Gita Daily Readings

May 8th
Chapter Six: 10-11
Let the yogi try constantly to keep the mind steady, remaining in solitude, alone with the mind and the self controlled, and free from hope and greed.

In a clean spot, having established a firm seat of his own, neither too high nor too low, made of a cloth, a skin and kusha-grass, one over the other...

Commentary

Now follows practical instruction on the art of meditation. It is not as if God is somebody else upon whom we meditate. When the wandering self abandons its pleasure-seeking misadventure, God-consciousness is experienced. The effort put forth is more to restrain this waywardness of the mind than to "see" anything. Seeing sights and hearing sounds are often subtler expressions of the waywardness of the mind. Patanjali (the author of Raja Yoga Sutra) asks us to beware of them.

The "hope and greed" mentioned here need not necessarily be restricted to worldliness. Even greed for rapid spiritual evolution may be included, for such greed will inevitably give the ego the best chance to present illusions of supernormal phenomena and thus distract the self from its higher pursuits.

Solitude is important; we should choose for the following practice a place and a time where and when we are not likely to be disturbed and where, therefore, our attention is secure. However, true solitude is psychological and inward - the knowledge that you and I are alone in this world.

A clean spot refers not only to physical and outward cleanliness, but also to the "atmosphere" of the place. It should be holy - associated with God. In meditation the mind becomes extremely subtle and is therefore subject to the very vibrations in the atmosphere.

The seat should neither be too low (thus subject to disturbance from insects) nor too high (causing fear of a fall). The prescribed seat of grass, skin (deer-skin) and cloth prevents the body from being affected by the condition of the earth and also preserves the inner magnetic force, preventing it from being "earthed" and lost.

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