Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) - Chapter VI 35-36

May 21, 2022

arjuna uvāca
™ayatiḥ śraddhayo ’peto yogāc calitamānasaḥ
aprāpya yogasaṁsiddhiṁ kāṁ gatiṁ kṛṣṇa gacchati  (VI-35)

™kaccin no ’bhayavibraṣṭaś chinnābhram iva naśyati
apratiṣṭho mahābāho vimūḍho brahmaṇaḥ pathi (VI-36)

™etan me saṁśayaṁ kṛṣṇa chettum arhasy aśeṣataḥ
tvadanyaḥ saṁśayasyā ’sya chettā na hy upapadyate (VI-37)

VI/35. Arjuna said: He who is unable to control himself though
he has faith, and whose mind wanders away from yoga,
what end does he, having failed to attain perfection in
yoga, meet, O Krishna?

VI/36. Fallen from both, does he not perish like a rent cloud,
supportless, O mighty-armed, deluded on the path of

VI/37. This doubt of mind, O Krishna, do thou dispel completely;
because it is not possible for any but thee to dispel
this doubt.

Swamiji's Commentary

  The greatest aid to control of mind is the realization that the uncontrolled mind is our worst foe and sooner or later it must be controlled (and will be) before we can reach the goal. Well then, why not now?

      Practice makes everything perfect. No one achieves proficiency in anything without persistent practice with ever-increasing intensity. If two slices of bread do not appease our hunger, we ask for more, but if two hours’ meditation is not enough to still our mind, we do not prolong and intensify it, but abandon meditation altogether! Why this illogical approach?

      In the word ‘practice’ are included several allied practices like yoga postures (āsana), prāṇāyāma  (breathing),  study  of  scriptures,  repetition  of  holy  names  and  singing hymns. ‘Practice’ should not be merely repetitive and dull. Practice is alertness, constant vigilance.

      However, practice alone will not do. Practice without vairāgya (dispassion) only helps us to master the technique of mind control, but not to control the mind. If we are strongly attached to the pleasures of the senses while ‘practicing’ to free ourselves from them, we labour aimlessly and vainly, like drunken men who row a boat the whole night without first loosening the chain that binds it to the shore! We might develop our muscles but we will not reach our destination.

Vairāgya is inner absence of infatuated desire or craving. It is not ‘running away’ but ‘turning away’ from worldly pleasures. Even with wide open eyes, while moving about in the world, the gaze is turned within; and the yogi thus perceives the Lord in and through the while moving about in the world, the gaze is turned within; and the yogi thus perceives the Lord in and through the world. He neither shuns the world nor clings to it, but pierces the veil and perceives the Lord. That is true vairāgya or dispassion.

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