Sung by God: VI (The Way of Contemplation)

The Yogi remains equanimous in all situations, knowing that everything is bound to the One.

Sung by God: VI (The Way of Contemplation)

God said: That man who performs his duties well,

Without depending on their impending results,

 Is no doubt a renunciate, a veritable yogi;

But not he who forsakes fire and rituals.

That which is called renunciation, O Pandav,

Know the same thing to be yoga, forsooth;

For one who hasn’t renounced his desires

Can never be described as a yogi in truth.

Action is ordained as that man’s bid

Who aspires to scale yoga’s summit;

Inaction is likewise reserved for those

Who have already achieved that feat.


For when he has given up his attachment

To objects of sense and to actions as well –

With all his desires renounced – it is then

That a man is said to have mastered yoga well.

One must rescue oneself from oneself,

Without ever letting oneself down;

For one is indeed one’s own friend,

As also the enemy of one’s own.

One’s self becomes his one true friend

Once he has conquered that self;

But the same would make an enemy of him

Who lacks control over himself.


The Supreme Self ever shines through him

Who has conquered himself and is the same

In cold and in heat, and who is always at peace

In pleasure or pain, in honour or shame.

The one whose self has become content

By knowledge and by its realisation,

The one who is steadfast and temperate,

Is known as the yogi; and his is the vision

Who sees pebbles and gold with the same eye;

For the yogi is ever yoked to the source.

  Thus the yogi, unwavering and firm,

 Dwells in the Atman, basking in its force.


He’s the supernal yogi who regards equally

The benefactor, the friend, the enemy,

The neutral side, the arbiter, the hater,

The kinsfolk, the saint and the sinner.

The yogi, forever yoked to the Atman

 Dwells all alone in secret, in full possession

Of his mind and body, becoming free from

All expectation as well as acquisition.

Let him find a clean space for a steady seat,

That is neither too high nor too low;

One which is made by placing successively

Cloth, deerskin, and some kusha-grass down below.


Placing himself on that seat, with all his thoughts

Focused on a single object; thereby bringing

All actions of his mind and senses under control,

He may engage in yoga to purify his being.

Holding his body, head and neck in a single line,

Sitting erect and still, focusing his vision

On the tip of his nose, and forbidding his eyes

From running to and fro, free of distraction,

With a tranquil mind, purged of fear,

Duly observing the vows of a celibate,

His mind restrained and fixed on Me,

He may sit yoked to Me, fully intent.


Keeping himself thus focused for ever,

The yogi with a restrained mind

Attains to that Peace Absolute which

Brings nirvana, which in Me men find.

And yet, O Arjun! You must understand

That yoga is not for the glutton,

Nor is it meant for him who only fasts;

 These lack moderation for certain.

He who sleeps too long as a habit,

And he who keeps awake forever

Do not qualify to become yogis:

In this Path, the extremes aren’t favoured.


But the one who sleeps and wakes in discipline,

Who moderately eats and moves about,

He who strives at work with measured steps –

In him indeed yoga puts all sufferings to rout.

 Freed from the lust of all desired things,

He’s then said to be yoked in discipline,

When with a restrained mind such a one

Dwells only in the Atman within.

Like a candle in a windless chamber –

So goes the analogy for the yogin

For his mind likewise flickers not,

It is ever steady in pointed discipline.


When his mind, thus steadied for yoga,

Withdraws itself from the outer sphere;

And when the yogi, through such efforts,

Revels in Atman, seeing It in Its own mirror;

When he tastes the Bliss Absolute, rarest of all,

Found through discernment, beyond the senses –

And being in which state never drifts from the Truth,

And gaining which he needs no more recompenses;

Such a station, where great tragedies touch him not,

Such a station, where all agonies melt away,

Is known as yoga. Indeed, ‘tis practiced by those

Whose minds nothing can ever dismay.


Exhausting all desires for the results of actions,

Reining in thy senses by the mind from all sides,

Fixing all thoughts on Atman thro’ steadied reason,

Shedding doubts, withdraw the mind in gradual strides!

  Withdraw it from each of those objects to which

The capricious and feverish mind runs;

This is how you must subdue it, this is how

It must be kept from taking wild turns.

The Bliss Absolute descends on that yogi, who

Possesses a tranquil mind, who has vanquished

The impulses of activity, who’s merged with Brahman,

And in whom all sins have been extinguished.


Thus yoked to the Source within, for ever,

The yogi, wiped of all sins, with ease

Basks in the ecstasy of dwelling with Brahman –

And this gives him the Highest Bliss.

 The soul who is yoked to the discipline of yoga,

Attains the divine sameness of vision;

Thro’ which he sees his Atman in all beings,

And in his Atman the whole of creation.

He who finds Me in all and finds all in Me,

Neither am I lost to him, nor is he lost to Me.

Finding this unity, he who worships the omnipresent Me,

Such a yogi, whatever be his station, ever abides in Me.


O Arjun! He who treats everyone as he would himself –

In joy or in sorrow – such a yogi is deemed the best.

Then Arjun spoke thus: O Slayer of Madhu! You speak

Of yoga achieved in the equanimous mind, at rest;

But I cannot see how one can possibly stay in it for ever,

Because, O Krishna! The mind is never at rest –

The mind is capricious, turbulent, feverish, tenacious!

Subduing it is harder than taming the wind’s unrest.

  God replied: O Great Armed Warrior! Doubtless, it is true

That the mind is restless and hard to subdue;

But, O Son of Kunti! You must know that it is possible;

By practice and detachment, one can win through.


Granted, the discipline of yoga is hard to attain

For those who lack proper self-control,

But those who can restrain themselves and persist

In the right course, may achieve that goal.

To this Arjun enquired: O Krishna! What happens

When one strays from the path of yoga;

Though he may have shraddha, but lacking in self-control

If he falls from the ideal, to what end does he go?

Is he not lost forever, losing both this world and the other,

Bewildered in the pursuit of Brahman, helpless;

O Mighty Armed Lord! Does he not get deviated,

Deflected like the scattered clouds, directionless?


O Krishna! You must cut this doubt asunder

And leave no trace of it in my mind;

For I see no one more suited than yourself

Who may dispel this suspicion of mine!

Thus entreated, the Beauteous Lord replied:

Son of Pritha! Neither does he get lost here,

Nor hereafter; for, my dear, none striving for welfare

Meets a wretched end on their path, ever!

One who falls from the path of discipline,

Attains such worlds where saints dwell;

And having dwelt there for endless years he’s born

In the house of such pious folks who’re doing well.

Or else he is born in the families of yogis themselves –

Those who’ve gained enlightenment; for in this world

There are very few things that are harder to come by

Than such a birth into which the fallen yogi is hurled.

There he picks up the same mental discipline

As was developed in his previous lives,

And then, O Joy of Kurus! With redoubled efforts

 For attainment of perfection, he strives!

Indeed, like a powerless device he is driven

By the sheer force of his past practice;

A mere enquiry into the discipline of yoga

Makes him transcend the Veda: he has no need for this.


The yogi who strives with diligence,

Rids himself of sins whatsoever;

And having passed through his numerous lives

Attains perfection – and thereby the Highest Sphere.

 Greater than the ascetic is regarded the yogi,

Greater than the man of knowledge too,

Greater than the man of action is he; O Arjun!

Therefore to be a yogi is best for you.

And moreover, among all the yogis,

I regard that man to be the best,

Who with his innermost being fixed on Me,

Adores Me with shraddha: he is blessed.

About Author: Sreejit Datta

Sreejit Datta teaches English and Cultural Studies at the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University in Mysore. Variously trained in comparative literature, Hindustani music and statistics; Sreejit happens to be an acclaimed vocalist who has been regularly performing across multiple Indian and non-Indian genres. He can be reached at: Email: Blogs:

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