Gita Daily Readings

May 21st
Chapter Six: 35-36
The blessed Lord said: Undoubtedly, Oh mighty-armed Arjuna, the mind is difficult to control and restless; but by practice and by dispassion it may be restrained.

I think yoga is hard to be attained by one of uncontrolled self, but the self-controlled and striving one can attain to it by the proper means.

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 (asanas), pranayama (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 vairagya (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 labor 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.

Vairagya 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 world. He neither shuns the world nor clings to it, but pierces the veil and perceives the Lord. That is true vairagya or dispassion.

Web Editor's Notes

Copyright 1997
Commercial use of all content without permission is prohibited.