the sun shines not;
Nor the moon, nor fire;
That is My Supreme Abode
To which having gone none return.

A ray of My Self, the Eternal Jiva,
In the world of Jivas
Draws to himself the five senses,
With mind for the sixth veiled in Matter.

I abide in the body of living beings
as Vaishvanara;
Associated with Prana and Apana,
I digest the fourfold food.

I am seated in the hearts of all;
From Me are memory, knowledge
and their absence.
By all the Vedas to be known am I,
Author of Vedanta and Veda-knower am I.

There are two Purushas in the world,
The Perishable and Imperishable;
The Perishable is all creatures;
The unchanging is called the Imperishable.

But there is another,
The Supreme Purusha called the Highest Self,
The indestructible Lord
Who penetrates and sustains the three worlds.

As I excel the Perishable,
And even higher than the Imperishable,
Therefore I am known as Purushottama,
In the world and in the Vedas.

Who free from delusion knows Me
As the Supreme Self,
He all-knowing worships Me
With his whole being, O Bharata!

Thus the most secret teaching
Has been taught by Me, O sinless one!
If a man knows this He has
become illuminated,
All his duties are fulfilled, O Bharata!

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas )

Chapter 14

Lord Krishna said:

Sattva, Rajas and Tamas,
The three qualities born of Prakriti,
Bind fast in the body
The Indestructible Dweller in the body.

Sattva is luminous and healthy
Because of its purity!
It binds, O sinless one!
By attachment to joy and knowledge.

Rajas is passion.
It is the source of thirst for life and attachment.
It binds the dweller, O Kaunteya!
By attachment to action.

Tamas is born of ignorance.
It deludes all dwellers in the body.
It binds fast, O Bharata!
By listlessness, indolence and sloth.

One quality prevails by overpowering
the other two;
Now Sattva arises by mastering
Rajas and Tamas;

Now Rajas arises by mastering
Sattva and Tamas;
Now Tamas arises by mastering
Sattva and Rajas.

When Wisdom's light shines,
When light streams forth,
At every gate of the body,
Know that Sattva is increasing.

When there are darkness,
Inertness, heedlessness,
And also delusion,
Know that Tamas is increasing.

When the dweller leaves the body,
When Sattva predominates,
Then he attains the spotless worlds,
Of the Knowers of the Highest.

Meeting death in Rajas,
He is born among the actionists;
Dying in Tamas,
Then in the wombs of the senseless is he born.

The fruit of good action
Is Sattvic and pure;
The fruit of Rajas is pain;
The fruit of Tamas is ignorance.

The Sattvic rise upwards;
The Rajastic remain in the middle;
The Tamasic enveloped with low qualities,
Go downwards.

When the Seer beholds no agent
Other than the qualities,
And knows THAT which is
higher than qualities,
He attains to My state.

The dweller having crossed over
These three Gunas, the source of the body,
Is freed from birth, death, old age and pain,
And attains Immortality.

Arjuna said:

O Lord! What are the marks of him
Who has crossed over the three qualities?
What is his conduct?
How does he go beyond the Gunas?

Lord Krishna said:

O Pandava! He who
Hates not radiance nor activity,
Nor even delusion when present,
Nor longs for them when absent,

He who seated as a neutral
Is not moved by the Gunas,
Who knowing that the Gunas act
Is self-centered and unmoved,

He to whom pain and pleasure are alike,
Who abides in the Self,
To whom the lump of earth,
stone and gold are alike,
To whom the dear and the undear are alike,
Who is a man of wisdom,
To whom censure and pain are alike,

The same in honor and dishonor,
The same to friends and foes,
Actor-sense in action renounced,
He is said to have crossed over the Gunas.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of Distinction between the Field and the Knower of the Field )

Chapter 13

Arjuna said:

What is field?
Who is Knower of the field?
What is Knowledge?
What is THAT which ought to be known?
I desire to learn, O Keshava!

Lord Krishna said:

This body is the field.
He who knows it is the Knower.
Know Me as the Knower of the field,
In all fields, O Bharata!

The Knowledge of the field
And the Knower of the field
Is the Knowledge -
This is My opinion.

The great elements and egoism,
The intellect and the Unmanifested,
The ten senses and one,
And the five objects of the senses,

Desire, hatred, pleasure, pain,
The aggregate, intelligence and cource
Constitute the field
And its modifications.

Humility, modesty, non-violence,
Patience and uprightness,
Service of the teacher and purity,
Steadfastness and self-control.

Indifference to sensual objects,
And also absence of egoism,
Perception of evil in birth,
Death, old age, sickness and pain,

Non-attachment, absence of self-identification
With son, wife or home,
Constant evenness of mind
On the happening of the desirable
and the undesirable,

Unflinching devotion to Me
By unswerving Yoga,
Living in a solitary place,
Having no enjoyment in mixing with people,

Constancy in Self-knowledge,
Perception of the end of Knowledge of Truth -
This is called Knowledge;
All against It is ignorance.

With hands and feet everywhere,
With eyes, heads and mouths everywhere,
With ears everywhere,
He exists enveloping all.

Without and within all beings,
The unmoving and also the moving,
Because subtle,- THAT is incomprehensible;
Near and far away is THAT.

The Light of all lights,
That is said to be beyond darkness,
Knowledge, the Knowable,
the goal of Knowledge, -
It is seated in the hearts of all.

He who sees
That Prakriti does all actions,
And that the Self is actionless,
He really sees.

They who by the eye of wisdom
Perceive the distinction
Between the field and the Knower of the field,
And the liberation of beings from Prakriti,
They go to the Supreme.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of Devotion )

Chapter 12

Arjuna said:

O Lord! Tell me
Who is better versed in Yoga?
A devotee who worships Thee
Or a sage who meditates on Brahman?

Lord Krishna said:

He who worships Me,
With mind fixed on Me,
With faith supreme endowed,
Is the best Yogin.

He who worships the Indestructible,
The Ineffable, the Unmanifest,
Omnipresent and Unthinkable,
Unchangeable, Immutable, Eternal,

Restraining the senses,
Regarding everything equally,
Rejoicing in the welfare of all,
He also comes to Me.

But difficult is Nirguna meditation;
Precipitous and slippery is the path;
Hard to reach is the Unmanifested;
Difficult it is to fix the mind on This.

Fix thy mind on Me;
Apply thy intellect to Me;
Thou shall dwell in Me;
This you doubt not;
This is Dhyana Yoga.

If you are unable to do this,
Take recourse to practice.
Practice concentration,
Try to reach Me -
This is Abhyasa Yoga.

If you cannot practice,
Be intent on My service,
Thou shall attain perfection
By performing actions for My sake -
This is Bhakti Yoga.

If thou art unable to do even this,
Then taking refuge in Me,
Renounce all fruits of actions,
With the self controlled, -
This is Nishkamya Karma Yoga.

Better indeed is Knowledge than practice;
Than Knowledge Meditation is better;
Than Meditation Renunciation of the
fruits of actions,
On Renunciation follows Peace.

Knowledge means here theoretical knowledge;
It is knowledge from the study of
the Upanishads;
It is Paroksha Knowledge;
It is better than Hatha Yogic Kriyas.

He who hates no creature,
Who is friendly and compassionate to all;
Who is free from mine-ness and I-ness,
Who is poised in pleasure and pain,
and forbearing,

Content, ever self-subdued,
Harmonious and poised,
Yogi of firm convictions,
Mind and Intellect to Me dedicated, -
Such a devotee is dear to Me.

With whom the world is at ease
And who is at ease with the world,
Who is free from joy, envy, fear and worry,
Such a one is dear to Me.

Independent, pure and expert,
Unconcerned and untroubled,
Not self-motivated in commencing actions, -
Such a devotee is dear to Me.

He who neither rejoices nor hates,
Nor grieves, nor desires,
Who has given up good and evil,
He who is full of devotion is dear to Me.

Alike to foe and friend,
And also in honor and dishonor,
Alike in cold and heat,
And also in pleasure and pain,
Without attachment whatsoever,

To whom censure and pain are equal,
Who is silent, content with anything,
Homeless, firm in mind, full of devotion -
Such a man is dear to Me.

They verily who follow this immortal doctrine
as described above,
With faith endowed,
Taking Me as their Supreme Goal, -
Such devotees are exceedingly dear to Me.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form )

Chapter 11

Arjuna said:

O Lord! Show me Thy Cosmic Form
I desire to see Thy form as Isvara;
The form as you have declared
Show me Thy Eternal Self.

Lord Krishna said:

Behold, O Partha, forms of Me
A hundredfold, a thousandfold;
Of different sorts divine
Of various colors and shapes.

I give thee the Divine Eye
Behold the Adityas, the Vasus and the Rudras;
The two Aswins and also the Maruts
Behold the whole universe in Me.

Lord Krishna showed Partha
His Cosmic form with countless mouths;
And countless eyes and wonderful sights
With countless divine weapons.

Arjuna said:

I see all the gods in Thy body
And also all grades of beings,
Brahma the Lord upon His lotus-throne
The Rishis all and celestial serpents.

I see Thee without beginning, middle or end
Infinite in power, of countless hands;
The sun and moon being Thy eyes
The burning fire Thy mouth;
Heating the whole universe
With Thy radiance.

These sons of Dhritarashtra
And all groups of princes
Bhishma, Drona, the son of Suta
And our own principal warriors,

Hurriedly enter into Thy mouth
Fearful and of terrible teeth;
Some are found sticking to the theeth-gaps
With their heads crushed to powder.

Lord Krishna said:

Therefore stand up and win fame
Conquer the enemies;
Enjoy the wealthy dominion.
By Me they have already been slain
Be thou a mere instrument.

Arjuna said:

Thou art the Primal God
The Ancient Purusha;
Thou art the Supreme Abode of this world
Thou art the Knower, the Knowable
and Abode Supreme;
By Thee is the universe pervaded
O Being of Infinite Forms!

I rejoice at seeing what had
not been seen before
But my mind is uneasy with fear;
Show me that form with four hands
Have mercy, O God of gods!
O Abode of the Universe!

The Lord assumed His gentle form
With four hands;
And showed the form to Arjuna
And consoled him who was awe-stricken.

Lord Krishna said:

Neither by the Vedas nor by austerity
Nor by gifts nor by sacrifice
Can I be seen in this form
As thou alone hast seen Me;

But by unswerving devotion
Can I of this form be known
And seen in reality and also entered into,
O Harasser of foes!

He who does works for Me
Who looks on Me as the Supreme;
Who is devoted to Me
Who is free from attachment
Who has no hatred for any being
He comes to Me, O Pandava!

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of the Divine Glories )

Chapter 10

Lord Krishna said:

With their thoughts on Me
With their life absorbed in Me
Instructing each other
Ever conversing about Me
They are content and delighted.

To them ever devout
Worshiping Me with love;
I give the Yoga of Discrimination
By which they attain Me.

Out of mere compassion for them
I abiding in their Self,
Destroy the darkness born of ignorance
By the luminous lamp of Wisdom.

Arjuna said:

O Lord! deign to tell me without reserve
Of Thy Divine glories,
By which Thou remain
Pervading all these worlds.

Lord Krishna said:

I am the Self, O Gudakesha,
Seated in the heart of all beings;
I am the beginning, the middle
And also the end of all beings.

Among the Adityas Vishnu am I
Among the radiances resplendent Sun am I;
Among the Maruts Marichi am I
Among the stars the Moon am I.

I am the Sama Veda among the Vedas
I am Indra among the gods;
I am the Mind among the senses
I am the Intelligence among living beings.

Among the Rudras Sankara am I
Among the Yakshas and Rakshasas Kubera am I;
Among the Vasus Agni am I
Among the Mountains Meru am I.

I am Brihaspati among priests
I am Skanda among generals;
I am the Ocean among lakes
I am Airavata among elephants.

Among the great Rishis Bhirgu am I
Among words the one syllable OM am I;
Among sacrifices Japa Yajna am I
Among Immovable objects Himalayas am I.

I am the Asvattha among trees
I am Narada among divine Rishis;
I am Chitraratha among Gandharvas
I am the Muni Kapila among the perfected.

Among purifiers I am the wind
Among warriors I am Rama;
Among fishes I am the shark
Among streams I am the Ganga.

I am the letter 'A' among letters
I am the dual among all compounds;
I am verily the everlasting time
I am the all-faced Dispenser.

The gambling of the cheat I am
The splendour of the splendid I am;
Victory I am, effort I am
The goodness of the good I am.

O harasser of thy foes!
There is no end to My Divine Glories;
But this is a brief account
Of My Divine Attributes.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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(The Yoga of the Kingly Science and the Kingly Secret)

Chapter 9

Lord Krishna said:

Kingly science, kingly secret -
Supreme purifier is this;
Intuitional, according to righteousness
Very easy to perform, imperishable.

By Me all the world is pervaded
In My unmanifested aspect;
All beings dwell in Me
I do not dwell in them.

I am the Father of this World
The Mother, Supporter and the Grand Sire,
The pure Omkara worth knowing
And also the Rig, Sama, Yajur.

I am the Goal, Sustainer, Lord, Witness
The Abode, Refuge and friend;
The Origin, Dissolution and Stay
The Treasure-house and the seed Imperishable.

To those men who worship Me alone
Thinking of no other,
To those who are ever devout
I secure gain and safety.

When one offers Me with devotion
A leaf, a flower, a fruit, water;
That I accept offered with devotion
By the pure-hearted.

Whatever thou doeth or eateth
Whatever thou offereth or giveth,
Whatever thou doest of austerity
That dedicate to Me.

Even if the greatest sinner worships Me
As an unswering devotee,
He too must be deemed righteous
For he has rightly resolved.

Soon he becomes righteous
And attains Eternal Peace;
Know thou for certain, O Kaunteya,
That My devotee never perishes.

Fix thy mind on Me
Be devoted to Me;
Sacrifice to Me
Bow down to Me.

Have Me as thy Supreme Goal
Practice regular meditation;
By thus abiding in the Self
Thou shall reach Me.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of the Imperishable Brahman )

Chapter 8

Arjuna said:

O Lord! What is that Brahman?
What is Adhyatma?
What is Karma? O Purushottama!
What is Adhibhuta? What is Adhidaiva?

How and what is Adhiyajna?
And how at the time of death
Art Thou to be known
By the self-controlled?

Lord Krishna said:

The Imperishable Supreme is Brahman;
Brahman's dwelling in each body
As Immortal Self is Adhyatma;
The offering to gods is action.

This changing world of names and forms
This phenomenal universe is Adhibhutta;
Hiranyagarbha is Adhidaivata;
Lord Vishnu is Adhiyajna.

He who at the time of death
Leaves the body thinking of Me alone
Enters into My being:
There is no doubt of this.

Whosoever at the end leaves the body,
Thinking of any being.
To that being only does he go, O Kaunteya!
Because of his constant thought of that being.

Controlling all the gates
Holding the mind in the head
Practicing concentration,
Reciting the mono-syllable OM-Brahman,
Remembering Me,
Who goes casting of this coil,
He attains the Supreme Goal.

He who always thinks of Me
Not thinking of any other,
This ever harmonized Yogi
Reaches Me easily, O Partha!

What is called the Unmanifested,
the Indestructable,
That they say is the Highest Goal;
They who reach It return not -
This is My Supreme Abode.

That Highest Purusha O Partha!
In whom all beings abide;
By whom all this is pervaded
Is attainable by devotion alone.

Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight,
The six months of the Northern solstice,
Then departing,
Those who know Brahman attain Brahman.
This is the path of Devayana
Or the path of Light of Saguna Upasakas.

Smoke, night-time, the dark fortnight
The six months of the Southern circuit
Attaining by these to the lunar light
The Yogi returns.
This is the path of Pitriyana
Or the path of Darkness of
Sakamya Karma Yogins.

In Veda recitation and sacrifice
In austerity and charity,
Whatever meritorious fruit
Has been declared,

The Yogi who knows this
Passes beyond all these
And attains the Seat
Which is Supreme and Ancient.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization )

Chapter 7

Lord Krishna said:

I shall teach thee in full
This Knowledge combined with realization;
If you know this, O Arjuna,
Nothing more here remains to be known.

Among thousands of men
One perchance strives for perfection;
Even among those successful strivers
One perchance knows Me in essence.

Earth, water, fire, air,
Ether, mind, intellect, egoism -
These are the eightfold divisions
Of My nature.

This is the inferior Prakriti
Separate from this know thou
My higher Prakriti -
The life-element which upholds the world.

The sapidity in water, O Kaunteya, I am
The light in the moon and the sun I am;
The syllable OM in all the Vedas I am
The sound in ether and virility in men I am.

It is difficult to cross over
This divine illusion caused by the qualities;
Those who take refuge in Me
Cross over this illusion.

Four kinds of devotees worship Me -
The Suffering, the Seeker for Knowledge
The Self-interested and the Wise;
Of those the Wise are the best.

Noble indeed are all these
But the wise man is my very Self;
For steadfast in mind
He is fixed in Me as the Supreme Goal.

At the end of many births
The man of wisdom comes to Me
Realizing that all this is Vaasudeva;
Such a great Soul is very hard to find.

All beings are subject to illusion
By the delusion of the pairs of opposites
Sprung from attraction and repulsion;
Mysterious is this illusion.

But those men of virtuous deeds
In whom sin has come to an end,
Who are freed from the dual throng
Worship Me with firm resolve.

Those who realize Me
In the Adhibhuta, the Adhidaiva
and the Adhiyajna;
Steadfast in mind
Realize Me at departure too.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of Meditation )

Chapter 6

Lord Krishna said:

He who performs his duty
Without expectations of fruits;
He is a Sannyasi, he is a Yogi
Not he who is without fire and action.

Action is the means
For the Yoga-seeking Muni;
Serenity is the means
When he is fixed in Yoga.

Elevate your (lower) self by the (higher) Self
Do not lower your self;
The Self alone is the friend of oneself
The Self alone is the enemy of oneself.

Put a firm seat in a clean place,
Let it be neither too high nor too low;
Spread a cloth, over this spread a deer-skin
Over this spread Kusha-grass.

Hold erect the body, head and neck
Gaze at the tip of your nose;
Be serene and fearless
Be firm in the vow of celibacy.

Restrain the mind cautiously
Think on Me steadily;
Be balanced
Take Me as the Supreme Goal.

You cannot achieve success in Yoga
if you eat too much or too little;
If you sleep too much,
If you are always wakeful.

Be moderate in eating and recreation,
Be moderate in work;
Be moderate in sleeping and waking,
Then you will attain Yoga which kills pains.

Hold the intellect firm
Attain calmness slowly;
Fix the mind in the Self
Do not think of anything.

When the unsteady mind wanders away
Curb it again and again;
Withdraw it again and again
Fix it on the Self again and again.

The harmonized Yogi enjoys infinite bliss
He is not shaken even by heavy sorrow;
There is no greater gain than this for him
He becomes sinless and peaceful.

He sees the Self in all beings
And all beings in the Self;
He sees the one Self everywhere
He develops equal vision.

He who sees Me everywhere
And sees everything in Me;
He ever dwells in Me
I am not separate from him.

Arjuna said:

O Lord! How can I control the mind?
It is very restless and turbulent;
Its restraint I consider hard
Like controlling the wind.

Lord Krishna said:

Doubtless, O mighty-armed!
The mind is hard to restrain and restless;
By practice and dispassion, O Kaunteya!
It can be controlled.

Arjuna said:

A man has faith and practices
But he cannot control it;
What is his fate, O Krishna!
If he fails to attain perfection?

Lord Krishna said:

He attains the worlds of righteous
He dwells there for countless years;
He is reborn in a house of the pure and wealthy
Or he is born in the family of a wise Yogi.

He gets revival of the Knowledge
That was acquired in the former body;
He strives more than before for perfection
And attains complete success in Yoga.

A Yogi is superior to an ascetic
He is superior to even men of Knowledge;
He is also superior to men of action
Therefore be thou a Yogi, O Arjuna!

Among all Yogis
He who full of faith worships Me
With the Inner Self abiding in Me
He is the most completely harmonized.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of Renunciation of Action )

Chapter 5

Arjuna said:

O Krishna, which is better
Renunciation of action
or Yoga?
Tell me decisively.

Lord Krishna said:

Both lead to the highest bliss
But action is superior to renunciation;
Sanhkya and Yoga are one
He who is devoted to one obtains the
fruits of both.

The sage thinks: "I do not do anything"
He feels "I am the Silent Witness";
He knows: "The senses move among the
He knows: "Seeing, hearing are
Dharmas of the senses."

Neither agency nor activity
Does the Lord create for the world;
Nor union of action to fruit
It is only Nature that acts.

The sages think on That
They merge in That;
They are established in That
They are solely devoted to That.

They attain Immortality
They get illumination;
They do not return to the world
Their sins are destroyed by wisdom.

They have equal vision
They look with an equal eye
On a learned Brahmin, a cow
An elephant, a dog and an outcaste.

He who has withdrawn the mind
From the external objects
Who finds joy in the Inner Self alone
Attains endless bliss.

Sensual enjoyments generate pain
They have a beginning and an end
They wear out the senses
The wise do not rejoice in them.

He who has controlled
The impulse born from desire and anger
Before he is liberated from the body
He is a happy Yogin.

Eternal Peace is near to the controlled ascetics
Who are free from desire and anger
Who have controlled their thoughts
Who have realized the Self.

The sage shuts out all external contacts
He fixes the gaze between the eye-brows
He regulates the breath
He controls the senses,
the mind and the intellect.

He has liberation as his Supreme Goal
He frees himself from desires, fear and anger;
He meditates on the Self within
He attains the final emancipation.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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(The Yoga of Division of Wisdom )

Chapter 4

Lord Krishna said:

Whenever there is decay
Of righteousness, O Bharata!
And growth of unrighteousness,
Then I Myself come forth.

To protect the good
And destroy the evil-doers;
For establishing Dharma
I manifest from age to age.

In whatever way men approach Me
Even so do I welcome them;
And do I reward them
For the path from every side is Mine.

He who sees inaction in action
And action in inaction
He is wise among men
He is a Yogi while doing actions.

Be balanced in success and failure,
Give up fruits, hope, greed and envy;
Work with thoughts centered in Brahman -
No action will bind you.

Brahman is the oblation
Brahman is the clarified butter;
Brahman is the fire
Brahman is the giver of oblation.

Brahman shall be reached by him
Who always sees Brahman in action;
Therefore see Brahman in names and forms
Realize the essence and be free.

Some Yogis do sacrifice to Devas
The sages offer the Self in the fire of Brahman;
Some offer the senses in the fire of restraint
Others sacrifice the breath in the fire of Yoga.

Some offer wealth, austerity and study
Others sacrifice the outgoing breath
in the incoming
And the incoming in the outgoing.

Sacrifice of Wisdom is better
Than the sacrifice of objects;
Sacrifice purifies the heart
All actions culminate in wisdom.

Know That by prostration
By question and service;
The wise, the seers of Essence
Will instruct thee in wisdom.

Even if you are the worst sinner
You can cross sins by raft of Knowledge;
Just as fire burns the fuel
So does the fire of Knowledge burn all actions.

The man of faith and devotion
Who has subdued the senses
Attains wisdom
And reaches the abode of Supreme Peace.

But the ignorant and the faithless
The doubting self goes to destruction;
There is neither this world nor the other
Nor happiness for the doubting self.

Cleave asunder the ignorance-born doubt
With the sword of Wisdom;
Be established in Yoga
Stand up, O Bharata !

- - From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( Yoga of Action )

Chapter 3

Lord Krishna said:

In this world there is a twofold path
The path of Knowledge and the path of Action;
No one can remain actionless even for a second
The qualities force everyone to do action.

Do daily sacrifice unto the Devas
They will in turn nourish you;
Perform your duty constantly
without attachment
You will reach the Supreme.

Janaka attained perfection by action
The great man should set an example;
Then only ordinary people will follow him
Mark ! I Myself perform action though perfect.

The egoistic man thinks: "I am the doer"
In reality Prakriti does everything;
The Sage knows the qualities
and their functions
And so he is neither attached nor bound.

Have victory over likes and dislikes
They are obstructions of the path;
Destroy like by dispassion
Kill dislike by love.

Better one's own duty though devoid of merit
Than the duty of another well discharged;
Preferable is death in doing one's duty
The duty of another is fraught with fear.

Arjuna said:

O Lord ! What forces a man to commit sin
Even when he is unwilling?
There is indeed some driving force
That impels him to do this.

Lord Krishna said:

It is desire, it is anger born of Rajas
That forces him to commit sins;
Desire is transmuted into anger
When it is not gratified.

Desire and anger are your real enemies
They are all-consuming and all-polluting;
Desire dwells in the sense and the mind
It envelops wisdom and bewilders you.

Greater than the body is the sense
Greater than the senses is the mind;
Greater than the mind is the intellect
Greater than the intellect is the Lord.

Control first the sense
Kill the enemy desire;
Restrain the self by the Self
Know Him who is superior to intellect.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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( The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna ) - Chapter 1

Drona, Bhishma, Karna and others
Arrayed themselves in a line;
Yuyudhana, Bhima, Drupada and others
Were also ready to fight.

They all blew their conches
They were ready to fight;
At this critical juncture
Arjuna was moved by pity.

He said: "O Lord! I will not fight against
My Gurus, friends, relations;
It is a great sin
It will entail my troubles.

He threw away his bow and arrow
He was overcome with grief;
He became despondent
He sank down on the seat of chariot.


( Vedanta ) - Chapter 2

Lord Krishna encouraged Arjuna
He taught him Wisdom;
He spoke about the Immortality of the Soul
He said: "This Atman is birthless,
Deathless and Eternal."

The Blessed Lord said:

O Arjuna! Stand up! Be bold!
Just as a man throws his old cloaks
And puts on new clothes
This Jiva casts off old body
and takes a new body.

The soul cannot be cut by weapons
Fire cannot burn it
Water cannot wet it
Wind cannot dry it.

O Arjuna! Do your duty.
Fight, thou art a Kshatriya;
Do not bring disgrace on thee
Slain, you will obtain Heaven.

Be balanced in victory and defeat
In gain and loss, pleasure and pain:
Sin will not touch thee,
Work but never expect fruit.

Arjuna said:

What is the state of Sthitaprajna
How does he talk, sit and walk;
What are his characteristics
How can I recognize him?

The Blessed Lord said:

He is free from desires, I-ness and mine-ness
He is satisfied in his own Inner Self;
He is free from attachment, fear and anger,
He is balanced in pleasure and pain.

He has neither likes nor dislikes
His understanding is well-poised;
He has control over his mind and the senses,
He ever rests in his own Self or Brahman.

- From ' Essence of Gita in Poems ' By Swami Sivananda

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He who sees that the Lord of all is ever the same in all that is -- immortal in the field of mortality -- he sees the truth. And when a man sees that the God in himself is the same God in all that is, he hurts not himself by hurting others. Then he goes, indeed, to the highest path.

( 13.27-28 )

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Learn that Yoga, by practicing which the mind held within itself rejoices, the self seeing the Self, delights in the Self.

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Surrender your ego to me,
O beloved Arjuna. Place your trust in me. Invest your heart in me, and I will surely lead you to victory in this life and liberation hereafter.

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