Managing Racing Thoughts and Purpose of Meditation (43)


Lesson 43 re-emphasises an important sadhana, Karma Yoga, required before Meditation (Dhyana Yoga). Else Meditation becomes a struggle with excessive and unceasing thoughts & emotions. Disciplines required to MAINTAIN an undisturbed mind throughout the day – amidst daily living, is the subject matter.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 1, 2

Introduction to CH6 continuing from previous lesson 42…

1. Upāsanam-Dyānam

  • Problem which Meditation SOLVES:
    • Self-Knowledge has to be converted in actuality to produce result of jīvanmukti. Because often, despite Self-Knowledge we find we're not free of mental problems.
    • Despite conviction of knowledge (niścaya-jñānam), we find our mind does not enjoy benefit of Knowledge. I continue to be perturbed as before, as afraid, frustrated, as saṃsāri as before.
    • GOAL: Find out WHY Knowledge doesn't produce the result. Because śāstra says Knowledge should produce jīvanmukti, but despite thorough understanding + doubtless knowledge… I don't find a transformation in my personality. I seem to have the information, but don't have transformation. Thus find out what is the OBSTACLE.
      • EG: Water is in water tank. Tap is open. By sheer gravity, water should flow through tap. But I find water is not flowing. Tap is open. But tank is full. But water doesn't flow.
      • What is problem? Not lack of water. But some obstacle in tap which doesn't allow water to flow.
      • Thus wrong to add more water. Only REMOVE obstacle.
      • Similarly, once knowledge gained clearly… intellectual knowledge is capable of producing transformation. But if doesn't take place, there's OBSTACLE. Thus aim should be: REMOVING OBSTACLE.
    • How to remove Obstacles? Pay attention to psychological personality/mind. Looking at your own mind.
      • What problem? Habitual notions. Certain ideas about ourselves. They are strongly engrained in mind, called:
        • viparīta-bhāvanā: Habitual notions. Erroneous impressions. Feeling that I am this body-mind-sense complex. Even after the apprehension of our limitless nature).
    • We have gathered many viparīta-bhāvanā from childhood. Deep in subconscious mind.
      • EG: If brother always got good marks, and I got poor marks, and I got criticized by parents, I'll form impression “I am unloved/rejected”. Thus rejection will be coloring Intellect apprehension of Truth.
      • Thus habitual problems (viparīta-bhāvanā) do not allow transformation of Knowledge > Liberation.
  • SOLUTION: Remove viparīta-bhāvanā. Process called: nididhyāsana-dyānam. 2nd type of meditation.

2. Nididhyāsana-Dyānam

  • Has 2 exercises:
    1. Alert living: All transactions are keeping in Vedantic teaching. Living is not opposed to/against Vedanta.
      • Vedanta friendly living.
        • EG: I postpone peace of mind, then Vedanta unfriendly. Because is not far away to acquire at future point. Peace is your nature NOW.
      • Thus, change any opposed living to Vedanta living.
    2. Meditation: I exclusively spend time for revising my opinion about myself.
      • Self-opinion revision Meditation
        • Before Vedanta: I am mortal, small, incapable, sinful, useless.
        • EG 1: “I am mortal” > Who says I am mortal? I am consciousness blessing mortal body.
        • EG 2: “I need object to be happy/complete” > I don't need world. World depends on me.
      • Unhealthy opinion neutralized with opposing thought.
      • Barometer that there's a reliable/permanent transformation in your life: Even in dreams, you see yourself as rational, calm, being… with persistent alertness of unchanging nature of Self.


Vision of a Vedāntic Student:

  • CH6 Meditation role is from standpoint of seeker of Liberation.
  • Other scriptures (EG: Puraṇas/Yoga Śastra) scriptures talk about Meditation for gaining powers.
    • Miraculous powers = bondage/saṃsāra. Subject to limitation/comparison. Obstacles to spiritual progress.
  • Vedāntic seeker disinterested using meditation as means to powers. Only in: (1) Mind purification (2) Gaining Knowledge (3) Assimilating knowledge.
  • Fortunately liberation doesn't require any powers. Because we have jñāni without powers. And ajñāni with powers… often used for material-world goals.


Role & Purpose of Meditation:

  • TWO Roles of Meditation:
    1. Before study of scripture: upāsanam
    2. After study of scriptures: nididhyāsanam
  • Study process itself is called: śravaṇam / mananam OR jñāna-yoga
    1. Upāsanam: Mind Preparation (see CH1: Tattva Bodha)
    2. Jñāna Yoga: Study of scriptures for length of time. Gives Knowledge. Scriptures server as mirror.
    3. Nididhyāsanam: For jñānam assimilation.
      • After #2 (jñāna-yoga), aspirant contemplates on knowledge received from teacher.
      • EG: “I am not the BMI, I am Awareness which is Aware of all of them.”
  • Purpose of Meditation AFTER #2 (jñāna-yoga):
    • NOT for converting #2 (jñāna-yoga) into Brahman experience. Because scriptures point out Brahman is THE only consistency that's always experienced by Me as Consciousness.
    • IF there's wanting in life, for whose experience, you need not put any effort, that's fortunately Brahman experience.
    • I need not put any special effort to experience Consciousness, because Consciousness is only thing which is evident all the time. Everything else becomes evident only because of self-evident Consciousness, that I AM.
      • EG: I turn my head, I see one person. Turn other way, see another person. So I need to turn head to experience different forms. But don't need to turn head to experience the light which illumines both person A/B.
      • Thus I experience every person only because of experience of Light.
      • In fact every word you read now, is because of being Conscious of every word, because of Consciousness (Brahman).
      • How are you Conscious of Consciousness (Brahman)? Because consciousness is self-evident and EVER-evident. And this consciousness is Brahman.
        • Thus scriptures point out, you need NOT work for brahma-anubhava (Direct experience of Brahman).
  • True Purpose of Meditation:
    • Experiencing jñānam-phala (fruit of actualized Self-Knowledge)
    • Benefit: Śantiḥ. Peace, fullness, contentment, security, fearlessness.
    • HOW? Dwell on the knowledge, leading to: jñāna-niṣṭhā (steadfastness in Knowledge), jīvanmukti
    • How is this meditation practiced? Kṛṣṇa answers in CH6, focusing on nididhyāsanaṃ yoga: Vedāntic meditation
  • IF FAIL TO GAIN KNOWLEDGE: There's no other way of gaining knowledge. If by using mirror, I don't see my face, what should I do? Use mirror again. Wipe DUST away.


6th Chapter can be divided into 5 main topics:

  1. General preparation for meditation: sāmānya/bahiraṅga-sādhanam
    • Disciplines which are to be observed throughout daily interactions/transaction in life. Practiced constantly.
  2. Specific disciplines: viśeṣa/antaraṅga-sādhanam
    • Disciplines to be observed just before starting Meditation. Not throughout Meditation.
  3. Process of Meditation: Dhyāna-svarūpam (Nature of Meditation)
    • What IS meditation? Is it concentration on something? Or remaining thoughtless/silence. Destruction of mind?Or transcending the mind? As many people, as many definitions.
  4. Benefit of Meditation: Dhyāna-phalam
    • Miraculous powers, flying? Reading thoughts. Predicting future.
    • What is expected of Vedāntic meditation.
  5. Obstacles During Meditation and Remedies: Dhyāna-pratibandha-parihārau (pratibandhaḥ: obstacle, parihāra: remedy)
    • EG: Sleep, mind's thoughts


General Preparation for Meditation (sāmānya/bahiraṅga-sādhanani)

  • Only ONE mind to (1) do daily world transactions, and (2) practice meditation. The mind that goes through daily transactions is sitting in meditation.
  • Day transactions leave strong imprints during meditation. Violent emotional disturbances INFLUENCE negatively the Meditation, despite how sincere the meditator. Emotional impacts of day will be in Mind.
    • EG: Jokovic/Nadal playing tennis match: Both the Winner and looser won't sleep. Because mind is undergoing high emotion.
  • SOLUTION: Thus learn art of keeping mind in balance: samatvam. Doesn't mean emotionless mind. Else you're a wall.
    • Having mind that has NO violent emotions, not carried over meditation.
    • Not carried away by joys/sorrows.
    • Results of samatvam: Mind after doing job, immediately available for next job. Mental Mastery.
  • SUMMARY: Condition before meditation: samatvam
    • How to Maintain Balance of mind? Answered in B.Gītā 2.48
      • Karma-Yoga is means to samatvam.
        • Art of living to enjoy a balanced mind, that's available for Meditation.
    • Karma-Yoga (samatvam) is general preparation for Dhyāna Yoga.

Official beginning of CH6 verses starts now…


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 1:

śrībhagavān uvāca
anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ |
sa sannyāsī ca yogī ca na niragnirna cākriyaḥ ||

The Lord said — he who performs the action to be done without expecting the result of action, is a real sanyāsi, and not a renouncer of rituals. Moreover, he is a Yogi and not a renouncer of activities.


  1. What is Karma Yoga? Karma-Yogi is one who:
    • Considers spiritual growth as priority in life. He may value material accomplishments, but it subserves spiritual growth.
      • ‘I don't mind giving up material pleasures'.
    • Dharma and Mokṣa are priority. Artha/Kāma are not criticized, but not priority. Values entertainment, but not priority.
      • EG: Rice with spices (artha/kāma).
  2. What TYPE of actions Karma-Yogī undertakes?  kāryam karma karoti yaḥ (niṣkāma-karma)
    • Actions which cultivate spiritual growth. Meaning actions where not only I benefit, but society also benefits.
      • Selfless/desireless/agenda-less activities.
    • Material benefit = concern/visible. Spiritual benefit = subtle/invisible. That's why we always sacrifice niṣkāma-karma. Whatever we easily sacrifice is spiritual karmas. Whatever keep all time is materialistic karmas.
      • This is why Self-Knowledge is a hard sell. Because it's invisible/subtle. While bigger bank/dating is visible, thus bigger audience.
    • Karma Yogī with niṣkāma-karma is sannyāsī. As good as a monk, despite not leaving world.
      • Why sannyāsī? Because renounced concern for material benefit.
      • Success/failure doesn't matter. Both lead to Growth. No failure! Gain/loss = lesson. Welcomes BOTH!
      • Willing to accept anything as Īśvara-prasāda (god's will).
  3. Karma Yogī can also be termed MEDITATOR. Even though not literally (as in sitting, posture).
    • Why? What is meditation? Mind dwelling upon one subject matter.
    • Hence Karma Yogi is meditator because not agitated by past experience, anxious of future. Mind fully available for present task.
    • Once Karma Yogi plans (thinking of future), he puts action into field. Doesn't worry of results, knowing results are out of it's hands. Because field is controlled by the TOTAL field.
      • Therefore mind fully focused about the activity. Such mind is mind of a meditator.
    • Karma Yogi is practicing open eye meditation.
    • Also called meditation, because God is involved in Karma Yoga. Considering all performed actions are being offered to Lord. Meaning constantly thinking of Lord.
  4. BETTER THEN SANNYĀSĪ: Also, Krishna says: na niragniḥ (agniḥ: ritual)
    • Suppose sannyāsī whose renounced everything. No family, wife, children. Robe. And while sitting in meditation, thinks of: How many disciples will I get? When will I start my ashram?
    • One whose given up all rituals, including rituals to get disciples.
    • Whereas Karma Yogi is a gṛhasta aśrama (householder) and is also a sannyāsī, because mind is focused.
  5. BETTER THEN MEDITATOR: naca akriyaḥ (external meditator):
    1. One who quietly sits in correct āsana, may look like meditator on outside. But inside his mind is everywhere. This is NOT a meditator.
    2. Like 1 min of silence for respect of the dead person. During 1 min, we think of everything other then person.
    3. Who is meditator? Householder, active in life, is a meditator, if Karma-Yogī with focus.
  6. Karma Yogi SUMMARY:
    1. Mind focus is present – just as for Meditator
    2. Lord is present consistently – just as for Sannyāsī


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 2:

yaṁ saṁnyāsamiti prāhuḥ yogaṁ taṁ viddhi pāṇḍava |
na hyasaṁnyastasaṅkalpaḥ yogī bhavati kaścana ||

Oh Arjuna! That which (they) call renunciation is that Karma Yoga alone, understand. For, nobody becomes a Karma Yogi with out renouncing fancies.


  • Previous verse, Krishna says: Karma Yogī is real Sannyāsī. Not the ocher robe person.
  • In this verse, Kṛṣṇa justifies above statement.
  1. External renunciation can't be considered real renunciation. Because Self-Knowledge is not connected with external body, but connected with Mind-Intellect.
    • Meaning, if external lifestyle is changed, internal Mind-Intellect continues patterns.
  2. Main sannyāsa (renunciation) required is one of concerns of mind. Things which disturb the mind.
    • MAIN THING CONCERNING MIND: Concern of the future. (sankalpaḥ: worrying of future only)
      • In marriage, concern is doubled: What will I do in future? What will he/she do in future? If I/she dies, what will I/she/children do?
    • If sankalpa is not tackled, then person can't come to Self-Knowledge, because quality time is unavailable for mind.
      • Thus OBSTACLE to Self-Knowledge is worry about future of worldly matters.
    • SOLUTION: Renounce future worry by seeing all is in hands of the TOTAL. What is to happen will happen.
  3. So REAL sannyāsī, is one who has renounced sankalpa.
    • NOTE: Worrying about future is different from planning. We're not against planning, which is deliberate action. While worrying is not deliberate, by mechanical reaction, happening anytime.
    •  You don't have fixed time for worrying. Nobody schedules in worry, it comes randomly. And for this random reason alone, it doesn't allow one certainty of peace. For that reason, worry needs to be renounced.
    • Planning makes you efficient in present. Worrying inefficient.


Keywords: agni, agnih, ajnani, akriyah, antaranga, bahiraṅga, dhyana, dhyanam, jivanmukti, jnana-yoga, jnanam, jnani, kama, krsna, moksa, moksha, nididhyasana, niragni, niscaya, nishcaya, nishkama, nishtha, niskama, nistha, parihara, pariharau, pratibandhah, puranas, sadhana, samnyasi, samsara, samsari, sankalpa, sannyasa, sannyasi, santih, sastra, sāmanya, shanti, shastra, shravana, sravana, svarupa, upasana, upasanam, vedantic, viparita bhavana, visesa, vishesha, yogi

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching is given to Swami Paramarthananda

Recorded 2 April, 2019


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