The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation

The Holy Lord said:
He who performs bounden duty
Without desiring action’s fruit–
He is a renouncer, yogi,
Not he without fire or action. (1)

Know that to be karma yoga
Which also is called renouncement,
None becomes a karma yogi
Without renouncing inner deeds. (2)

Desiring to attain yoga,
The wise use action as the means;
For him who has attained yoga,
Tranquility becomes the means. (3)

When he is attached neither to
The sense objects nor to actions,
And has renounced all purposing,
He’s said to have attained yoga. (4)

He should lift himself by the Self;
He should never degrade himself;
The Self is indeed the self’s friend,
And the self’s only enemy. (5)

For him who has conquered himself
By the Self, the Self is a friend;
But for him who has not conquered
Himself, the Self remains a foe. (6)

The highest Self of him who has
Conquered himself and is peaceful,
Is steadfast in cold, heat, pleasure,
Pain; and honor and dishonor. (7)

The yogi who is content in
Knowledge and discrimination,
With senses conquered–unto him
Earth, stone, and gold are all the same. (8)

He attains eminence who looks
The same on well-wishers, friends, foes,
Neutral to enemies and kin,
The righteous and the unrighteous. (9)

Constantly concentrating on
The Self, the yogi should remain
Alone, with thought and self controlled,
Without desires or possessions. (10)

Establishing for himself in
A clean place, not too high or low,
Covered with a cloth and with a
Antelope skin and kusha grass, (11)

With mind one-pointed, thought controlled,
Senses subdued, let him sit there
On that seat and practice yoga
For his self-purification. (12)

Holding his body, head, and neck
Erect, motionless and steady,
Looking t’ward the tip of his nose
Steadfastly, not looking around. (13)

With mind quieted, fear banished,
Firm in the brahmachari’s vow,
With mind controlled, thoughts fixed on Me,
He should sit, devoted to Me. (14)

Always disciplining himself,
The yogi whose mind is subdued
Goes to nirvana, supreme peace,
And attains to union with Me. (15)

Yoga is not eating too much,
Nor is it not eating at all.
Not the habit of too much sleep,
Nor keeping awake, Arjuna. (16)

For the moderate in eating
And in diversion, disciplined,
Moderate in sleep and waking,
Yoga destroys all his sorrow.1 (17)

When he is absorbed in the Self
Alone, and with his mind controlled,
Free from longing, from all desires,
Then he is known to be steadfast. (18)

As a lamp in a windless place
Flickers not–to such is compared
The yogi with his mind controlled,
Steadfast in yoga of the Self. (19)

When the mind comes to rest, restrained,
By the practicing of yoga,
Beholding the Self by the self,
He is satisfied in the Self. (20)

When he feels that infinite bliss–
Through his purified intellect–
Which transcends the senses; then set
In his true state he is steadfast. (21)

Having obtained this, he regards
No other gain better than that,
And established therein he is
Not moved by heaviest sorrow. (22)

Let that which is called yoga be
Known as the state of severance
From pain, and which should be practiced
With perseverance, undisturbed. (23)

Abandoning wilful desires–
All of them without exception–
Also completely restraining
The many senses by the mind. (24)

With intellect set in patience,
With the mind fastened on the self,
He gains quietude by degrees:
Let him not think of any thing. (25)

Whenever the unsteady mind,
Moving here and there, wanders off,
He should subdue and hold it back–
Direct it to the Self’s control. (26)

The yogi whose mind is tranquil
With passions calmed, free of evil,
Having become one with Brahman,
Attains the supreme happiness. (27)

Thus constantly disciplining
Himself, and freed from all evil,
Easily contacting Brahman,
He attains boundless happiness. (28)

He, disciplined by yoga, sees
The Self present in all beings,
And all beings within the Self.
He sees the same Self at all times. (29)

The one who sees Me ev’rywhere,
And who sees all things within Me;
I am never lost unto him,
Nor is he ever lost to Me. (30)

He, established in unity,
Worships Me dwelling in all things,
Whatever be his mode of life,
That yogi e’er abides in Me. (31)

He who judges pleasure or pain
By the same standard ev’rywhere,
That he applies unto himself,
That yogi is deemed the highest. (32)

Arjuna said:
This yoga which is taught by You
Characterized by evenness,
I do not see how it endures,
Owing to the mind’s restlessness. (33)

The mind is restless, turbulent,
Strong, and unyielding, O Krishna;
I deem it is hard to control–
As hard as to control the wind. (34)

The Holy Lord said:
Without doubt the mind is restless
And is difficult to control;
But through practice and dispassion
It may be governed, Kunti’s son. (35)

Yoga is hard to be attained
By one whose self is uncontrolled;
But that one who is self-controlled,
Striving by right means, attains it. (36)

Arjuna said:
Possessed of faith, but uncontrolled,
With mind wandering from yoga,
What is the end of him who fails
To gain perfection in yoga? (37)

Does he not, fallen from both,2 then
Perish, supportless, a torn cloud,
O mighty-armed, deluded in
The path that leads unto Brahman? (38)

This doubt of mine, O Keshava,
You should now completely dispel;
It is not possible for aught
But You to dispel this my doubt. (39)

The Holy Lord said:
Verily, O son of Pritha,
There is no destruction for him
Neither here nor hereafter, for
Doers of good ne’er come to grief. (40)

He gains the worlds of the righteous,
And dwells there throughout countless years;
Then the fallen yogi takes birth
Among the pure and prosperous. (41)

Or else he will be born into
A family of wise yogis;
Verily, a birth such as that
Is hard to obtain in this world. (42)

There he regains the knowledge which
He acquired in his former life,
And strives even more than before,
For perfection, O Kuru’s son. (43)

His previous practice alone
Impels him on the yogic path–
He who just asks about yoga
Rises above the Vedic rites. (44)

That yogi, striving earnestly,
Pure from taint, gradually gains
Perfection throughout many births
And thus reaches the highest goal. (45)

The yogi is regarded as
Superior to ascetics,
And jnanis, or doers of works–
Then be a yogi, Arjuna! (46)

Of all the yogis, he who with
The inner self merged into Me,
With faith devoted unto Me,
I deem him as the most steadfast. (47)

Om Tat Sat Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the sixth discourse entitled: The Yoga of Meditation.

Read the next Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization


1) “For him who is moderate in food and diversion, whose actions are disciplined, who is moderate in sleep and waking, yoga destroys all sorrow.” [Go back]

2) Both worlds–the here and the hereafter, earth and heaven. [Go back]

Text of the Bhagavad Gita for Singing:

Read the Maharshi Gita, an arrangement of verses of the Bhagavad Gita made by Sri Ramana Maharshi that gives an overview of the essential message of the Gita. Read the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening, a full commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri).

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