“The Geeta: as a Chaitanyite reads it” by Tridandi Swami B.H. Bon, "Chapter Six : Concentration"

SAID Bhagavan: "By merely refraining
From the performance of Karma like
Man does not become a Sannyasin;
The merely sitting with the eyes half-opened,
Neglecting all the physical activities
Does not make man one whit a true Yogin
But he is both a sannyasin and a Yogin
Who performs his duties selflessly without desiring
According to the Scriptures,
An ordinary sannyasin, who does refrain from
Is known as 'niragni', he who must no longer
handle fire
Or perform religious rites
In which a light perpetual must be maintained.
Again, a Yogi is supposed to stay all physical
And undergo severe austerities
While steadying his glance
At the tip of the nose with half-closed eyes.
But to the Supreme Lord all these are but exterior
And no essential sign of true renunciation
Or of genuine self-restraint.
Conversely one who performs unselfish Karma-
Is both a sannyasin and a Yogi.

O Pandava ! that which is called sannyasa is
also known as Yoga.
Verily he is not a Yogi
Who does not abandon his desires for fruits of
I have already taught thee to identify
Sankhya-Yoga with Karma-Yoga, and now I shall
explain to thee
How Karma-Yoga and Astanga-Yoga are really one.
Indeed, in all these three Yogas : Sankhya, Karma
and Astanga
Are not distinctive principles;
The ignorant imagine them to be so.

YOGA is like a flight of steps.
Many are the steps or means,
Beginning with the lowest rung of abject worldliness
To the highest realisation of the pure state.
Each of these rising steps possesses a distinctive
But Yoga is the name in common
For the whole flight of steps.
There are two main divisions of the Yogins ;
Those who have just begun to mount the steps-
Karma or selfless action
Is their only aim, to purify the heart ;
Secondly come those who have already reached the
top rung of the ladder-
Tranquility, complete restraint of passions is their
When man has outlived his attachment
For every sensual joy, and has renounced
Avowals to perform religious rites,
Yogaruddha he is called-
One who has reached the topmost step of Yoga's

A soul that falls into the sink of abject worldliness
May be redeemed but by a mind which is
Completely from the senses pleasures.
The soul must never be submerged by worldly
Mind is both a friend and foe
To the soul, according to the circumstances.
Mind is a friend to that soul
Who has full control of it,
And is a foe to him when uncontrolled.
These are the characteristics of a Yogaruddha :
He has controlled his mind,
Is unperturbed by worldly love and hate,
Or heat and cold, pleasures and pains, honour and
Steadfast is he in deep meditation;
Satisfied with the knowledge that he has acquired
From the preceptors and the Scriptures, and the
Transcendental knowledge which he has achieved.
He is always steadily unshaken
In the normal nature of his true self;
He is self-controlled and is conversant with the
That mundane objects, such as earth
And stone and gold are all of equal values ;
That is, they are diverse forms of Matter,
And therefore must they perish.
He has acquired equanimity,
Freedom from love and hate
Regarding all those who are either friends or foes
Or relatives or those who are indifferent to him,
Or wish him well, or those who are detestable or
neutral, pious or vicious.

A Yogaruddha is engaged in deepest meditation in
Whatever he may do for maintenance of body
Should be entirely free from wicked or profane
As well as from all selfishness.
Learn thou the rules set forth for Yoga-practice:
The Yogi must select a spotless place
That neither is too high nor yet too low,
On Kusha-grass spread with a dearskin and a cloth
And seated there, he should begin
To practise Yoga for the heart's purification,
By concentrating all his mind
And regulating his attention, senses and his actions.
Holding his body, head and neck erect and still,
And fixing his gaze upon the tip of his nose
In order to avoid deflection,
And being serene and fearless,
Firm in the vow of chastity
And holding his mind away from earthly matters,
He meditates upon My Personality Divine
Being attached to Me.

BY such practices his mind is steadied,
And if he be not lacking in devotion
Gradually attains to peace in Me,
Blissful Nirvana which is freedom from his worldly
And understanding of his own true self.
O Arjuna ! Yoga is not possible to him
Who either eats or fasts too much,
Nor is it possible to him who sleeps too much or
not enough.
Yoga by degrees destroys all worldly miseries
For him who is moderate in food and recreation,
Regulated in activities, in sleeping and in waking.

When the attention of an individual mind is
Or when the heart is free from worldly shackles
And is well established in transcendence,
Then man escapes all hankering after worldly aims
And is said to be Yukta or well-balanced.
As a lamp that glows within a closed room does not
So the thoughts of a Yogin, centered in the Atman,
Are not disturbed by outside objects.
By such practices of Yoga,
The mind can concentrate its powers,
Restrain its senses from their corresponding sense-
And gradually reach the stage of samadhi.
In that stage, he enjoys unmeasured spiritual bliss
By realising Paramatma in his pure self
On the transcendental plane.
Failing to realise the true significance of Patanjali's
His critics thus explain it to the world.
They say that the attainment of immortal bliss
In Moksha or the human soul's salvation
By its union with the Over-soul-
As explained by the Vedanta-school-is inconsistent;
For, if such blissful comprehension be accepted,
Then the dual existence of perceiver and perception
Would be a contradiction
Of the very contention of Kaivalya
Or the oneness of the Over-soul with the jiva-souls.
But Patanjali does not hold this view as stated by
his commentators.
He has explained it in his last aphorism thus:
When man is freed from all the four
Earthly qualitative objects of human life-
Virtue, wealth, desire, moksha or salvation,
His pure self is then released from the fluctuating
And is installed in his true nature,
Identical with Over-Self.
This is called Chit-Shakti.

KAIVALYA denotes this unity of qualitative
transcendental natures,
Free from the mundane attributes that co-exist
Between a human soul and the Divine Self.
By scrutinizing Patanjali's Yoga Philosophy,
It will be seen he did not mean to nullify
The attributes of self in the Kaivalya stage.
He signified an ultimate beatitude of self
Which is deovid of earthly qualities.
The real nature of self is wakened
When it is completely free from Maya's triple-
With which the fallen self has come in contact.
Patanjali did not say that with release from the
conditioned state
The normal nature of the self, which is Ananda,
Is also liberated.
He holds, that perfect bliss which is Ananda,
Is eternal and transcendental
And realisable when freed from mundane qualities.
Ananda is true bliss: the summum bonum of Yoga.
That Bhakti is the Highest end of Yoga
Will afterwards be shown.

SAMADHI is of two kinds: the first is Samprajnata
And the next, Asamprajnata.
In the first are manifold distinctions
Drawn according to their argument and inference,
The second standing by itself.
In this state of Samadhi, intensest ecstasy
Which is beyond all physical and mental senses
Is apprehended by the Buddhi
Or pure intelligence of the emancipated soul ;
Once it is realised in its true aspect,
The mind does not deflect from it.
If this intensely blissful state be not attained,
Astanga-Yoga is of no lasting use to man ;
For if the Yogi be allured by supernatural results
That are associated with it,
His mind will be diverted from the final aim of Yoga,
Which is the understanding of eternal and ecstatic
Such obstacles can easily dissuade a Yogin from the
During the stage of practice.
Such dangers do not stand howe'er in the way of

NO other bliss considers he superior
To what he realises in Samadhi.
Secure in bliss, never again can troubles sway him.
He finds Sumadhi free from all additions and
subtractions of miseries.
With patience, presverance and certitude
He vigorously clings to Yoga.
All pleasures personal are insignificant
To a Yogin who enjoys bliss in Samadhi,
Which he does not like to part with
Even at the sacrifice of life,
Not to speak of worldly sufferings.
Relinquishing all objects of enjoyment,
He regulates his senses by his bridled mind
And gradually learns cessation of enjoyment
By pure intelligence, and ultimately realises
The real nature of his own true self
By regulating mind with meditation,
Steady abstraction and retraction.
He does not loose his steadfastness in practice
Even when gravest obstacles are met with face to
Nor does he grow impatient at delay in his succes.
He is resolute, forbearing and persevering
Untill he reaches Yoga's goal.
The first thing for a neophyte in Yoga
Is fully to regulate his senses by the mind,
After dismissing all material desires.
This he can do by practising control
Over his sensual appetites,
Observing special vows for mind-restraint,
And various ways of squating whilst in contem-
Witholding breath as a religious penance
And extirpating all desires for powers supernatural.

NEXT is Dhyana or concentration of the mental
Then comes Dharana or steady abstration of the
Next to it is Pratyahara or withdrawal,
And lastly follows atmasamadhi,
Resulting from this gradual regulation of the mind.
At this stage, mundane thoughts and such affinities
must cease.
The mind is naturally fickle and unsteady;
When it vacillates, it should be curbed
And brought beneath the domination of the soul.
Verily the bliss described comes to that Yogin
Who by such practices as these,
Has overcome all obstacles;
And whose mind is tranquil, undisturbed by love
and hate,
And is in touch which Brahman, the Supreme;
Whose passions born of Maya's triple qualities
Are quited, and is without tinge of sin.
Such a Yogin when devoid of sin, enjoys great bliss
From being in contact with Brahman, the Great.
That is to say, he realises transcendental ecstacy
In cultivating truth anent the Lord Supreme.
This is Bhakti.

NOW the nature of that bliss
In realising Brahman, the Great,
Is here described.
A Yogi in his state of Samadhi has now two
different moods:
His feeling and his action.*
(* The following two slokas explain further the 'feelings',
and the next sloka explains the 'actions' of a Yogi.)
In the mood of feeling, his state of mind is thus :
He senses the existence of the Over-soul in every-
This is his microscopic vision.
He realises that it is the Over-soul's prerogative
To enter into the minutest atom.
He also realises that all beings must exist in Him.
This is the macroscopic vision,
When the Over-soul is seen as Brahman, the
Secondly his action is that when his mind becomes
steadfast in Yoga,
He sees the same eternal, knowing, blissfull nature
in all beings.

HE who sees Me everywhere and all objects
within Me,
I do not forsake: he becomes Mine and I become
(*In the previous sloka, the vision of a Yogi ie confined to
the realisation of the All-pervading Brahman and no relationship
is felt. But when he crosses the treshold of Shanta-rati, he
feels an eternal loving kinship between him and the Lord, i.e. he
eels like this; 'I am His and He is mine.'
When his kinship of eternal and reciprocated love
is wakened in him,
No more do I deceive him
With dry Nirvana or self-annihilation,
But I bless him with instinctive love
By which he serves Me in the Blissful Realm of
Love Divine.
When a Yogi transcends Brahman,
He realises an eternal link of My loving service
Which is called Bhakti.

THE meditation on the Four-armed Vishnu
In the beginning of the Yoga-practice,
Culminates in the identification of Vishnu
With the Normal-sized, Two-armed
And Most Perfectly Beautiful Person
Of Sree Krishna, at a stage of Samadhi
When the Yogi no longer sees any difference
Of time and distinction between
Sadhana or practice of the means,
And Siddhi or realisation of the end.
The Yogi who serves Sree Krishna
Who exists in all things,
By means of listening to and chanting His Name,
Form, Attributes and Entourage,
Ever lives in His Association
Though he may perform Karma in his active life
Or cultivate Jnana while developing discrimination
Or, be in deep Samadhi, absorbed meditation, in Yoga.
By lovingly clinging to the contemplation of the
Form Divine,
Of Sree Krishna Who is e'er beyond earthly time
and space.
Ecstatic bliss is felt from being in touch with Para-
The All-pervading Aspect of Sree Krishna.
Devotion or Bhakti to Krishna is the acme of

NOW listen, Arjuna ! said Sree Krishna,
"While I describe the nature of a Yogi's action.
A Yogi great is he who has calm and tranquil vision
And looks upon all beings on an equal level.
All beings are as dear to him as his own self,
Who knows and feels another's happiness and sorrow
as his own.
Always does he wish their happiness,
And acts accordingly."
"I see not, Madhusudana ! said Arjuna,
"How such perfect equilibrium
As Thou hast just instructed me, can be maintained,
Owing to the fickleness of the mind.*
(* The mind is characterised as :
CHANCHALAM : shaky, unsteady, fickle and ever-changing
in its views.
PRAMATHI : can disturb even the discriminating intelligence.
VALAWAT : just as disease sometimes defies even the
powerful specific, similarly, mind defies even the steady
intellignce which is its own specific.
DRIDDHAM : so stern and unbending is mind that it is almost
impossible for even the subtlest intelligence to curb it as though
a needle were to attempt to break an iron rod.
SUDUSKARAM : just as it is very difficult to suspend air in
the sky by inhaling by an Astanga-Yogi in his practice of
Kumbhaka, so also is mind difficult completely to subdue.)
This may be possible for some few days
Irrespective of enemies and allies.
But that it is feasible in life, I cannot understand.
O Krishna ! Thou hast said the fickle mind
Is to be bridled by a discriminating wisdom ;
But I notice that the mind,
Being normally unsteady,
Though powerful and unbending,
Is strong enough to shake even that intelligence.
Hence, to restrain that fickle mind
Is as difficult to me as to control the air.
The body may be compared with a chariot
Drawn by mind, the mighty horse
And bridle in the hands of keen intelligence, the
But the charioteer is too weak to control the running
And the chariot is therefore at the mercy of the
horse !"

SREE Bhagavan replied:
"All that thou hast said, O Mighty-armed !
Is no doubt true ;
But the Yoga-system lays special stress upon the fact
That this invisible but fickle mind can be,
O Son of Kunti ! well subdued by practice and
By practice is meant the cultivation of incessant
Of Vishnu, the Lord of all,
In obedience to directions given by the Spiritual
Asceticism lies more in detachment from the world's
Than in acceptance or abnegation regarding worldly

BY addressing Arjuna as 'Mighty - armed',
Sree Krishna means to say :
"Arjuna ! thou hast propitiated the great Yogi,
What wonder then, that thou wilt succeed
Easily in mastering the fickle mind ?
What doubt is there that thou wilt conquer
Even the bravest warriors in this battle
When thou wert powerful enough to overcome
Great Mahadeva in a contest with him !"
By addressing him as 'Son of Kunti'
Sree Krishna assures Arjuna of His help.
Arjuna is the son of the sister of Krishna's father;
And therefore even if he himself is not strong
enough to fight
His enemy 'mind', in one sense, the Kauravas in
He will come out victorious in either case
Through Krishna's Divine help
As a friend and relative.
The Yoga-system is of no avail to him,
Whose mind is not controlled
By practices and asceticism.
But adherence to the right path
Leads to succes in mind-control.
He who practices selfless Karma-Yoga,
The fruits of which he dedicates to God,
And meditation as directed in Astanga-Yoga
In order to control the mind,
And at the same time keeps the body and the soul
By genuine asceticism, that is, acceptance
Of just the requisite necessities of life
Favourable to the service of God
And negotiation of all objects undevout
Gradually gains perfection in Yoga practice.

ARJUNA said: "O Krishna! Thou hast explained
That succes in Yoga is attained
By strenuous and faithful practice and asceticism;
But those who have faith
In Thine instruction on this Yoga-system
And can make little progress on the path
And yet cannot attain to its perfection
Being not whole-hearted Yogins, owing to their
brief attempts,
Are apt to be entangled in matters of the world-
Their mind being uncontrolled for want of steadfast
And genuine asceticism. Tell me please, what will
become of them ?
Yoga is not possible without relinquishihg fruitive
Fruitive actions are best suited to the ignorant,
Performing which they can attain to happines
In this world and the next.
Being engaged in practices of Yoga,
These other people are deprived of such fruitive
And hence cannot enjoy in this world or the next;
While on the other hand, they fail to reach the goal
of Yoga
Owing to the reasons given here.
Their condition thus is like a cloud,
Severed from one mass
And disolved half-way before it merges in another.
In this world, what a miserable plight a neophyte in
Yoga knows,
When being indifferent to fruitive acts
As he intends to practice Yoga, wherein he subse-
quently fails,
He receives a set-back for want of genuine asceticism.
In the next world, his hope for heavenly enjoyment
is at stake,
Due to his unskilful Karma-sannyasa;
Salvation he may not attain, as is incompetent to
follow Yoga
Which is a means to it.
Thus bewildered and insecure in both the worlds,
Is he doomed, O Mighty-armed! then to destruction ?
The authors of the scriptures are not all-wise.
But thou art the Lord Supreme and therefore art
None else but Thee, O Krishna !
Can sunder the very root of this my doubt."

SREE Bhagavan then replied:
"Partha ! no genuine adherent of Yoga,
Incurs damnation either in this world or in the next;
No misery attends the fate of one
Whose aims are good in practising his Yoga.
The thruth is this : Mankind is divided into classes-
The non-regulated and the regulated.
Those who are sensuous and do not conform
To social or religious laws
Are the non-regulated and unrighteous.
Civilized or savage, learned or ignorant,
Strong or weak-
Their conduct is no better than that of beasts.
No good result can be expected from their activities.
Those who abide by the injunctions of the Scriptures
Are the regulated righteous ones
And these are chiefly classified into three groups:
The Karmins, Jnanins and the Bhaktas.
The Karmins are again divided into Sakama the
And Niskama the selfless.
The Sakama are seekers after transient and very
trifling pleasures;
They strive for worldly benefits and heavenly
Which, even when attained, are transitory and
And thus the real end of human life is far beyond
their reach.
Freedom from psycho-mental bondage
And realisation of eternal, perfect bliss
Is the real end of an individwal soul.
Any field of life which is bereft
Of this final and eternal bliss
Is not worth any thing.

WHEN Karma aims at this eternal bliss,
It is called Karma-Yoga.
Karma-Yoga purifies the heart
Then leads to Jnana or knowledge true.
The next stage is Dhyana-Yoga,
Which is to meditate and concentrate;
And the highest end is Bhakti-Yoga.
If a Sakama Karmin will deny himself
All personal enjoyments, and endure all obstacles
In the performance of his Karma
Then he may be designated an "ascetic".
However sever asceticism or its penances may be,
Its end is nothing else but sensual enjoyment
Either in a gross or in a subtle form.
The demons and atheists also perform
Austerities, receiving sensual enjoyment as their
Beyond the boundaries of sensual enjoyments,
There is Niskama or selfless Karma
Which purposes the real aim of life.
Dhyana-Yoga or Jnana-Yoga,
Based on this selfless Karma-Yoga
Is superior to Karma proper
Inasmuch as this approaches closer to the final
Results accruing from Astanga-Yoga
Are better far in any circumstance than Sakama

THE defaulters in Astanga-Yoga
Belong to groups, according to their length of
He who has fallen off this path of Yoga
After short practice,
First of all enjoys for long celestial pleasures
Merited by virtues of Sakama-Karma,
And then is either born into the house
Of prosperous and wealthy merchants,
Or of Princes or of Kings.
He who left the path of Yoga
Even after lengthy practice
Is born again into the family of a Jnana-Yogin.
Know thou such birth in this world to be rare
And covetable, for this holy connection
Accelerates more highly his development from
O Son of Kunti !
Born in such a family of Jnana-Yogin,
He swiftly recollects his Yoga,
Regains the knowledge which he had required in
previous births;
And, out of inate aptitude,
Again strives to attain the end of Yoga.

NATURALLY, therefore, on the score of former
practices in Yoga,
He, with his renewed endeavour, soon surpasses
All the fruits of Sakama-Karma-Yoga, as mentioned
In the Vedas;
He attains superior results to those deserved
By the performance of fruit-seeking Karma-Yoga.
Then he continues to practice Yoga
With greater assiduity and fervour-
The nearer he approaces to perfection
The greater the elimination of offence and guilt.
He practices his Yoga constantly for many births
Untill he reaches ultimate beatitude. free from all

O Arjuna ! consider thoroughly and understand:
A selfless Karma-Yogin is better than a
selfish Karmin
Even though the latter practices severe austerities;
A jnana-Yogin, striving to realise the Absotute,
The attributeless Brahman-the Great-
The Negative Aspect of Lord Supreme-
Is better than a selfless Karma-Yogin,
But superior to all, is he who worships Paramatma
The Lord Supreme Himself.
A Yogin is superior in every way
To a Karmin seeking for reward.
Among the various grades of Yogins,
The one who practices the cult of pure devotion
Stands foremost in My sight. He who serves Me
With all faith and pure attachment,
I consider the devoutest Yogin.
Of those who practice rituals-
The fruit-seeker or Sakama-Karmin, cannot be
called a Yogin.
The selfless Karmins, Jnanins,
Astanga-Yogins and Bhakti-Yogins are all Yogins.

Yoga is only one. It is a ladder
Consisting of graded steps,
Leading an individual soul to God.
Selfless Karma-Yoga is the ladder's lowest step;
When knowledge and non-attachment to worldly
Are added to selfless action,
It is called Jnana-Yoga-the second higher step;
When concentration of the mind
And contemplation of God are further added,
It becomes Astanga-Yoga-the third superior step;
And when service to, and love of God, are further
It becomes Bhakti-Yoga-the fourth stage of
Yoga is, then, nothing but a great celestial staircase
Composed of steps in which are mentioned various
For the clearer understanding of the Yoga proper.

THOSE who aim at real and eternal good
Do practice Yoga; but in the gradual progress,
Man must first practise one stage of Yoga with firm
And, having reached its end, must no longer cling
to it
But make a forward march towards a higher Yoga
And lose attachment for the former.
He who clings to a particular step,
Can make no progress in his spiritual march.
And then is known according to the name
Of that step in the scale of Yoga.
On this account, some are designated Karma-Yogins,
Others Jnana-Yogins, Astanga-Yogins or Bhakti-
Hence, Partha ! he whose final aim it is to be
Most lovingly attached to Me, and to My reverential
With all energy of body, mind and soul,
Is far above the other three,
Who may be classed as Yogins.
Be thou a Bhakti-Yogin, above all.

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Pranam to Swami Bon

"I make my obeisances with deep and loving devotion for ever and ever to my Gurudev, who is known by the name of Srimad Bhakti Hriday Bon, who being attracted by the lotus-feet of Radha-Madhab is for ever and ever immersed in the perennial stream of supramundane joy emanating therefrom.

I bow down again and again with loving devotion to my Gurudev who is a wandering Tridandi mendicant and erudite Vaishnava (who) is always following in the wake of Sri Rupa; I make my obeisances in all humility, at all times with sincere loving devotion to my Gurudev who resides happily in the
Kunja (bower) allotted to him by Shrimati Radhika, the dearest Divine Consort of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna who is Rasa epitomized, who has taken to the way of Bhakti in consonace with the teachings of Sri Chaitanya - nay, whose whole pattern of life is moulded on the teachings and precepts of Sri Chaitanya."