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Bhagavadgītā (Bhagavad Gita): Chapter VI (Dhyānayoga)
Yoga of meditation
Arjuna will be now properly instructed by Lord Kṛṣṇa about the Yoga of meditation. Listen to His words...
Important: All that is in brackets and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphen (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me. Besides, although I have not written any commentary on each stanza, I have added my own notes when a more detailed explanation is needed. In addition, note that I will use inverted commas to delimit text only when the person speaking is not Sañjaya himself (the narrator). Therefore, the words spoken by Sañjaya will not be delimited by inverted commas or quotation marks.
Chapter 6: Dhyānayoga (Yoga of meditation)
अनाश्रितः कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति यः।
स सन्न्यासी च योगी च न निरग्निर्न चाक्रियः॥१॥
Anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ|
Sa sannyāsī ca yogī ca na niragnirna cākriyaḥ||1||
Venerable (śrī) Bhagavān (bhagavān)1 said (uvāca):
"He (saḥ) (is) a sannyāsī --i.e. one who practices renunciation-- (sannyāsī) and (ca... ca) a yogī (yogī) who (yaḥ) does (karoti) action(s) (karma) (while) he is indifferent to or not dependant upon (anāśritaḥ) (its) --of the action-- effect (kāryam), viz. the fruit (phalam) of the action (karma), (but) not (na) one who does not maintain a (sacred) fire (niragniḥ) nor (na ca) one who is inactive and abstains from religious rites (akriyaḥ)2"||1||
1 Lit. "The Divine or Adorable One", or also "The Fortunate One", i.e. Lord Kṛṣṇa.
2 The terms "niragniḥ" and "akriyaḥ" have multiple meanings in the opinions of different commentators. For example, according to Baladeva, the former means "agnihotrādikarmatyāgī yativeśaḥ sannyāsī" or "a sannyāsī who, having become an ascetic, has renounced the rites 'agnihotra', etc." (the word "agnihotra" literally means "oblation to Agni --the god of fire--"). In turn, the latter (i.e. akriyaḥ) is interpreted by the sage Baladeva as "śarīrakarmatyāgyardhamudritanetro yogī" or "a yogī who, having renounced the bodily activities, remains with his eyes half-closed". Baladeva's interpretation practically coincides with that of Viśvanātha, but differs from those of other commentators. Of course, as Baladeva and Viśvanātha even taught together, it is not surprising that their opinions are as good as similar. I made my own translations of those two words as literal and comprehensive as possible.
यं सन्न्यासमिति प्राहुर्योगं तं विद्धि पाण्डव।
न ह्यसन्न्यस्तसङ्कल्पो योगी भवति कश्चन॥२॥
Yaṁ sannyāsamiti prāhuryogaṁ taṁ viddhi pāṇḍava|
Na hyasannyastasaṅkalpo yogī bhavati kaścana||2||
"Oh son of Pāṇḍu (pāṇḍava)1, know (viddhi) that (tad) which (yam) (the wise) called (prāhuḥ) 'renunciation' (sannyāsam iti) (to be) Yoga (yogam), because (hi) nobody (na... kaścana) who has not given up (his) desire (for the fruits of actions) (a-sannyasta-saṅkalpaḥ) is (bhavati) a yogī (yogī)"||2||
1 Epithet for Arjuna.
आरुरुक्षोर्मुनेर्योगं कर्म कारणमुच्यते।
योगारूढस्य तस्यैव शमः कारणमुच्यते॥३॥
Ārurukṣormuneryogaṁ karma kāraṇamucyate|
Yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śamaḥ kāraṇamucyate||3||
"For the sage (muneḥ) who desires to ascend (ārurukṣoḥ) to (the stage of) Yoga (yogam)1, action (karma) is said to be (ucyate) the cause (kāraṇam). For the one (tasya eva) who has ascended (ārūḍhasya) to (the stage of) Yoga (yoga)2, serenity (śamaḥ)3 is said to be (ucyate) the cause (kāraṇam)"||3||
1 "Jñānayoga" (Yoga of Knowledge) according to Śrīdhara.
3 "Samādhi" (Perfect Concentration) according to Śrīdhara.
यदा हि नेन्द्रियार्थेषु न कर्मस्वनुषज्जते।
Yadā hi nendriyārtheṣu na karmasvanuṣajjate|
"Undoubtedly (hi), when (yadā) one is neither attached (na... anusajjate) to the objects (artheṣu) of the senses (indriya) nor (na) actions (karmasu), that (person) (tad) is said (ucyate) to have renounced (sannyāsī) all (sarva) saṅkalpa-s --desires and ideas-- (saṅkalpa) (and) ascended (ārūḍhaḥ) to (the stage of) Yoga (yoga)"||4||
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः॥५॥
Ātmaiva hyātmano bandhurātmaiva ripurātmanaḥ||5||
"One should elevate (uddharet) onelsef (ātmānam) by himself (ātmanā)1, (and) not (na) lower (avasādayet) oneself (ātmānam), since (hi) oneself (ātmā... ātmā) (is) certainly (eva... eva) his own (ātmanaḥ... ātmanaḥ) friend (bandhuḥ) (or) enemy (ripuḥ)"||5||
1 According to Śrīdhara, the term "ātmanā" is to be interpreted as "vivekayuktena", which literally means "being endowed with discernment", i.e. only if one is endowed with discernment can really elevate himself.
बन्धुरात्मात्मनस्तस्य येनात्मैवात्मना जितः।
अनात्मनस्तु शत्रुत्वे वर्तेतात्मैव शत्रुवत्॥६॥
Bandhurātmātmanastasya yenātmaivātmanā jitaḥ|
Anātmanastu śatrutve vartetātmaiva śatruvat||6||
"His own (ātmanaḥ) (lower) self (ātmā)1 (is) his (tasya) friend (bandhuḥ) (when that lower) self (ātmā eva) has been conquered (jitaḥ) by himself (yena... ātmanā)2. However (tu), for the one who has not conquered (his lower) self (anātmanas), (such a lower) self (ātmā eva) behaves (varteta) hostilely (śatrutve) like (vat) an enemy (śatru)"||6||
1 According to Śrīdhara, "ātmā" means here "kāryakāraṇasaṅghātarūpaḥ" or "that which results from --or whose nature is-- a combination of cause and effect". In other words, "ātmā" is the individual self, which remains in bondage. Madhusūdana (another commentator) follows the same course of thought. In turn, both Viśvanātha and Baladeva makes the matter even more simple, because according to them, "ātmā" is "manas" (mind). Well, I translated "lower being" to be so accurate and comprehensive as possible again.
2 According to Madhusūdana, "yena... ātmanā" means here "vivekayuktena manasā" or "by a mind endowed with discernment". On the other hand, both Viśvanātha and Baladeva consider "yena... ātmanā" as "jīvena", i.e. "by the jīva or individual soul". I translated the term "literally" in the stanza.
जितात्मनः प्रशान्तस्य परमात्मा समाहितः।
शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषु तथा मानापमानयोः॥७॥
Jitātmanaḥ praśāntasya paramātmā samāhitaḥ|
Śītoṣṇasukhaduḥkheṣu tathā mānāpamānayoḥ||7||
"The Supreme (parama) Self (ātmā) of one who has conquered (his lower) self (jita-ātmanaḥ)1 (and) has attained tranquility (praśāntasya)2 remains in Samādhi --Perfect Concentration-- (samāhitaḥ)3 (whether) in cold (śīta) (or) heat (uṣṇa), happiness (sukha) (or) pain --duḥkha-- (duḥkheṣu), as well as (tathā) in honor (or) dishonor --apamāna-- (māna-apamānayoḥ)"||7||
1 The commentators practically keep their opinions as in the previous stanza regarding the meaning of "ātmā" in this context. I did the same thing.
2 The term "praśāntasya" comes from "praśānta" or one who is "tranquil". The various commentators have enriched its literal meaning, but surprisingly, all of them more or less coincide in their opinions: "praśānta" is "rāgādirahita" (one who is without attachment, etc.). So, a "praśānta", being devoid of attachment and so on, has attained real tranquility.
3 In short, the Supreme Self remains perfectly concentrated on Himself.
ज्ञानविज्ञानतृप्तात्मा कूटस्थो विजितेन्द्रियः।
युक्त इत्युच्यते योगी समलोष्टाश्मकाञ्चनः॥८॥
Jñānavijñānatṛptātmā kūṭastho vijitendriyaḥ|
Yukta ityucyate yogī samaloṣṭāśmakāñcanaḥ||8||
"One whose mind (ātmā) is satisfied (tṛpta) with 'jñāna' --lit. knowledge-- (jñāna) (and) 'vijñāna' --lit. understanding-- (vijñāna)1, who is unchangeable (kūṭa-sthaḥ) (and) whose 'indriya-s' --Powers of perception and action-- have been completely conquered (vijita-indriyaḥ)2, is said to be (ucyate) a 'yukta' or 'someone who has attained the stage of Yoga or Union' (yuktaḥ iti). (To such a) yogī (yogī), a lump of earth (loṣṭa), a stone (aśma) (and) gold (kāñcanaḥ) (are) the same thing (sama)"||8||
1 The commentators practically come to an agreement here: "jñāna" is "aupadeśika" --derived from teachings-- or "śāstraja" --arisen from (the study of) scriptures--, while "vijñāna" is "aparo'kṣānubhava" --direct immediate experience--. I preferred to leave the terms untranslated in the stanza except for the literal translation. Anyway, note that the literal translations might also be used, as one can "know" about something, but he will "understand" it only when there is a direct experience. For example, you can "know" theoretically all about riding horses, but only when you ride a real one you come to "understand" it. Everyone knows that one thing is "to know" and a different one is "to know how to do". The former is mere knowledge, while the latter is full understanding. Well, despite the imperfections in my explanation, the meaning is clear, I think.
2 Jñānendriya-s (Jñāna-indriya-s) are the five Powers of perception, viz. Śrotra (power of hearing), Tvak (power of feeling by touch), Cakṣus (power of seeing), Jihvā (power of tasting) and Ghrāṇa (power of smelling). In turn, Karmendriya-s (Karma-indriya-s) are the five Powers of action, viz. Vāk (power of speaking), Pāṇi (power of handling), Pāda (power of locomotion), Pāyu (power of excreting) and Upastha (power of sexual activity and restfulness).
साधुष्वपि च पापेषु समबुद्धिर्विशिष्यते॥९॥
Sādhuṣvapi ca pāpeṣu samabuddhirviśiṣyate||9||
"He excels (viśiṣyate) who has an equable (sama) buddhi --intelligence or intellect-- (buddhiḥ) as regards benefactors (suhṛd)1, friends (mitra), enemies (ari), neutral --i.e. the ones who are neither friends nor enemies-- (udāsīna), arbitrators (madhya-stha)2, odious (dveṣya), relatives --bandhu-- (bandhuṣu), and (ca) even (api) in respect to virtuous (sādhuṣu) (and) wicked people (pāpeṣu)"||9||
1 Most commentators coincide with respect to the meaning of this word. The common interpretation might be summarized like this: "suhṛtsvabhāvenaiva hitāśaṁsī", i.e. "a 'suhṛt' is one who naturally wishes well". Thus, I think that the word "benefactor" is a good translation, in my humble opinion.
2 Śrīdhara defines "madhyastha" as "vivadamānayorubhayorapi hitāśaṁsī" or "one who wishes well even to both disputing sides". In short, a "madhyastha" is an "arbitrator". In turn, the word "udāsīna" is explained by Śrīdhara as "vivadamānayorapyupekṣakaḥ" or "one who is indifferent even to both disputing sides", i.e. "a neutral". This is the subtle difference between those two terms: "udāsīna" and "madhyastha".
योगी युञ्जीत सततमात्मानं रहसि स्थितः।
एकाकी यतचित्तात्मा निराशीरपरिग्रहः॥१०॥
Yogī yuñjīta satatamātmānaṁ rahasi sthitaḥ|
Ekākī yatacittātmā nirāśīraparigrahaḥ||10||
"A yogī (yogī) should constantly concentrate (yuñjīta satatam) (his) mind (ātmānam)1 while he stays (sthitaḥ) in solitude (rahasi). (Also, he should be) without attachment --lit. solitary-- (ekākī)2, with (his) mind (cittam) (and) body (ātmā)3 under control (yata), free from desire (nirāśīḥ) (and) with no longing for possessions (aparigrahaḥ)4"||10||
1 According to Śrīdhara, "ātmānam" is "manas" or "to the mind", and "yuñjīta" means "samāhitaṁ kuryāt" or "he should make (the aforesaid mind) perfectly concentrated" --i.e. he should make his mind remain in Samādhi or Perfect Concentration--.
2 Śrīdhara specifies that "ekākī" means "saṅgaśūnyaḥ" or "without attachment". Anyway, Baladeva interprets it to be "dvitīyaśūnyaḥ" or "without a companion" --i.e. solitary--. I am following the Śrīdhara's view here because to translate "ekākī" as "solitary" would be redundant, since it was said "while he stays in solitude" before.
3 All commentators practically consider "ātmā" as "deha" or "body" in this context.
4 I translated "aparigrahaḥ" according to the traditional interpretation of this term. Nevertheless, in the Baladeva's opinion it would mean "nirāhāraḥ" or "abstaining from food", i.e. the yogī should practice fasting.
शुचौ देशे प्रतिष्ठाप्य स्थिरमासनमात्मनः।
नात्युच्छ्रितं नातिनीचं चैलाजिनकुशोत्तरम्॥११॥
तत्रैकाग्रं मनः कृत्वा यतचित्तेन्द्रियक्रियाः।
Śucau deśe pratiṣṭhāpya sthiramāsanamātmanaḥ|
Nātyucchritaṁ nātinīcaṁ cailājinakuśottaram||11||
Tatraikāgraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā yatacittendriyakriyāḥ|
"After having firmly established (pratiṣṭhāpya sthiram) in a clean and pure (śucau) place --deśa-- (deśe) one's own (ātmanaḥ) seat (āsanam), (which should be) neither (na) excessively (ati) high (ucchritam) nor (na) excessively (ati) low (nīcam), (and) made of cloth (caila), the soft skin of a tiger, deer, etc. (ajina), (both things --i.e. cloth and skin-- being placed) on (uttaram) Kuśa grass (kuśa)1... sitting (upaviśya) on that (tatra) āsana or seat (āsane), by making the mind one-pointed (eka-agram manas kṛtvā)2 (and) having the activities --also 'fluctuations' or 'modifications'-- (kriyāḥ) of mind (citta) (and) indriya-s --Powers of perception and action-- (indriya)3 under control (yata), one should practice (yuñjyāt) Yoga (yogam) for purifying (viśuddhaye) (his) mind (ātma)4"||11-12||
1 Śrīdhara explains this in detail: "... Kuśānāmupari carma tadupari vastramāstīryetetyarthaḥ|..." or "... The skin is (placed) on the Kuśa grass, (while) the cloth should be spread over it --i.e. over the skin--. This is the sense...". The rest of commentators states the same thing. In short, firstly one should put the Kuśa grass, then the skin, and finally, on top of the skin, he should spread the cloth. Simple!
2 Śrīdhara states: "... ekāgraṁ vikṣeparahitaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā...", or "... by making the mind 'ekāgram', viz. devoid of moving to and fro...". In turn, Baladeva interprets "ekāgram" as "avyākulam" (free from agitation and bewilderment).
3 Read the note 2 under the stanza 8.
4 According to several commentators, here "Yoga" means "Samādhi" or "Perfect Concentration". And according to Śrīdhara, "ātma" is "manas" or "mind" in this context. But, for Baladeva, Madhusūdana and Viśvanātha, "ātma" means "antaḥkaraṇa" or "the inner (psychic) organ" (intellect-ego-mind, according to Dvaitavedānta or dualistic Vedānta; and intellect-ego-mind-consciousness, according to Advaitavedānta or non-dualistic Vedānta... I explain this because Baladeva and Viśvanātha are followers of the former while Madhusūdana is a follower of the latter). Well, a little difference, nothing else.
समं कायशिरोग्रीवं धारयन्नचलं स्थिरः।
सम्प्रेक्ष्य नासिकाग्रं स्वं दिशश्चानवलोकयन्॥१३॥
प्रशान्तात्मा विगतभीर्ब्रह्मचारिव्रते स्थितः।
मनः संयम्य मच्चित्तो युक्त आसीत मत्परः॥१४॥
Samaṁ kāyaśirogrīvaṁ dhārayannacalaṁ sthiraḥ|
Samprekṣya nāsikāgraṁ svaṁ diśaścānavalokayan||13||
Praśāntātmā vigatabhīrbrahmacārivrate sthitaḥ|
Manaḥ saṁyamya maccitto yukta āsīta matparaḥ||14||
"Holding (dhārayan) body (kāya), head (śiras) (and) neck (grīvam) erect (samam) and immovable (acalam) (while he remains) firm (sthiraḥ), looking carefully (samprekṣya) at the tip (agram) of his (svam) nose (nāsikā) and (ca) not looking into the air (diśaḥ... anavalokayan), with a serene mind (praśānta-ātmā), fearless (vigata-bhīḥ) (and) engaged (sthitaḥ) in a vow (vrate) of brahmacārī --lit. celibate-- (brahmacāri), having fully controlled (saṁyamya)1 (his) mind (manas)... such a 'yukta' --i.e. yogī-- (yuktaḥ), with (his) mind (cittaḥ) (fixed on) Me (mat), should remain (so) seated (āsīta) (and) considering Me, the Supreme Self, as the Goal (mat-paraḥ)2"||13-14||
1 Śrīdhara states that: "... Manaḥ saṁyamya pratyāhṛtya|..." or "(The phrase) 'Manaḥ saṁyamya' (means) 'withdrawing (his mind)'". This is confirmed by Baladeva himself: "... Manaḥ saṁyamya viṣayebhyaḥ pratyāhṛtya|..." or "... (The phrase) 'Manaḥ saṁyamya' (means) 'withdrawing (his mind) from the objects'...". But according to Madhusūdana: "... Manaḥ saṁyamya viṣayākāravṛttiśūnyaṁ kṛtvā|..." or "... (The phrase) 'Manaḥ saṁyamya' (means) 'making (his mind) devoid of the fluctuations (produced) by the forms of the objects'...". All right, here you are two additional interpretations then.
2 Śrīdhara explains this: "... Ahameva paraṁ puruṣārtho yasya sa matparaḥ|..." or "... (The term) 'matparaḥ' (means) 'the one whose goal as a human being is only Myself, the Supreme Self'...". Baladeva summarizes it beautifully: "... Matparo madekapuruṣārthaḥ|..." or "... (The term) 'matparaḥ' (means) 'the one whose only goal as a human being is Myself'...".
युञ्जन्नेवं सदात्मानं योगी नियतमानसः।
शान्तिं निर्वाणपरमां मत्संस्थामधिगच्छति॥१५॥
Yuñjannevaṁ sadātmānaṁ yogī niyatamānasaḥ|
Śāntiṁ nirvāṇaparamāṁ matsaṁsthāmadhigacchati||15||
"Perfectly concentrated (yuñjan) thus (evam) on (his) Self (ātmānam) always (sadā), the yogī (yogī) of controlled (niyata) mind (mānasaḥ) attains (adhigacchati) to Peace (śāntim), which consists (paramām) of extinction or dissolution --Mokṣa or Liberation-- (nirvāṇam) (and) abides (saṁsthām) in Me (mat) --i.e. such a Peace consists of Liberation and abides in the Lord as Himself... this is the sense-- "||15||
नात्यश्नतस्तु योगोऽस्ति न चैकान्तमनश्नतः।
न चातिस्वप्नशीलस्य जाग्रतो नैव चार्जुन॥१६॥
Nātyaśnatastu yogo'sti na caikāntamanaśnataḥ|
Na cātisvapnaśīlasya jāgrato naiva cārjuna||16||
"Nevertheless (tu), oh Arjuna (arjuna), Yoga (yogaḥ) is (asti) neither (na) for one who eats too much (ati-aśnataḥ) nor (na ca) for one who does not eat (anaśnataḥ) at all (ekāntam)1, nor (is) (na ca) for one who is in the habit (śīlasya) of sleeping (svapna) exceedingly (ati) nor certainly (na eva ca) for one who is awake (too long) (jāgrataḥ)2"||16||
1 I translated "ekāntam" as "at all" for the sake of being concise, but Madhusūdana explains the meaning in a more detailed way: "... Anāhārādatyalpāhārādvā rasapoṣaṇābhāvena śarīrasya kāryākṣamatvāt|..." or "... (The Lord stated that the Yoga is not for one who is 'ekāntamanaśnat') because when one eats nothing or very little, (his) body is unfit for work due to the absence of nourishment in the form of 'rasa'...". The term "rasa" may be translated in many ways, but here, in my humble opinion, it is to be interpreted to be "the essential fluid of the body", i.e. that which gives the body vigor and strength to work. By "work", the author is "mainly" speaking of yogic work, of course, viz. yogic practices. Thus, according to Madhusūdana, the term "ekāntam" is not only tantamount to "no food at all" but even "very little".
2 I added "too long" to the translation because Śrīdhara confirms it: "... Tathātinidrāśīlasyātijāgrataśca yogo naivāsti" or "... Likewise, Yoga is not certainly for one who is in the habit of sleeping excessively nor for one who keeps awake too long...".
युक्ताहारविहारस्य युक्तचेष्टस्य कर्मसु।
युक्तस्वप्नावबोधस्य योगो भवति दुःखहा॥१७॥
Yuktāhāravihārasya yuktaceṣṭasya karmasu|
Yuktasvapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkhahā||17||
"Yoga (yogaḥ) becomes (bhavati) a destroyer (hā) of pain (duḥkha) for one whose eating (āhāra) (and) moving --vihāra-- (vihārasya)1, effort --ceṣṭā-- (ceṣṭasya) when doing actions (karmasu)2, sleep (svapna) (and) wakefulness --avabodha-- (avabodhasya), (are all of them) controlled and disciplined (yukta... yukta... yukta)3"||17||
1 According to Madhusūdana, specifically in the sense of moving on foot (pādakrama), i.e. roaming.
2 In the opinion of Madhusūdana, these actions are completely spiritual-oriented, while other authors (e.g. Baladeva) state that the actions can be "laukika" (mundane) or "pāramārthika" (related to the attainment of the Supreme Goal --Paramārtha--, i.e. spiritual activities).
3 Śrīdhara interprets the word "yukta" in the entire stanza as "niyata" (controlled, disciplined, etc.), while other commentators declare that it means "mita" (measured, moderate, etc.). Well, a little difference here. Nothing of great importance really. Also note that I translated the three words "yukta" simultaneously, because if not so, I would have had to use synonymous such as "moderate, temperate, etc." in order not to be redundant.
यदा विनियतं चित्तमात्मन्येवावतिष्ठते।
निःस्पृहः सर्वकामेभ्यो युक्त इत्युच्यते तदा॥१८॥
Yadā viniyataṁ cittamātmanyevāvatiṣṭhate|
Niḥspṛhaḥ sarvakāmebhyo yukta ityucyate tadā||18||
"When (yadā) (his) mind (cittam) remains (avatiṣṭhate) completely controlled (viniyatam) (and concentrated) on the Self (ātmani), (and) he abstains (niḥspṛhaḥ) from all (sarva) desires and enjoyments --kāma-s-- (kāmebhyaḥ)1, then (tadā), (such a being) is said to be (ucyate) a 'yukta', viz. 'one who has attained Yoga or Union' (yuktaḥ iti)2"||18||
1 According to Śrīdhara, "sarvakāmebhyaḥ" means "aihikāmuṣmikabhogebhyaḥ" or "from the enjoyments belonging to both this world and the other one".
2 Śrīdhara states at the end of his commentary: "... Tadā muktaḥ prāptayoga ityucyate||18||" or "... Then, he is said to have attained Yoga, i.e. he is a liberated one||18||". Thus, to attain Yoga or Union amounts to attain Liberation. Baladeva defines him like this: "... yukto niṣpannayogaḥ kathyate||18||" or "... he is said to be a 'yukta', i.e. one who has effected Yoga or Union||18||". In turn, Rāmānuja (the founder of the philosophical system known as Viśiṣṭādvaitavedānta or 'qualified non-dualistic Vedānta') states in his commentary that a "yukta" is a "yogārha", viz. "one who is fit for Yoga or Union". Also, Śaṅkarācārya (the founder of Advaitavedānta or 'non-dualistic Vedānta') affirms that a "yukta" is a "samāhita" or "someone who attained Samādhi or Perfect Concentration". Well, it is enough.
यथा दीपो निवातस्थो नेङ्गते सोपमा स्मृता।
योगिनो यतचित्तस्य युञ्जतो योगमात्मनः॥१९॥
Yathā dīpo nivātastho neṅgate sopamā smṛtā|
Yogino yatacittasya yuñjato yogamātmanaḥ||19||
"'Just as (yathā) (the flame of) a lamp (dīpaḥ) is not agitated (na iṅgate) when it stays (sthaḥ) in a place sheltered from the wind (nivāta)'... this simile or comparison (sopamā) (should be) thought of (smṛtā) (to understand or describe the state or position) of a yogī (yoginaḥ) of controlled (yata) mind --citta-- (cittasya) who practices (yuñjataḥ) Yoga (yogam) whose goal or object is the Self (ātmanaḥ)1"||19||
1 In my translation of the last line of the stanza I fully followed the Śrīdhara's view, specially this portion of his commentary: "... ātmaviṣayaṁ yogaṁ yuñjato'bhyasyato yoginaḥ|..." or "... of a yogī who practices Yoga whose goal or object is the Self...". Baladeva adds the following: "yogaṁ dhyānam", i.e. "Yoga is meditation (in this context)". And Śaṅkarācārya opines, consistently with his viewpoint of the previous stanza, that "Yoga" is "Samādhi" or Perfect Concentration here.
यत्रोपरमते चित्तं निरुद्धं योगसेवया।
यत्र चैवात्मनात्मानं पश्यन्नात्मनि तुष्यति॥२०॥
वेत्ति यत्र न चैवायं स्थितश्चलति तत्त्वतः॥२१॥
यं लब्ध्वा चापरं लाभं मन्यते नाधिकं ततः।
यस्मिन्स्थितो न दुःखेन गुरुणापि विचाल्यते॥२२॥
तं विद्याद्दुःखसंयोगवियोगं योगसंज्ञितम्।
स निश्चयेन योक्तव्यो योगोऽनिर्विण्णचेतसा॥२३॥
Yatroparamate cittaṁ niruddhaṁ yogasevayā|
Yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ paśyannātmani tuṣyati||20||
Vetti yatra na caivāyaṁ sthitaścalati tattvataḥ||21||
Yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ|
Yasminsthito na duḥkhena guruṇāpi vicālyate||22||
Taṁ vidyādduḥkhasaṁyogaviyogaṁ yogasaṁjñitam|
Sa niścayena yoktavyo yogo'nirviṇṇacetasā||23||
"(That particular state --i.e. Yoga--)1 in which (yatra) the mind (cittam), controlled (niruddham) by the practice (sevayā)2 of Yoga (yoga), ceases --i.e. gets withdrawn-- (uparamate), and (ca eva) in which (yatra), by seeing (paśyan) the Self (ātmānam) through 'ātmā' (ātmanā)3, one remains satisfied (tuṣyati) in the Self (ātmani)...
Where (yatra) one knows (vetti)4 that (tad) uninterrupted (ātyantikam) Joy (sukham) which (yad) is perceived (grāhyam) by buddhi --intellect or intelligence-- (buddhi) (but) is beyond the indriya-s --the Powers of perception and action5-- (atīndriyam)6. And (ca eva) (thus), he (ayam), by abiding firm (in that Joy) (sthitaḥ), does not (na) swerve (calati) from the Supreme Principle (tattvatas)7...
And (ca) having gotten (labdhvā) which --i.e. that aforesaid Joy-- (yam), one does not (na) think (manyate) of (any) other (aparam) obtainment (lābham) superior (adhikam) to that (tatas); (and) abiding (sthitaḥ) in which --i.e. in that Joy-- (yasmin), he is not agitated and troubled (na... vicālyate) even (api) by a great (guruṇā) pain or sorrow --duḥkha-- (duḥkhena)...
One should know (vidyāt) that that (tam) separation (viyogam) from the contact (saṁyoga) with pain (duḥkha) (is) called (sañjñitam) Yoga (yoga)8. (Such a) Yoga (saḥ... yogaḥ) must be practiced (yoktavyaḥ) resolutely (niścayena) (and) with a mind (cetasā) free from depression (anirviṇṇa)9"||20-23||
1 Śrīdhara specifies: "... Yatra ca yasminnavasthāviśeṣe|..." or "...And 'yatra' means 'in which', viz. in that particular state...". He refers to Yoga (mentioned in the latter of this group of four stanzas), which is identified with Samādhi or Perfect Concentration in this context.
2 Baladeva states the following: "... Yogasya sevayābhyāsena|..." or "... By sevā or abhyāsa --i.e. practice-- of Yoga...". The word "sevā" is generally interpreted as "service", but here it means "practice".
3 Śrīdhara makes the meaning of "ātmā" clear in this context: "... Ātmanā śuddhena manasātmānameva paśyati na tu dehādi|..." or "... One sees the Self alone, not the body, etc., by means of 'ātmā', viz. a pure mind...". So, according to Śrīdhara, "ātmā" means "a pure mind" in this stanza. Most commentators agree with him, but Viśvanātha adds: "... Ātmanā paramātmākārāntaḥkaraṇenātmānaṁ paśyan tasmin tuṣyati|...", whose meaning is clear... just kidding: "...By seeing the Self through 'ātmā', viz. the inner (psychic) organ --intellect, ego and mind-- which is a form (emanated) from Paramātmā, one remains satisfied in That...". The word "Paramātmā" literally means "Supreme Self", but here Viśvanātha is referring to the aspect of God located in the heart of every being. God has three aspects according to the Śrīmadbhāgavatapurāṇa (a very important Vedic scripture): Brahma (the impersonal aspect), Paramātmā (the aspect located within the heart of every living being) and Bhagavān (the personal aspect). For more information, read 11th stanza in Skandha 1 - Adhyāya 2 of that Purāṇa.
4 Baladeva specifies: "... vettyanubhavati..." or "... one knows, i.e. one experiences...".
5 Read note 2 under the eighth stanza to fully understand the meaning of "indriya".
6 Śrīdhara explains the meaning of "atīndriyam" in detail: "... tatrāha atīndriyaṁ viṣayendriyasambandhātītam|..." or "... regarding that (the Lord) said: 'atīndriyam', viz. 'beyond the relationship between objects and indriya-s'...".
7 Śrīdhara opines that "tattvatas" means "ātmasvarūpāt" or "from the essential nature of the Self".
8 This is clearly explained by Śrīdhara... another joke... take it easy!: "... Duḥkhasya saṁyogena saṁsparśamātreṇāpi viyogo yasmin tamavasthāviśeṣaṁ yogasañjñitaṁ yogaśabdavācyaṁ jānīyāt|..." or "... One should know that particular state known as Yoga, i.e. called by means of the word 'Yoga', in which there is separation even from all kind of contact or 'saṁyoga' with pain...".
9 I am quoting only Śrīdhara in these last stanzas because the opinions are similar between the various commentators. There are subtle difference but nothing of crucial importance. Now, Śrīdhara summarizes the last line of the 23rd stanza in a simple manner... another good joke again: "... Sa yogo niścayena śāstrācāryopadeśajanitena nirvedarahitena cetasā yoktavyaḥ| Duḥkhabuddhyā prayatnaśaithilyam nirvedaḥ||23||" or "... That Yoga must be practiced resolutely and with a mind devoid of 'nirveda' and forged by the teachings of ācārya --spiritual preceptor-- and scriptures. (The term) 'nirveda' (means) relaxation from the effort (performed) by an intellect (still affected) by pain||23||". In other words, 'nirveda' occurs when one relaxes his effort in his search for Liberation. So, such a mind is not fit for Yoga but the one who is devoid of 'nirveda' and constantly strives to attain Yoga, viz. Samādhi or Perfect Concentration, which leads to final Emancipation.
मनसैवेन्द्रियग्रामं विनियम्य समन्ततः॥२४॥
शनैः शनैरुपरमेद्बुद्ध्या धृतिगृहीतया।
आत्मसंस्थं मनः कृत्वा न किञ्चिदपि चिन्तयेत्॥२५॥
Manasaivendriyagrāmaṁ viniyamya samantataḥ||24||
Śanaiḥ śanairuparamedbuddhyā dhṛtigṛhītayā|
Ātmasaṁsthaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā na kiñcidapi cintayet||25||
"Having completely abandoned (tyaktvā... aśeṣataḥ) all (sarvān) desires (kāmān)1 whose source (prabhavān) is the ideas and thoughts (saṅkalpa) (and) having thoroughly restrained (viniyamya samantataḥ) the group (grāmam) of indriya-s --Powers of perception and action-- (indriya)2 only (eva) by means of the mind (manasā)3, gradually (śanaiḥ śanaiḥ) one should stop (his mind) (uparamet)4 through an intellect (buddhyā) armed with constancy and resolution (dhṛti-gṛhītayā), (and), by making (kṛtvā) the mind (manas) remain (saṁstham) in the Self (ātma), he should think (cintayet) of nothing whatsoever (na kiñcid api)"||24-25||
1 The explanation of Rāmānuja on the two kinds of desires is really interesting. Listen up: "... Sparśajāḥ saṅkalpajāśceti dvividhāḥ kāmāḥ sparśajāḥ śītoṣṇādayaḥ saṅkalpajāḥ putrapautrakṣetrādayastatra saṅkalpaprabhavāḥ svarūpeṇaiva tyaktuṁ śakyāḥ..." or "... The desires are of two kinds: '(1) born of contact, and (2) born of ideas and thoughts --saṅkalpa-s--'. The ones which are born of contact (are related to) cold, heat, etc., (while) the ones born of ideas and thoughts (have to do with) son, grandson, body, etc. Of these, those whose origin is saṅkalpa --ideas and thoughts-- can be abandoned really!...".
2 Read note 2 under the eighth stanza to fully understand the meaning of "indriya".
3 Śrīdhara comments: "... Saṅkalpātprabhavo yeṣāṁ tānyogapratikūlānsarvānkāmānaśeṣataḥ savāsanāṁstyaktvā manasaiva viṣayadoṣadarśinā sarvataḥ prasarantamindriyasamūhaṁ viśeṣeṇa niyamya| Yoga yoktavya iti pūrveṇānvayaḥ||24||" or "... Having completely abandoned all those desires, which oppose to Yoga and whose source is 'saṅkalpa' --ideas and thoughts--, along with their 'vāsanā-s' --tendencies accumulated in the causal body--, and in special restraining thoroughly the (ever) advancing group of indriya-s only by means of a mind that sees the imperfections in the objects --this is the meaning of the stanza 24--. (In turn, this stanza) is connected with the previous one (through the fragment) 'Yogo yoktavya' viz. 'Yoga must be practiced'||24||". As this stanza continues in the next one, the interpretation given by Śrīdhara seems to be incomplete.
4 Śrīdhara specifies: "... niścalaṁ manaḥ kṛtvoparamet..." or "... 'uparamet' (implies) 'by making the mind immovable'...". Baladeva opines the following regarding "uparamet" (3rd Person singular, Potential Mood, Parasmaipada, of the verb "uparam"), but he uses the term "uparameta" (3rd Person singular, Potential Mood, Ātmanepada, of the verb "uparam"). Parasmaipada and Ātmanepada are two different group of terminations... oh well, a long story, you know. All in all, both terms mean the same thing in this context, and this is what you should understand. Now, the Baladeva's comment: "... samādhāvuparameta tiṣṭhet|..." or "... one should make an 'uparama', i.e. he should remain in Samādhi or Perfect Concentration...".
यतो यतो निश्चरति मनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम्।
ततस्ततो नियम्यैतदात्मन्येव वशं नयेत्॥२६॥
Yato yato niścarati manaścañcalamasthiram|
Tatastato niyamyaitadātmanyeva vaśaṁ nayet||26||
"Wherever (yatas yatas) the inconstant (cañcalam) (and) unsteady (asthiram) mind (manas) wanders away (niścarati), by withdrawing (niyamya)1 this (mind) (etad) from all that whatsoever (tatas tatas), one should subdue (vaśam nayet) it (etad) (and fix it) on the Self (ātmani) alone (eva)"||26||
1 Śrīdhara specifies that "niyamya" means "pratyāhṛtya" (by withdrawing) in this context. Baladeva confirms the Śrīdhara's view in his own commentary: "... tatastata etanmano niyamya pratyāhṛtya..." or "... 'niyamya', viz 'by withdrawing' this mind of all that whatsoever...".
प्रशान्तमनसं ह्येनं योगिनं सुखमुत्तमम्।
उपैति शान्तरजसं ब्रह्मभूतमकल्मषम्॥२७॥
Praśāntamanasaṁ hyenaṁ yoginaṁ sukhamuttamam|
Upaiti śāntarajasaṁ brahmabhūtamakalmaṣam||27||
"Undoubtedly (hi), the highest (uttamam) Joy (sukham) comes (upaiti) to that yogī (enam yoginam) whose mind (manasam) is tranquil (praśānta), whose Rajas --the quality of passion-- (rajasam) is peaceful (śānta) --lit. passionless--1, who has become (bhūtam) Brahma (brahma)2 (and) is sinless and taintless (akalmaṣam)"||27||
1 Madhusūdana explains the meaning of "śāntarājasam": "... Śāntaṁ vikṣepakaṁ rajo yasya taṁ vikṣepaśūnyam|..." or "... (The highest Joy comes) to the one whose Rajas, which is 'vikṣepaka' or 'shaking, agitating', is peaceful. (In other words, such a Joy comes) to someone who is devoid of 'vikṣepa' or (mental) agitation...". Rajas is one of the three qualities of Prakṛti. The other two are Sattva and Tamas.
2 The impersonal aspect of God.
युञ्जन्नेवं सदात्मानं योगी विगतकल्मषः।
सुखेन ब्रह्मसंस्पर्शमत्यन्तं सुखमश्नुते॥२८॥
Yuñjannevaṁ sadātmānaṁ yogī vigatakalmaṣaḥ|
Sukhena brahmasaṁsparśamatyantaṁ sukhamaśnute||28||
"By subjugating (yuñjan) constantly (sadā) the mind (ātmānam) thus (evam)1, the yogī (yogī) who is devoid of sin (vigata-kalmaṣaḥ) easily (sukhena)2 obtains (aśnute) the immensurable (atyantam) Joy (sukham) of getting in touch (saṁsparśam) with Brahma (brahma)3"||28||
1 I am following the Śrīdhara's view in this portion: "... Evamanena prakāreṇa sarvadātmānaṁ mano yuñjan vaśīkurvan|..." or "... 'Yuñjan', i.e. 'by subjugating' the 'ātmā' or mind constantly thus, viz. in this manner --in the way described in the previous stanzas--...".
2 According to Baladeva and Śrīdhara, "sukhena" means here "anāyāsena" or "easily".
3 The impersonal aspect of God.
सर्वभूतस्थमात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि।
ईक्षते योगयुक्तात्मा सर्वत्र समदर्शनः॥२९॥
Sarvabhūtasthamātmānaṁ sarvabhūtāni cātmani|
Īkṣate yogayuktātmā sarvatra samadarśanaḥ||29||
"He whose mind (ātmā) is perfectly concentrated (yukta) by (the practice of) Yoga (yoga)1 (and) looks on all with equal eyes --i.e. he is endowed with equanimity-- (sama-darśanaḥ) everywhere (sarvatra)2, sees (īkṣate) the Self (ātmānam) existing (stham) in all (sarva) beings (bhūta) and (ca) all (sarva) beings (bhūtāni) in the Self (ātmani)"||29||
1 According to Śrīdhara, a "yogayuktātmā" is "... Yogenābhyasyamānena yuktātmā samāhitacittaḥ|..." or "... A 'yogayuktātmā' is one whose mind is perfectly concentrated --i.e. in Samādhi-- through the practice of Yoga...". Viśvanātha opines the following: "... Yogayuktātmā brahmākārāntaḥkaraṇaḥ|..." or "... A 'yogayuktātmā' is one whose inner (psychic) organ --viz. intellect, ego and mind-- has the form of Brahma --i.e. he is perfectly absorbed in Samādhi in Brahma--...".
2 The eminent sage Rāmānuja explains the phrase "sarvatra samadarśanaḥ" as follows: "... sarvatra jñānaikākāratayā..." or "... endowed with an only form of knowledge everywhere...". In the opinion of Śrīdhara: "... Sarvatra samaṁ brahmaiva paśyatīti samadarśanaḥ|..." or "... A 'samadarśana' is 'one who sees only the same Brahma everywhere'...".
यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति।
तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति॥३०॥
Yo māṁ paśyati sarvatra sarvaṁ ca mayi paśyati|
Tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśyāmi sa ca me na praṇaśyati||30||
"I (aham) am not lost (na praṇaśyāmi)1 to the one (tasya) who (yaḥ) sees (paśyati... paśyati) Me (mām) everywhere (sarvatra) and (ca) all (sarvam) in Me (mayi)... and (ca) he (saḥ) is not lost (na praṇaśyati) to Me (me)"||30||
1 Both Śrīdhara and Baladeva opine exactly the same thing regarding "ahaṁ na praṇaśyāmi". Śrīdhara says: "... adṛśyo na bhavāmi|...", while Baladeva declares: "... nādṛśyo bhavāmi|...". As you can see, only "na" appears in a different position, but this does not alter the final meaning. Oh yes, the translation; it literally means: "... I do not become invisible...". In other words, the Lord is always perceivable to that great yogī. The same thing is true in the opposite case, i.e. the great yogī does not become invisible to the Lord. In short, He is always aware of such a sublime yogī. This is the sense.
सर्वभूतस्थितं यो मां भजत्येकत्वमास्थितः।
सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि स योगी मयि वर्तते॥३१॥
Sarvabhūtasthitaṁ yo māṁ bhajatyekatvamāsthitaḥ|
Sarvathā vartamāno'pi sa yogī mayi vartate||31||
"That (saḥ) yogī (yogī) who (yaḥ), having resorted (āsthitaḥ)1 to unity (ekatvam)2, worships (bhajati) Me (mā) as residing (sthitam) in all (sarva) beings (bhūta), abides (vartate) in Me (mayi) even (api) in whatever condition (sarvathā) he may be (vartamānaḥ)"||31||
1 According to Śrīdhara, the word "āsthitaḥ" is to be interpreted as "āśritaḥ" or "one who has resorted to".
2 The term "unity" is easy to be understood in non-dualistic commentaries, as their authors follow Advaitavedānta, a philosophical system postulating the unity between oneself and the Supreme Self. But what about authors following dualistic Vedānta, e.g. Baladeva? Listen to his explanation of this term: "... Teṣu bahūnāṁ madvigrahāṇāmekatvamabhedamāśrito yo māṁ bhajati dhyāyati..." or "... The one who, having resorted to 'ekatva' or 'abheda' --i.e. unity-- from My many 'vigraha-s' --divine forms-- (residing) in them --i.e. 'in the hearts of all living beings'--, meditates on Me --note that according to Baladeva, 'bhajati' means 'dhyāyati' or 'meditates' in this context--...". So, in the opinion of Baladeva, "having resorted to unity" does not mean "having become one with the Supreme Self", but "having realized that all those many vigraha-s --divine forms-- residing in the hearts of all beings are only the Supreme Lord in His Paramātmā aspect". The Paramātmā aspect is the Lord located in the hearts of all beings. The other two aspects are Brahma (impersonal) and Bhagavān (personal). Well, if you are wondering how I arrived at that conclusion, my response is that I read the previous part of that commentary. So, trust me, please.
आत्मौपम्येन सर्वत्र समं पश्यति योऽर्जुन।
सुखं वा यदि वा दुःखं स योगी परमो मतः॥३२॥
Ātmaupamyena sarvatra samaṁ paśyati yo'rjuna|
Sukhaṁ vā yadi vā duḥkhaṁ sa yogī paramo mataḥ||32||
"Oh Arjuna (arjuna), that (saḥ) yogī (yogī) is considered (mataḥ) a supreme one (paramaḥ) who (yaḥ) sees --i.e. experiences-- (paśyati) in like manner (samam), whether (yadi) happiness (sukham) or (vā... vā) pain (duḥkham), everywhere --i.e. regarding all beings-- (sarvatra) by comparison (aupamyena) to himself --viz. to his own experience-- (ātma)1"||32||
1 The commentaries of this difficult-to-understand stanza... the one of Madhusūdana is really a long one... may be summarized by that of Śrīdhara: "... Ātmaupamyena svasādṛśyena| Yathā mama sukhaṁ priyaṁ duḥkhaṁ cāpriyaṁ tathānyeṣāmapīti sarvatra samaṁ paśyansukhameva sarveṣāṁ yo vāñchati| Na tu kasyāpi duḥkham| Sa yogī śreṣṭho mamābhimata ityarthaḥ||32||" or "... (The compound) 'Ātmaupamyena' (means) 'by comparison to himself'. By seeing --i.e. experiencing-- in like manner everywhere --i.e. in like manner as everybody--, (he feels:) 'Just as happiness is dear to me and pain is not dear to me, so it is regarding the others too'. (Thus,) he wishes happiness for everyone and pain for nobody. That yogī is (therefore) considered by Me as the best one. This is the sense||32||". Oh well, Śrīdhara made the meaning of the stanza clear, no doubt about it. Thank you Śrīdhara.
Baladeva helps to understand the meaning with this phrase: "... svaparasukhaduḥkhasamadṛṣṭiḥ..." or "... (that yogī), as regards others' happiness and pain, has equal eyes like to himself...". In short, he is able to place himself in the same position as everyone else everywhere and understand their happiness or pain. Such a yogī excels, in the opinion of the Lord.
योऽयं योगस्त्वया प्रोक्तः साम्येन मधुसूदन।
एतस्याहं न पश्यामि चञ्चलत्वात्स्थितिं स्थिराम्॥३३॥
Yo'yaṁ yogastvayā proktaḥ sāmyena madhusūdana|
Etasyāhaṁ na paśyāmi cañcalatvātsthitiṁ sthirām||33||
Arjuna (arjunaḥ) said (uvāca):
"Oh destroyer (sūdana) of the demon Madhu (madhu)1, (with respect to) this (ayam) Yoga (yogaḥ) which (yaḥ) has been described (proktaḥ) by You (tvayi) as equanimity (sāmyena), I (aham) do not (na) see (paśyāmi) in it (etasya) (any) lasting (sthirām)2 continuance (sthitim) due to (mental) restlessness (cañcalatvāt)3"||33||
1 Epithet for Kṛṣṇa.
2 No doubt "sthira" generally means "firm", but here it is to be interpreted as "lasting". This is corroborated by the words of Śrīdhara: "... Etasya sthirāṁ dīrghakālāṁ sthitiṁ na paśyāmi|..." or "... I do not see in it any continuance which is 'sthirā', viz. 'which lasts for a long time'...".
3 Rāmānuja corroborates, in the last part of his commentary on this stanza, my opinion that that "restlessness" is "mental": "... Etasya yogasya sthirāṁ sthitiṁ na paśyāmi manasaścañcalatvāt||33||" or "... I do not see in this Yoga any lasting continuance due to mental restlessness||33||". The word "manasaś" derives from "manasaḥ" --mental--. Of course, Arjuna will confirm this as well in the next stanza. Keep reading, please.
चञ्चलं हि मनः कृष्ण प्रमाथि बलवद्दृढम्।
तस्याहं निग्रहं मन्ये वायोरिव सुदुष्करम्॥३४॥
Cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa pramāthi balavaddṛḍham|
Tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye vāyoriva suduṣkaram||34||
"Since (hi) the mind (manaḥ), oh Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa), (is) restless (cañcalam), turbulent (pramāthi)1, powerful (balavat) and hard (dṛḍham)2. I (aham) think (manye) (that) its (tasya) restriction and suppression (nigraham)3 (is so) extremely difficult to be performed (su-duṣkaram) as (iva) (that) of the wind (vāyoḥ)"||34||
1 According to most commentators, the mind is "pramāthi" because it is turbulent. For example, the great Śaṅkarācārya states: "... pramāthi ca pramathanaśīlam..." or "... and (the mind) is 'pramāthi', viz. it behaves in an agitating and harassing way...".
2 All commentators come more or less to an agreement regarding the meaning of "dṛḍham", but some analogies are interesting. For instance, Śaṅkarācārya specifies: "... Kiñca dṛḍhaṁ tantunāgavadacchedyam..." or "... Besides, (the mind) is 'dṛḍha', i.e. it is impossible to be cut like a shark...". Nice! Now, here is the opinion of Viśvanātha: "... Kiñca dṛḍhamatisūkṣmabuddhisūcyapi lohamiva sahasā bhettumaśakyam|..." or "... Besides, (the mind) is 'dṛḍha', viz. as if it were made of iron, it cannot be pierced quickly, even by the sharp point of an extremely subtle intellect...". Good example! In other words, the mind is "hard". Some translate the term "dṛḍha" as "obstinate, stubborn"... oh well, different ways to say the same thing.
3 According to the vast majority of commentators: "nigraham" means "nirodham" (restriction, suppression, etc.).
असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम्।
अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते॥३५॥
Asaṁśayaṁ mahābāho mano durnigrahaṁ calam|
Abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa ca gṛhyate||35||
Venerable (śrī) Bhagavān (bhagavān)1 said (uvāca):
"Oh big-armed one (mahā-bāho)2, the mind (manas) (is) doubtless (asaṁśayam) fluctuating (calam) (and) difficult to be restrained and suppressed (dur-nigraham). However (tu), oh son of Kuntī (kaunteya)3, it is controlled (gṛhyate)4 by practice (abhyāsena) and (ca) renunciation --vairāgya-- (vairāgyeṇa)"||35||
1 Lit. "The Divine or Adorable One", or also "The Fortunate One", i.e. Lord Kṛṣṇa.
2 Epithet for Arjuna.
3 Epithet for Arjuna.
4 According to Viśvanātha, "gṛhyate" means "svahastavaśīkartuṁ śakyate" or "it can be controlled and dominated at will --lit. 'with one's own hands'".
असंयतात्मना योगो दुष्प्राप इति मे मतिः।
वश्यात्मना तु यतता शक्योऽवाप्तुमुपायतः॥३६॥
Asaṁyatātmanā yogo duṣprāpa iti me matiḥ|
Vaśyātmanā tu yatatā śakyo'vāptumupāyataḥ||36||
"My (me) opinion (matiḥ) (is that) 'Yoga (yogaḥ) is difficult to be attained (duṣprāpaḥ) by one whose mind (ātmanā) is not under control (asamyata... iti)'. But (tu) (it) can be (śakyaḥ) attained (avāptum) by one of subdued mind (vaśya-ātmanā) who strives for (Yoga) (yatatā) through the (aforesaid) means --i.e. practice and renunciation-- (upāyataḥ)1"||36||
1 I am following the Śrīdhara's view in my translation, and the rest of translators agrees with him for the most part. For example, Śaṅkarācārya specifies in the last portion of his bhāṣya or commentary: "... upāyato yathoktādupāyāt||36||" or "... (the meaning of the word) 'upāyataḥ' (in the stanza) is 'through the abovementioned means'||36||". Nonetheless, Baladeva, as a follower of dualistic Vedānta, he tends to devotion. Hence, he adds in the last part of his commentary, as if Kṛṣṇa Himself were speaking through his mouth, the following: "... Upāyato madārādhanalakṣaṇājjñānākārānniṣkāmakarmayogācceti me matiḥ||36||" or "... 'Through the means whose form is jñāna or knowledge characterized by worship of Me together with (the practice of) Karmayoga --Yoga of action-- free from desires', this is My opinion||36||". Rāmānuja adds some devotion to the Lord in his commentary too. In full non-dualism (absolute unity with the Lord), devotion to Him cannot arise because it needs "two" (Lord and devotee) to exist. Anyway, in my personal opinion, all is devotion to Him in the long run.
अयतिः श्रद्धयोपेतो योगाच्चलितमानसः।
अप्राप्य योगसंसिद्धिं कां गतिं कृष्ण गच्छति॥३७॥
Ayatiḥ śraddhayopeto yogāccalitamānasaḥ|
Aprāpya yogasaṁsiddhiṁ kāṁ gatiṁ kṛṣṇa gacchati||37||
Arjuna (arjunaḥ) said (uvāca):
"(Though) endowed (upetaḥ) with faith (śraddhayā), one who does not make efforts properly (ayatiḥ)1 (and) whose mind (mānasaḥ) is deviated (calita) from Yoga (yogāt), not having obtained (aprāpya) complete perfection or success (saṁsiddhim) in Yoga (yoga), oh Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa), what (kām) way (gatim) does he go (gacchati)2? --i.e. what state does he attain after dying?--"||37||
1 According to Śrīdhara, an "ayati" (lit. one who is not ascetic) is as follows: "... ayatiḥ samyaṅna yatate| Śithilābhyāsa ityarthaḥ|..." or "... (he is) an 'ayati' (because) he does not make efforts properly. (In other words, his) practice is relaxed --i.e. he does not persevere diligently--. This is sense...". The rest of commentators agrees with him in general. For instance, Śaṅkarācārya says that an "ayati" is the following: "Ayatiraprayatnavān yogamārge..." or "An 'ayati' is one who does not make efforts on the path of Yoga...".
2 The ending portion of the Śrīdhara's commentary summarizes the meaning of the last line of the stanza: "... Evamabhyāsavairāgyaśaithilyādyogasya saṁsiddhiṁ phalaṁ jñānamaprāpya kāṁ gatiṁ prāpnoti||37||" or "... Thus, not having obtained the 'yoga-saṁsiddhi' (or) fruit of Yoga (in the form of) knowledge, due to his relaxing 'abhyāsa' --practice-- and 'vairāgya' --renunciation--, what state or condition does he attain?||37||". It is interesting that Madhusūdana (another commentator) makes the following point very clear, viz. that Arjuna is asking about what will happen to that person after dying: "... atattvajña eva mṛtaḥ san kāṁ gatiṁ he kṛṣṇa gacchati sugatiṁ durgatiṁ vā..." or "... the one who does not know the Supreme Principle (or Truth), once he is dead, oh Kṛṣṇa, what way does he go... a good way or a bad one?...". Of course, Madhusūdana is not speaking of an ordinary mortal but about one who is endowed with faith and practiced Yoga to a certain extent but failed to attain the goal.
अप्रतिष्ठो महाबाहो विमूढो ब्रह्मणः पथि॥३८॥
Apratiṣṭho mahābāho vimūḍho brahmaṇaḥ pathi||38||
"Oh big-armed one (mahā-bāho)1, fallen (vibhraṣṭaḥ) from both (ubhaya)2, without support (apratiṣṭhaḥ)3, completely deluded and bewildered (vimūḍhaḥ) on the path (pathi) of Brahma (brahmaṇaḥ) --i.e. on the path leading to Brahma--, does he not perish (kaccid na... naśyati)4 like (iva) a rent (chinna) cloud (abhram)?"||38||
1 Epithet for Kṛṣṇa, in this case, as "mahā-bāho" is generally used as an epithet of Arjuna.
2 There are several elaborate explanations, but I selected the one of Madhusūdana because it is concise. The commentaries of this author are not generally characterized for being "concise"... but in this case, despite his commentary is a long one as almost always, his definition of the meaning of "ubhaya-vibhraṣṭaḥ" --lit. 'fallen from both'-- is short and precise. Listen up: "... ubhayavibhraṣṭaḥ karmamārgājjñānamārgācca vibhraṣṭaḥ..." or "... (the compound) 'ubhaya-vibhraṣṭaḥ' (means) one who has fallen from the paths of karma --action-- and jñāna --knowledge--...". In other terms, he has failed to attain the fruit of Karmayoga (Yoga of action) and Jñānayoga (Yoga of Knowledge).
3 According to Śrīdhara, the word "apratiṣṭha" means "nirāśraya", i.e. "supportless".
4 The term "kaccid" (kat cid), which generally may be translated as "sometimes, now and then", here is used as a mere particle of interrogation. Thus, it remains untranslated. Yes, in English you can consider it as meaning "does, do, etc." (particles of interrogation) but in other languages (e.g. Spanish), such particles are not used at all. And of course "na" is "not" in "does he not perish..." (read the stanza, please). In turn, the word "naśyati" means "it disappears, perishes, is lost, etc.". Simple!
एतन्मे संशयं कृष्ण छेत्तुमर्हस्यशेषतः।
त्वदन्यः संशयस्यास्य छेत्ता न ह्युपपद्यते॥३९॥
Etanme saṁśayaṁ kṛṣṇa chettumarhasyaśeṣataḥ|
Tvadanyaḥ saṁśayasyāsya chettā na hyupapadyate||39||
"Oh Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa), please, remove (chettum arhasi) completely (aśeṣataḥ) this (etad) doubt (saṁśayam) of mine (me), because (hi), other than (anyaḥ) You (tvad), there is no (na... upapadyate)1 remover (chettā) of this (asya) doubt --saṁśaya-- (saṁśayasya) --i.e. there is nobody who can remove this doubt but You--"||39||
1 The expression "upapadyate" might be interpreted as "he|she|it is fit for|to", in the sense that "because there is nobody fit for being a remover of this doubt other than You", but this, though clear and nice apparently, is not right in this case because the construction of the sentence should be different if one is going to use the root "upapad" --from which "upapadyate" is derived-- as meaning "to be fit for|to". I cannot explain how to make the changes in the structure of the sentence to you in order to use "upapad" in the sense of "to be fit for|to" here because it firstly requires from you a good knowledge of Sanskrit grammar. No, the real meaning of "upapadyate" in this context is "there is", and in combination with "na", i.e. "na... upapadyate" (look at the stanza), the phrase means "there is not" or "there is no", such as is explained by Madhusūdana himself: "... nopapadyate na sambhavati..." or "... (the expression) 'na... upapadyate' (means) 'na sambhavati', viz. 'there is not' or 'there is no'...". For this reason, I translated the stanza as I did. OK, if you did not understand anything, do not worry and trust me. I had to make that point clear because any translator may make a mistake in this stanza if not careful enough.
पार्थ नैवेह नामुत्र विनाशस्तस्य विद्यते।
न हि कल्याणकृत्कश्चिद्दुर्गतिं तात गच्छति॥४०॥
Pārtha naiveha nāmutra vināśastasya vidyate|
Na hi kalyāṇakṛtkaściddurgatiṁ tāta gacchati||40||
Venerable (śrī) Bhagavān (bhagavān)1 said (uvāca):
"Oh son of Pṛthā (pārtha)2, neither (na eva) here --in this world-- (iha) nor (na) in the other world (amutra) there is (vidyate) destruction or loss (vināśaḥ)3 for him (tasya), since (hi) nobody (na... kaścid) who does good --i.e. who is virtuous-- (kalyāṇa-kṛt) goes (gacchati) a bad way (durgatim) --viz. attains a bad state or condition--, my son (tāta)"||40||
1 Lit. "The Divine or Adorable One", or also "The Fortunate One", i.e. Lord Kṛṣṇa.
2 Epithet for Arjuna.
3 It is interesting to read the interpretation of Śrīdhara as far as the meaning of "vināśa" --lit. loss, destruction, etc.-- is concerned. Note that "vināśa" and "nāśa" may be used as synonymous. Śrīdhara writes: "... Iha loke nāśa ubhayabhraṣṭātpātityam| Amutra paraloke nāśo narakaprāptiḥ| Tadubhayaṁ tasya nāstyeva|..." or "... Here, in the world, 'nāśa' (means) loss of position or caste --i.e. degradation-- since he has fallen from both --read note 2 under stanza 38--. 'Amutra', i.e. in the other world, 'nāśa' (would be) an arrival at hell (for such a person). (Anyway,) those two things --loss of position or caste and arrival at hell-- does not happen to him at all...".
प्राप्य पुण्यकृतां लोकानुषित्वा शाश्वतीः समाः।
शुचीनां श्रीमतां गेहे योगभ्रष्टोऽभिजायते॥४१॥
Prāpya puṇyakṛtāṁ lokānuṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ|
Śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yogabhraṣṭo'bhijāyate||41||
"After having attained (prāpya) the worlds (lokān) of the righteous (puṇya-kṛtām) (and) dwelt --lit. 'having dwelt', but it would be redundant-- (uṣitvā) (there) for many (śāśvatīḥ) years (samāḥ), he who has fallen (bhraṣṭaḥ) from Yoga (yoga) is born (abhijāyate) in the house (gehe) of prosperous people (śrīmatām) of virtuous conduct (śucīnām)1"||41||
1 Viśvanātha explains in the last part of his commentary on the present stanza: "... Śucīnāṁ sadācārāṇāṁ śrīmatāṁ dhanikavaṇigādīnāṁ rājñām vā||41||" or "... (The meaning of the phrase 'śucīnāṁ śrīmatām' is as follows:) 'śucīnām' (means) 'of virtuous conduct', (and) 'śrīmatām' (means) 'of wealthy merchants, etc., or (even) kings'||41||". In turn, Śrīdhara comments: "... śucīnāṁ sadācārāṇāṁ śrīmatāṁ dhaninām|..." or "... (the meaning of the phrase 'śucīnāṁ śrīmatām' is the following:) 'śucīnām' (means) 'of virtuous conduct', (and) 'śrīmatām' (means) 'of wealthy people'...".
अथवा योगिनामेव कुले भवति धीमताम्।
एतद्धि दुर्लभतरं लोके जन्म यदीदृशम्॥४२॥
Athavā yogināmeva kule bhavati dhīmatām|
Etaddhi durlabhataraṁ loke janma yadīdṛśam||42||
"Or (athavā) (his) birth (janma) occurs (bhavati) in the family (kule) of wise and learned (dhīmatām)1 yogī-s (yoginām eva). (However,) this (etad) birth (janma), which (yad) is endowed with such qualities (īdṛśam), (is) certainly (hi) more difficult to be attained (durlabhataram) in the world (loke)2"||42||
1 Śrīdhara says: "... Yoganiṣṭhānāṁ dhīmatām jñāninām..." or "... Of followers of Yoga who are 'dhīmantas', viz. 'knowers'...".
2 Śrīdhara, the great commentator of Gītā, specifies clearly in the last portion of his commentary: "... Etajjanma stauti īdṛśaṁ yajjanmaitaddhi loke durlabhataraṁ mokṣahetutvāt||42||" or "... (The Lord) extols this birth which is endowed with such qualities (because) this birth is certainly more difficult to be attained in the world, since it causes Liberation||42||".
तत्र तं बुद्धिसंयोगं लभते पौर्वदेहिकम्।
यतते च ततो भूयः संसिद्धौ कुरुनन्दन॥४३॥
Tatra taṁ buddhisaṁyogaṁ labhate paurvadehikam|
Yatate ca tato bhūyaḥ saṁsiddhau kurunandana||43||
"In that (birth) --i.e. in either formerly described births-- (tatra)1, he gets (labhate) in contact or connection (saṁyogam) (again) with that (tam) buddhi --lit. intelligence, understanding-- (buddhi)2 he had in his previous body (paurvadehikam). And (ca) after that --viz. after having obtained that birth-- (tatas)3, he strives (yatate) for total perfection (saṁsiddhau) still more (bhūyas)4, oh descendant (nandana) of Kuru (kuru)5"||43||
1 Śrīdhara explains: "... Sa tatra dviprakāre'pi janmani..." or "... He, in that birth that is even of two kinds...". Śrīdhara refers to the two types of birth described by the Lord in the stanzas 41 and 42.
2 The sublime Baladeva comments: "... Buddhyā svadharmasvātmaparamātmaviṣayā saṁyogaṁ sambandham labhate|..." or "... He gets a 'saṁyoga' or connection with buddhi --intelligence, understanding-- whose object is (to perform) his own dharma (or duty in life, to attain) to his own Self and (to realize) Paramātmā --viz. the aspect of God located in the heart of all beings--...". In short, such a person comes to get in touch again with that kind of buddhi which had been developed by himself in his past life.
3 Madhusūdana makes clear this term: "... tatastallābhānantaram..." or "... 'tatas' (means) immediately after that obtainment (of a new birth)..." .
4 Śrīdhara says that "bhūyas" means "adhikam" (exceedingly, more, etc.), while Baladeva interprets the same term as "bahutaram" or "more, etc.".
5 Epithet for Arjuna.
पूर्वाभ्यासेन तेनैव ह्रियते ह्यवशोऽपि सः।
जिज्ञासुरपि योगस्य शब्दब्रह्मातिवर्तते॥४४॥
Pūrvābhyāsena tenaiva hriyate hyavaśo'pi saḥ|
Jijñāsurapi yogasya śabdabrahmātivartate||44||
"He (saḥ) is carried on (hriyate)1 by that (tena) very (eva) practice --abhyāsa-- (abhyāsena) (performed) before (pūrva), even (api) against his own desires (avaśaḥ) indeed (hi). Even (api) one who desires to know (jijñāsuḥ) (the essential nature) of Yoga (yogasya)2 passes beyond --i.e. transcends-- (ativartate) Śabdabrahma --lit. the Veda-s considered as a revealed sound or word and identified with the Supreme-- (śabda-brahma)3"||44||
1 Viśvanātha specifies that "hriyate" means "ākṛṣyate" (he is dragged).
2 Śrīdhara says that the phrase "jijñāsur... yogasya" in the stanza means really "... Yogasya svarūpaṁ jijñāsuḥ..." or "... One who desires to know the essential nature of Yoga...". Anyway, "jijñāsur... yogasya" might be 'directly' translated as "one who desires to know Yoga", but this form of expression in Sanskrit is rare though possible. Generally, you would expect "jijñāsur... yogam" and not "jijñāsur... yogasya"... oh well, subtleties of Sanskrit grammar. Do not worry and trust me.
3 According to Śrīdhara and Madhusūdana, "śabda-brahma" is "Veda". But Viśvanātha extends the meaning to "Vedaśāstra" (in singular number), i.e. "Vedic scripture" or "the doctrine of the Veda-s". Other commentators also consider "śabda-brahma" as "Veda", except Rāmānuja, who gives a elaborate explanation of the meaning of "śabda-brahma". To be able to understand his explanation, you need to know several things about Viśiṣṭādvaitavedānta --qualified non-dualistic Vedānta-- (a philosophical system of which he himself was the founder), and to explain them to you in detail would make this note too lengthy indeed.
To summarize it, I will only say that in the Rāmānuja's view, "śabda-brahma" is Brahma appearing in the form of all that can be expressed as śabda or sound (e.g. gods, men, etc.), and therefore, Brahma is Prakṛti in this case. The traditional interpretation of Prakṛti as source of the material universe, specially maintained by Dvaitavedānta (dualistic Vedānta) and Sāṅkhya, is not completely valid in Rāmānuja's Viśiṣṭādvaitavedānta. There are several differences. For example, Prakṛti is limited and not unlimited like in Sāṅkhya. Oh well, a long story for a mere explanatory note. Just understand this finally: Rāmānuja specifies that such a yogī passes beyond Śabdabrahma in the sense that he is freed from his relationship to that Prakṛti, and thus he attains his own Self, which is a continual flow of knowledge and joy which cannot be expressed in śabda o sound. OK, sorry if I am making some mistake, but Viśiṣṭādvaitavedānta is not my specialty, be sure. Remember that every philosophical system is an universe in itself and I am just a mere human being with just one limited mind. Good!
And according to the great Śaṅkarācārya:
"... sāmarthyātso'pi śabdabrahma vedoktakarmānuṣṭhānaphalamativartate'atikrāmati..." or "... due to (his) capacity and efficacy, he even passes beyond, i.e. he goes beyond Śabdabrahma or the fruit (gotten) from the performance of rituals described in the Veda-s...". OK, it is clear enough, isn't it?
By the way, always remember that I am using 4 commentaries in Sanskrit as a indispensable help in my work of translating the Gītā. The respective authors of those commentaries are Śrīdhara, Baladeva, Viśvanātha and Madhusūdana. Besides, now and then I use the commentaries of Rāmānuja and Śaṅkarācārya too. Thus, when I say "all commentators agree with each other" or any other thing related to Gītā's commentators, I am the whole time referring only to those first four sages and their works, despite I insert here and there comments by Rāmānuja and Śaṅkarācārya. Understood? Well done!
प्रयत्नाद्यतमानस्तु योगी संशुद्धकिल्बिषः।
अनेकजन्मसंसिद्धस्ततो याति परां गतिम्॥४५॥
Prayatnādyatamānastu yogī saṁśuddhakilbiṣaḥ|
Anekajanmasaṁsiddhastato yāti parāṁ gatim||45||
"The yogī (yogī) who strives (yatamānaḥ)1 diligently (prayatnāt)2, who is purified from sin (saṁśuddha-kilbiṣaḥ) (and) has achieved full perfection (saṁsiddhaḥ)3 (after) many (aneka) births (janma), attains (yāti) consequently (tatas) the highest (parām) state --i.e. Liberation-- (gatim)4"||45||
1 In the Śrīdhara's view, "yatamānaḥ" is "yatnaṁ kurvan" or "one who makes an effort".
2 Śrīdhara defines "prayatnāt" as "uttarottaramadhikam" or "more and more, abundantly".
3 The sage Śrīdhara states the meaning of "saṁsiddha" by the following phrase: "... samyagjñānī bhūtvā..." or "... having become a jñānī or knower completely...". Thus, Śrīdhara considers that a "saṁsiddha" is someone who has become a knower of Brahma.
4 Viśvanātha says, in the last part of his commentary, that "parāṁ gatim" means "... parām gatim mokṣam||45||" or "... (he attains) the highest state, viz. Mokṣa or Liberation||45||". But Baladeva enriches the description of the concept of Liberation according to Dvaitavedānta (dualistic Vedānta) in the last portion of his own commentary: "... parāṁ svaparātmāvalokalakṣanāṁ gatiṁ muktiṁ yāti||45||" or "... he attains the highest state, i.e. Mukti or Liberation characterized by the vision of the Self in himself and others||45||".
तपस्विभ्योऽधिको योगी ज्ञानिभ्योऽपि मतोऽधिकः।
कर्मिभ्यश्चाधिको योगी तस्माद्योगी भवार्जुन॥४६॥
Tapasvibhyo'dhiko yogī jñānibhyo'pi mato'dhikaḥ|
Karmibhyaścādhiko yogī tasmādyogī bhavārjuna||46||
"A yogī (yogī) (is) superior (adhikaḥ) to the tapasvī-s --lit. the ones who practice austerities-- (tapasvibhyaḥ)1. He is considered (mataḥ) superior (adhikaḥ) even (api) to the jñānī-s --lit. the ones who are occupied with knowledge-- (jñānibhyaḥ)2. And (ca) a yogī (yogī) (is) superior (adhikaḥ) to the karmī-s --lit. the ones who perform karma-s, i.e. rituals, in this context-- (karmibhyaḥ)3. Therefore (tasmāt), oh Arjuna (arjuna), become (bhava) a yogī (yogī)"||46||
1 Śrīdhara opines that "tapasvibhyaḥ" means "... kṛcchracāndrāyaṇāditaponiṣṭhebhyaḥ|..." or "... to the ones who follow austerities (such as) kṛcchra --a type of bodily mortification--, a fast regulated by the moon, etc..." The rest of commentators more or less opine the same thing.
2 Śrīdhara tells about "jñāninibhyaḥ" the following: "... Jñānibhyaḥ śāstrajñānavidbhyo'pi|..." or ".... (He is considered superior) even to the jñānī-s, viz. to the ones who possess knowledge of scriptures|...".
According to Viśvanātha: "... jñānibhyo brahmopāsakebhyo'pi..." or "... (he is considered superior) even to the jñānī-s, viz. to the ones who are engaged in Brahma --the impersonal aspect of God---...". Well, this is reasonable, as Viśvanātha follows Dvaitavedānta (dualistic Vedānta), in which the aspect Bhagavān or personal of God is predominant.
Madhusūdana says: "... Jñānibhyo'pi paro'kṣajñānavadbhyo'pi..." or "... (He is considered superior) even to the jñānī-s, viz. to the ones who has indirect or mediate knowledge...". Thus, as the yogī has "direct o immediate" (aparo'kṣa) knowledge of Truth, he excels. This is the sense.
Śaṅkarācārya states: "... jñānibhyo'pi jñānamatra śāstrārthapāṇḍityam..." or "... (he is considered superior) even to the jñānī-s --the ones possessing jñāna or knowledge--, (being) knowledge here scholarship as regards the meaning of the scriptures...".
Finally, Rāmānuja affirms that the jñānī-s are the ones who seek to attain "puruṣārtha" or "the goal of the human being" thus: "... ātmajñānavyatiriktairjñānaiḥ..." or "... by means of the knowledges abundantly furnished with knowledge of the Self...".
Baladeva also gives his opinion but he includes the term "arthaśāstra". To explain the exact meaning of this word would take too long for a mere explanatory note like the present one, as the reader firstly needs to be fully informed by me about some complicated topics. Anyway, all in all, one thing is certain: the "jñānī-s" are "men of knowledge". This is what you should understand.
3 Śrīdhara defines "karmibhyaḥ" as "iṣṭāpūrtādikarmakāribhyaḥ" or "to the ones who do actions (involving) 'iṣṭāpūrta' --lit. stored up sacrifices--, etc.". In a sacrifice, one obtains merit which is stored up in heaven according to what is taught in the Veda-s. This "unseen" merit gained from the sacrifice is named "iṣṭāpūrta" (iṣṭa-āpūrta).
Rāmānuja postulates that the karmī-s are the ones who seek to attain "puruṣārtha" or "the goal of the human being" as follows: "... kevalairaśvamedhādibhiḥ karmabhiḥ..." or "... only by means of actions (such as) the horse-sacrifice, etc...". Of course, I cannot explain you in depth what the horse-sacrifice is here. It is an ancient rite in which a horse is involved, and that is all I can say to you for now, or this will not be an explanatory note anymore but the longest commentary of Bhagavadgītā ever! Just kidding, but one thing is true, the horse-sacrifice is a long topic which is completely explained in detail in the Vedic scriptures.
Madhusūdana gives a lengthy explanation: "... dakṣiṇāsahitajyotiṣṭomādikarmānuṣṭhānebhyaḥ..." or "... (he is considered superior) to the ones who perform actions (such as) the 'jyotiṣṭoma' sacrifice along with the gift or fee given to the officiating priests, etc...". "Jyotiṣṭoma" is a type of sacrifice, of course... another long story. And "dakṣiṇā" means in this case "the gift or fee which is offered to the priests officiating the ceremony on behalf of the sacrificer". In short, the priests perform a sacrifice for someone --the sacrificer-- and then they get a gift or fee from him, which results in merit being stored up in heaven for the sacrificer himself. This stored up merit is called "iṣṭāpūrta" as I explained above (Read the Śrīdhara's opinion).
Baladeva has a similar opinion as the previous commentators: "... sakāmeṣṭāpūrtyādikṛdbhyaḥ..." or "... (he is considered superior) to the ones who perform 'iṣṭāpūrti' --lit. stored up sacrifices--, etc., with desire...". The term "iṣṭāpūrti" is synonymous with "iṣṭāpūrta". Read my explanation of the latter term above (in the opinions of Śrīdhara and Madhusūdana). Baladeva added "with desire" to denote that those sacrificers are desirous to get the fruit of such sacrifices in the form of merit stored up in heaven.
Viśvanātha does not explain the term "karmibhyaḥ" at all in his commentary.
Finally, Śaṅkarācārya specifies the following regarding to the actions of the "karmī-s" or "the ones who perform karma-s": "... agnihotrādi karma..." or "... (the term) 'karma' (means here) Agnihotra or oblation to Agni --the god of fire--, etc...".
Therefore, the "karmī-s" are not to be interpreted here as people just doing ordinary actions, but as people performing sacrificial rites, i.e. they are sacrificers. This should be understood clearly.
योगिनामपि सर्वेषां मद्गतेनान्तरात्मना।
श्रद्धावान्भजते यो मां स मे युक्ततमो मतः॥४७॥
Yogināmapi sarveṣāṁ madgatenāntarātmanā|
Śraddhāvānbhajate yo māṁ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ||47||
"The one (saḥ) furnished with faith (śraddhavān) who (yaḥ) worships (bhajate) Me (mām) with (his) mind (antar-ātmanā)1 fixed --gata-- (gatena) on Me (mad), is considered (mataḥ) by Me (me) as the best 'yukta' --lit. one who is engaged in Yoga, i.e. a yogī-- (yukta-tamaḥ)2 even (api) among all (sarveṣām) the yogī-s (yoginām)"||47||
1 Śrīdhara says that "antarātmanā" means "manasā" or "with (his) mind". Baladeva agrees with him completely. But according to Madhusūdana, the Lord is referring to "antaḥkaraṇa" or "the inner (psychic) organ composed of intellect, ego, mind and cít or consciousness". Śaṅkarācārya has the same opinion as Madhusūdana. In turn, Rāmānuja agrees with Śrīdhara. He also gives a elaborate explanation about the mind, but all in all he says the same thing as Śrīdhara, i.e. "antarātmanā" means "manasā" o "with (his) mind".
2 Śrīdhara interprets "yuktatamaḥ" as "the best of the ones engaged in Yoga" in the following phrase, as if the Lord were speaking through his own mouth: "... Sa yogayukteṣu śreṣṭho mama sammataḥ|..." or "... He is regarded by Me as the best among the ones engaged in Yoga...". Baladeva interprets "yuktatamaḥ" as "... madekabhaktaḥ..." or "... one who is devoted only to Me...".
In the opinion of Madhusūdana, a "yuktatamaḥ" is "... madbhakto yogī..." or "... a yogī who is My devotee...". Viśvanātha comments: "... Madbhakto bhavati sa yuktatama upāyavattamaḥ|..." or "... He is My devotee who is a 'yuktatama' or the best of the 'upāyavatas', i.e. 'the ones acting as a means'...". In short, he is the best means between the Lord and the living beings fallen into the power of spiritual ignorance. This is the sense, in my humble opinion.
And Śaṅkarācārya says: "... yuktatamo'tiśayena yuktaḥ..." or "... a 'yuktatamaḥ' is a 'yukta' endowed with superiority or pre-eminence...". Though he does not specify what a "yukta" is, by following the Śrīdhara's view, a "yukta" means "one who is engaged in Yoga", in this context.
This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.
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