Bhagavad Gita with Commentaries of Ramanuja | Discourse 6 verse 16-32

nāty-aśnatas-tu yogo’sti na caikāntam-anaśnataḥ|
na cāti svapnaśīlasya jāgrato naiva cārjuna || 16 ||

16. Yoga is not for one who over-eats, nor for one who fasts excessively; nor for one who sleeps too much, nor for one who stays awake for lengthy periods, O Arjuna.

yuktāhāra vihārasya yukta ceṣṭasya karmasu |
yukta svapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥsvahā|| 17 ||

17. Yoga becomes the destroyer of sorrow for one who is moderate in food and recreation, who is temperate in actions, who is moderate in sleep and wakefulness.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is stating that over eating and too little eating as well as extreme activity and complete inactivity are all detrimental to yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness.

The same applies for excessive sleep and not enough sleep as well as over indulgence in work which causes exhaustion and hence idleness.

To that person who is disciplined in eating habits and exercise, who is regulated in sleep and waking then meditation becomes the panacea for life's afflictions and the royal path out of samsāra or the endless cycle of birth and death.

yadāviniyataṃcittam-ātmany-evāvatiṣṭhate |
niḥspṛhaḥsarva-kāmebhyo yukta ity-ucyate sadā|| 18 ||

18. When the subdued mind rests in the Self alone, then, free from all craving for objects of desire, one is said to be 'harmonised'.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The words ātmany evāvatiṣṭhate means exclusively established in the ātma or soul. This means the ātma has become the highest goal and only object of endeavour.

When the mind has been so tutored and regimented to be fixed and riveted to the ātma so that it never strays away; it is simultaneously and automatically weaned from all desires for sense gratification having not the slightest interest to enjoy the objects of the senses.

Lord Krishna is stating that at this time an aspirant is considered to possess the necessary qualifications to begin practising mediation.

yathādīpo nivātasthe neṅgate sopamāsmṛtā|
yogino yata-cittasya yuñjato yogam-ātmanaḥ|| 19 ||

19. The controlled mind of a Yogi who practices Yoga is compared to a lamp which does not flicker when placed in a windless spot.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

As a candle flame when sheltered from the wind will not flicker but burns bright and steady.

The word smṛtā means evidenced and is cited by those who are experienced in the science of meditation and used as a simile to illustrate how meditation on the ātma or soul becomes steady and effulgent

to that yogi or one perfected in the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness who concentrates upon the ātma after withdrawing the mind from every other objects of attention.

Lord Krishna is stating that the ātma shines steady and radiant in the light of meditative spiritual intelligence by reason that all extraneous and miscellaneous distractions of the mind have been sequestered out exactly as a candle flame shines constant and bright when all wind has been sequestered out from around it.

yatroparamate cittaṃniruddhaṃyoga-sevayā|
yatra caivātmanā’tmānaṃpaśyann-ātmani tuṣyati || 20 ||

20. When the mind, restrained by the practice of Yoga, attains that Infinite Bliss, and when seeing the ātman by the mind, one is satisfied by the ātman alone;

sukham-ātyantikaṃyat-tad-buddhi-grāhyam-atīndriyam |
vetti yatra na caivāyaṃsthitaś-calati tattvataḥ|| 21 ||

21. when one knows that intense joy which can be experienced by the intellect but is beyond the grasp of the senses, wherein established one departs not from that condition;

yaṃlabdhvācāparaṃlābhaṃmanyate nādhikaṃtataḥ|
yasmin sthito na duḥkhena guruṇā’pi vicālyate || 22 ||

22. having gained which, one considers that there is no greater gain than it; wherein established, one is not moved even by the heaviest sorrow—

taṃvidyād duḥkha saṃyoga viyogaṃyogasaṃjñitam |
sa niścayena yoktavyo yogo ‘nirviṇṇa cetasā|| 23 ||

23. know this [state] of deliverance from association with suffering to be Yoga. This Yoga must be practiced with determination and with a mind free from despondency.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is revealing the superior meditation wherein as a result of dedicated effort one completely immerses their mind in the delight of spiritual transcendence,

wherein as the mind perceiving the ātma or soul receives the greatest satisfaction and contentment realising there is nothing else to be desired for,

wherein the consciousness experiences that sublime and ineffable bliss beyond the scope of the senses to comprehend, wherein once established one never for a moment has the desire to relinquish the exquisite bliss experienced,

wherein perfection of meditation is even once achieved one desires nothing else even in the times of not meditating,

and wherein once established whether immersed in meditation or on the way to perfection one does not become shaken by adversity or disturbed by afflictions even as grave and devastating as the premature death of a beloved family member,

One should learn this superior meditation which severs all connection with sorrow and misery.

Knowing the intrinsic nature of meditation to be thus one should perform meditation with full trust and faith, free from all doubts with the mind happy and content.

saṅkalpa prabhavān kāmāṃs-tyaktvāsarvān-aśeṣataḥ|
manasaivendriya-grāmaṃviniyamya samantataḥ|| 24 ||

24. Renouncing without reserve, all desires born of imagination (sankalpa) and completely restraining the whole group of senses by the mind from all directions;

śanaiḥ śanairu-paramed buddhyādhṛti-gṛhītayā|
ātma-saṃsthaṃmanaḥkṛtvāna kiñcid-api cintayet || 25 ||

25. —very gradually, one should attain tranquility with the help of the intellect held by a firm resolution; having focused the mind upon the ātman one should think of nothing else.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Desires are of a two-fold nature:

Sparsa-ja, which arise from the impulses of the physical body and sankalpa-ja, which arise from the impulses of the mind or mental origin.

Sparsa-ja includes desires for cold or for hot, or for sweet or for salty, or the lack of such. Sankalpa-ja includes desires for wealth, fame, dominion, progeny and such.

With great effort it is possible to abandon the desires of the mind by avoiding thinking about them. It is also possible to resist the sensations of pleasure and pain with an attitude of indifference;

but between the two the desires of the mind are more easy to abandon because it is not possible to avert the sensations of the body.

Thus it is necessary to comprehensively and systematically neutralise the senses from their external corresponding sense objects. This should be undertaken gradually by degrees with determination and a resolute will.

Then in due course of time the mind will be weaned from all things except the eternal ātma or soul and absorbed exclusively in the ātma, one thinks of nothing else.

This is the meaning Lord Krishna intended.

yato yato niścarati manaś-cañcalam asthiraṃ|
tatas-tato niyamyaitad-ātmanyeva vaśaṃnayet || 26 ||

26. Wherever the fickle and unsteady mind wanders, one should subdue it then and there, and bring it back under the control of the Self alone.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is explaining that whither ever so ever the fickle mind flutters and flickers about to wander in infatuation away from the ātma or soul in pursuit of the objects of the senses,

let all efforts be made to withdraw the mind therefrom and guide it back persuading it convincingly the fact that the ātma itself is the supreme goal of happiness.

praśānta manasaṃhyenaṃyoginaṃsukham-uttamam |
upaiti śānta rajasaṃbrahma-bhūtam akalmaṣam || 27 ||

27. Supreme bliss indeed, comes to this Yogi whose mind is at peace, who is free from unskilful action, from whom the quality of Rajas has departed, and who has become the Brahman.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

A peaceful mind means a mind immovably situated in constant mediation on the ātma or soul.

Once this is accomplished it is quite natural that the yogi, attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness by dhyāna or meditation, soon has all blemishes and sins completely purged.

The words śānta rajasaṃ means the quality of rajas or passion has become śānta or peaceful.

Hence one becomes imbued with the qualities of the Brahmam or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and which also refers to the ātma and re- establishes one into their true essence of spiritual splendour.

To such a yogi comes ātma tattva or realisation of the soul and exquisite and phenomenal transcendental felicity.

The word used by Lord Krishna hi meaning verily, is an indeclinable particle which gives a reason denoting that by the reason of ātma tattva being essentially blissful the yogi becomes blissful as well.

yuñjann-evaṃsadā’tmānaṃyogīvigata kalmaṣaḥ|
sukhena brahma saṃsparśam atyantaṃsukham-aśnute || 28 ||

28. Thus devoting oneself to the Yoga of the Self-realisation, freed from mental impurities, the Yogi easily attains the supreme bliss of contact with the Brahman.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Exclusively dedicated to the ātma or soul the yogi by dhyāna or meditation is relieved from all the vast, past accumulation of sins and receives infinite bliss arising from directly experiencing contact with the ātma.

Lord Krishna speaks the words brahma- saṃsparśam which means communion with paramātmā the supreme soul and ultimate consciousness, by this one becomes liberated from the material existence.

The words atyantaṃ means endless, sukham means ecstasy and aśnute means easily. The yogi who gives constant attention to the transcendental inner nature reaches perfection easily.

Next the four levels of mature meditation will be described in the following four verses.

sarva-bhūtastham ātmānaṃsarva-bhūtāni cātmani |
īkṣate yoga-yuktātmāsarvatra sama-darśanaḥ|| 29 ||

29.  With the mind harmonised by Yoga one sees equality everywhere; one sees one’s Self as abiding in all beings and all beings in one’s own Self.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The words sarvatra sama-darśana means equal vision everywhere. This means realising the ātma or soul that abides in oneself and abides in other beings is of the same transcendental essence in all beings equally.

This is perceived by spiritual consciousness and this transcendental essence is an attribute equally present in all ātma's.

The equality, sameness and luminosity of the ātma has been perceived by those recipients of mokṣa or liberation when the ātma is divested of its connection with the physical body and material nature.

Inequality as well as indifference and indolence arise from designating the ātma as being non-different from the myriad of multifarious physical manifestations the ātma is embodied by.

The yogi, who mature in dhyāna or meditation has achieved ātma tattva or realisation of the soul, does not discern any differences in the myriad of multifarious physical manifestations but perceives the ātma wherever it may reside in whatever physical or subtle body it manifests in.

This is perceived by the ātma's inherent and essential attribute of transcendental consciousness existing equally in all beings.

Such is actual equal vision and one who perceives the ātma abiding within oneself is of exactly the same essence, nature and quality as the ātma perceived abiding in other beings realises that such beings are equal in this respect.

The conclusion of what Lord Krishna is stating is that all ātma's are eternal, from one eternal essence and that when one's own ātma has been realised and perceived then every beings ātma is realised and be perceived.

yo māṃpaśyati sarvatra sarvaṃca mayi paśyati |
tasyāhaṃna praṇaśyāmi sa ca me na praṇaśyati || 30 ||

30. He who sees Me everywhere and everything in Me; I am not separated from him and he is never separated from Me.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

One advanced in yoga gravitates in proximity to Lord Krishna's eternal and divine, transcendental nature in the manner as prescribed in the Vedic scriptures, impeccable without a blemish such a one attains to supreme equanimity.

Whosoever realises that the nature of the eternal ātma or soul is identical in essence and purity, transcendental to all dualities and is comparable to the Supreme Lord Krishna

and who so perceiving realises that Lord Krishna is the essence of the ātma as well and that all ātma's are in Him, and seeing one's own ātma in oneself as well as the ātma's in all other beings

have realised the ultimate truth and Lord Krishna is no longer veiled from them because one's nature has become the same as His and He accepts them as His own Self and always reveals Himself to them in their hearts.

sarva-bhūta-sthitaṃyo māṃbhajaty-ekatvam-āsthitaḥ|
sarvathāvartmāno’pi sa yogīmayi vartate || 31 ||

31. The Yogi who, established in unity, worships Me dwelling in all beings, he abides in Me, howsoever he may live.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

A yogi, who is more advanced in dhyāna or meditation is described here by Lord Krishna.

The words ekatvam āsthitaḥ means established in singular unity. This means eschewing the conception of differences arising from the appearance of material conditions and designations.

It also infers the expansion of consciousness during meditation to realise the reality of Lord Krishna's omnipresence everywhere in everything.

The word sarvathā means in all circumstances. This means whether consciously performing prescribed Vedic activities or immersed in meditation, whatever condition one happens to be situated in,

the yogi who is far advanced perceiving paramātmā or the Supreme Soul in himself as well as all beings is always perceiving and relishing the presence of the Supreme Lord and worshipping Him at all times.

The words mayi varttate meaning exists within Lord Krishna:

This means by dint of always meditating solely on Him, one experiences his own ātma or soul as well as the ātma or soul of all beings and perceives that all ātma's are of the same eternal essence as the Supreme Lord's.

ātmaupamyena sarvatra samaṃpaśyati yo’rjuna |
sukhaṃvāyadi vāduḥkhaṃsa yogīparamo mataḥ|| 32 ||

32. One who, by reason of the identity of Jīvas, sees that pleasure or pain is the same everywhere; that Yogi, O Arjuna, is deemed as the highest.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

One even more advanced in yoga realises the intrinsic uniqueness and sublime sameness of all ātma's or souls as having the nature of omniscience and omnipresence although residing in unlimited variegated physical and subtle bodies.

Fully comprehending that the ātma has no connection with material nature the yogi looks upon all dualities such as happiness and affliction like one is the same as the other

and this applies whether circumstances befall unto such a yogi or befall unto others such as the happiness of an infant being born or the affliction of a parent dying.

This means it is one and the same for such a yogi regarding their own offspring and parents as it is regarding other peoples offspring and parents.

Such a yogi who is so far advanced as to regard both happiness and affliction equally with the same sublime indifference is qualified to be known as the best of yogi's.