How To Know If Mind is Mature? Also Fate-Destiny & Freewill (44)


Lesson 44 provides test if mind is sufficiently mature to fully pursue Self-Knowledge. If not, mind-calming is prescribed to cultivate the intellect and balance extreme joys/sorrows. Also Lord Krishna confirms reality of freewill – and explains 3 types of fate/destiny. Also can fate be controlled by freewill?

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


  1. Significance of General Preparation:
    • If don't have discipline during transaction, then mind goes through violent emotional disturbances.
    • When disturbed during transaction, disturbance forms deep impression/saṃskārās/scars.
      • Once formed, it will come out whenever mind is quiet.
      • Just like when wood is held underwater, it'll stay down. But holder goes off guard, releasing the wood and it surfacing. Also it takes an emotional toll holding things down.
      • When conscious mind is resting (during meditation), then subconscious impressions come.
  2. MISSION: (1) Prevent emotional disturbances (2) Don't allow mind to form saṃskārās. How?
    • Train mind to cultivate samatvam (tranquility)
      • EG: Philosophers ship sank. News came. He said, “What!“. Heart nearly stopped. Then after a pause, he said “So what!“.
      • This kind of natural transition needs training.
    • How to train mind? Karma Yoga. Retaining tranquility of mind. Doesn’t go to high/low.
    • Lord Krishna glorifies House Holder, because only house holder can be a true Karma Yogī.
      • House Holder glorification = Karma Yoga glorification = samatvam glorification
    • Krishna seemingly criticizes Sannyāsī/Meditator:
      • REAL sannyāsī is a Karma Yogi. And not the ocher robes.
      • Similarly, conventional/regular meditator (withdrawn from activities, sitting quiet place, posture, closing eyes)… is NOT REAL meditator.
      • Then WHO is true meditator? Karma Yogī (householder).
      • So Krishna criticizes sannyāsī for sake of glorifying gṛhasta.
        • This worries Ādi Śaṅkara, champion of sannyāsās, says: “Don't take this criticism seriously. Krishna does not mean to put down sannyāsi, but only glorify gṛhasta temporarily. Seeming criticism. Not actual criticism”. It's common method employed in śāstra, criticizing one, to glorify another.


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.


  • Krishna justifies why Karma Yogī is true sannyāsī.
    • But what entitles householder Karma Yogī to take on sannyāsī title? Because gṛhasta hasn't renounced anything!
      • Because “sannyāsī” literally means: “Renouncer“. Doesn't say “of what“.
        • Thus grhasta is sannyāsā (renouncer) because he has renounced concern for future (main criteria to become Karma Yogī).
          • EG: To whom will house go to when I die? What will happen if “I” is dropped? etc.
      • Karma Yogi isn't against planning. Only against worrying. Because worry makes one unable to function in present.
  • Gītā is a gṛhasta guide. Kṛṣṇa/Arjuna are householders. So is compiler of Gītā, Sage Veda Vyasa ācāryaḥ. So if you're a householder (job, house, family) – then Bhagavad Gītā applies to you more then any other text in entire Vedānta literature.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 3:

ārurukṣormuneryogaṃ karma kāraṇamucyate |
yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śamaḥ kāraṇamucyate ||

For a seeker who wants to reach dhyānayoga, karmayoga is said to be the means. For those, who have reached dhyānayoga, renunciation is said to be the means.


  • How long should one follow Karma Yoga?
    • Is it the END or intermediary sādhana?
    • It is NOT ultimate sādhana. Only intermediary, by which person can attain jñāna-yoga because of sharp, prepared, pure, refined Mind.
    • PLUS POINT: Purify mind. MINUS POINT: Karma-Yoga can't give liberation.
    • Extreme 1: Embraces: Karma Yogī's don't believe in śāstra. Just keep doing, and one day, Enlightenment will come.
    • Extreme 2: Renounces: Karma Yoga utterly useless.
    • Correct Attitude towards Karma Yoga: Use it ONLY to purify mind. Then drop Karma-Yoga. “Drop” doesn't mean “STOP”. Only that one needs to make a deceleration to oneself and say “I am ready to pursue Self-inquiry”. 
      • EG: College: Enter, grow, exit. Similarly, Karma Yoga has entry stage (by reading chapter 3 of Gītā), then growing through it's application, then eventual growing OUT OF IT.
    • Lord Krishna says: Everyone should follow Karma Yoga in initial stage.
  • To come to meditation/self-inquiry, one has to prepare. Can't be 1st thing. No scripture prescribes meditation first.
    • Even Meditation is not 1st chapter in Gītā. Only fit for meditation after 5 chapters.
      • Even Patañjali Yoga Sūtrās – Aṣṭāṅga Yoga: Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyānam (7th stage), Samādhi.
    • Many only want Meditation, and don't want classes. Doesn't work. Because meditator is unprepared.
  • Only Meditation without śāstra is nāma japa (mentally).
  • Krishna says for jñāna/dhyāna-yoga only possible after Karma Yoga.
    • Patañjali Yoga Sūtrās: Yama (Don'ts/Avoided regarding transactions), Niyama (Do's) = Karma Yoga.
    • That's also why Vedas start with Karma-kanda. (To prepare mind)
  • How long to do Karma Yoga? Until naturally grow out of it. (yogārūḍhasya)
    • Just like baby, once grown, has to grow OUT of womb.
    • Even guru-śiṣya relationship should be eventually grown out of.
    • Law of nature causes all life to transition. If you resist the transition, one will experience unhappiness or tension in life. Embrace transition (aspect of death).
  • Withdrawal Karma-Yoga has formality:
    • Sannyāsā:
      • Just like can't quiet job suddenly one day. Must ask. Make it official.
      • How? Ask Lord, I no longer want to do ritualistic rituals. But dedicate my mind entirely to Self-Knowledge.
    • Gṛhasta:
      • Reduces duration of activities GRADUALLY, so have more time on Self-Knowledge.
      • Reduction of extrovertedness. Such mind can't perform Self-inquiry.
      • How to spend time: More self-inquiry. śravaṇam/mananam/nididhyāsanam = dominant.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 4:

yadā hi nendriyārtheṣu na karmasvanuṣajjate |
sarvasaṅkalpasannyāsī yogārūḍhastadocyate ||

Indeed, when one is interested neither in sense-objects nor in (their) pursuits, then that renouncer of all fancies is said to be one who has reached dhyānayoga.


  • Previous verse, Krishna said: Follow Karma Yoga (pravṛti) FIRST > This prepares the mind > This withdraws one's mind within and causes natural attraction jñāna yoga.
  • How do I know that time has come for switch over? Action reduced. Self-Inquiry increased.
    • In case of school, you ready when pass test. In case of unborn child, there is labor-pain, child comes out.
    • Person in Karma-Yoga womb, when to come out?
      • Rate of inner maturity NOT uniform for all. 95 year old bodies, emotional immaturity.
  • Litmus Test: Maturity mind is free from sense pleasures OBSESSIONS: Artha/Kāma.
    • Fail: Constantly obsessed with Artha/Kāma. (Money/Entertainment). Vedanta will appear IRRELEVANT/waste of time to this mind.
    • Maturity: Free from slavery of Artha/Kāma. Not craving after sense pleasures.
    • Warning: This isn't about hating objects. As bad as Obsession.
      • Example: As baby, might play game of marbles, during that age, many possessive how MANY marbles. You meditate on marbles.
        • Now suppose child asks you to play. You gladly play. Neither hate, nor obsessed. Gladly play. Are you disturbed if winning against child? No. Don't care.
          • This is called: vairāgyam (dispassion). Growing out. Maturity.
          • Neither is he attracted to MEANS (how to attain artha/kāma) nor END (artha/kāma).
          • Not obsessed with artha/kāma departure/arrival. Has money. But doesn't worry.
            • Security entirely inner state of mind. Any amount of money can make you insecure.
            • No extra amount is going to give extra security.
            • Sannyāsī only security is Bhagavān. True Karma-Yogī if feel the same.
  • Sign of maturity SUMMARY: Detachment. Test for inner growth.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 5:

Uddhared ātmana”tmānaṃ na”tmānamavasādayet |
ātmaiva hyātmano bandhurātmaiva ripurātmanaḥ ||

One should uplift oneself by oneself. One should not lower oneself. For, the self alone is the friend of oneself; the self alone is the enemy of oneself.


  • Having completed verse 1-4, General Preparation is now complete. (bahiraṅga-sādhanam)
    • Summary of verses 1-4: (1) Avoid extremes of reaction. (2) Avoid future worry.
      • How? Appreciating Samatvam in life. Means: Karma-Yoga.
  • Verse 5: Appropriate employment of free will / self-effort (puruṣartha)
      • Most don’t want to accept free will. Predetermined. No choice. Written on forehead.
      • They give example to prove FATALISM. Difficult to argue them.
      • How to argue Fatalists:
        • Agree, say: There is prārabdha karma (destiny).
        • However, destiny has 2 types:
          • Good (puṇya prārabdha): Density influences mind that it accepts free will.
          • Bad (pāpa prārabdha): Density influence mind that it rejects free will.
        • Conclusion: Puṇyam destiny = Accept. Pāpam destiny = Reject.
      • Scriptures don’t support fatalism. And encourage acceptance and use of free will.
    • FATE vs Fatalism:
      • FATE: ONE factor influencing/determining future. But not the ONLY factor.
        • 2 factors influencing future:
          1. Prārabdha karma
          2. Puruṣārtha: Free will
        • So, correct definition of FATE is: destiny mixed with free will.
    • FATALISM: Prārabdha-karma (fate) only factor.
  • Between free will OR fate? Which is more powerful?
    • Can't answer. Because each time free will/fate is operating, can't tell.
    • Fate has 3 grades:
      1. prabala (Strong): Freewill helpless. Only ask for inner strength to face THIS.
        • EG: When cyclone comes, we don't have power to stop it. Only to PREPARE to face it.
      2. madhyama (Medium): Free will can be strong enough to manage. Neither stop, nor allow it. Reduce impact.
      3. durbala (Weak): Can be nullified/treated by prāyaścitta-karma.
    • According to intensity of karma-phalam, depends on karma, so does fate depend each moment.
    • Each moment, one is experiencing fate of different grades.
    • Everytime I use free will, there is intensity of free will. EG: Casual / serious approach.
  • Can fate be changed or not?
    • Answer: It depends on intensity of fate. Can't say it can/can't be remedied. If strong, can't. If medium, can.
      • Metaphor: Doctor, can you cure my disease? He doesn't say he can/can't. He diagnoses first.
        • IF untreatable, then can't do anything.
        • No uniform answer.
        • Similarly, our future is NEITHER totally controlled by fate, nor totally controlled by free will. It's resultant of fate and free will.
  • Thus free will has contributory role in determining future.
  • Krishna said to Arjuna: Arjuna, I expect you to be chooser of your future. Once decided to choose future and believe in free will, I am ready to help you.
    • Lord can only help those who wish to put necessary effort.
  • Once decided to take charge of your life, whatever goal wish to accomplish in life, you need a set of instruments.
    • Instruments are: Body, sense organs, emotional mind, rational intellect.
    • So your success in life depends on condition of your instruments. Like having car in good condition.
      • Imagine all is well with car, except wheels.
      • Car good: reach farthest destination.
      • Car bad: reach nearest hospital.
  • Instruction: Fine tune your equipment. Integrate your personality.
    • Every organ to be healthy.
    • Working in coordination (jñāna-yogyatā-prāptiḥ). Integration.
      • EG: Pianist, violinist and fluteist playing own. But no coordination. Thus greatness not enough. Cooperation often fail because is too smart to agree with the other.
  • What will I use to refine the mind/body/intellect?
    • The mind/body/intellect itself.
    • Never weaken your instruments, else can't progress.
    • Never bring yourself down. Avoid being self-critical because it only demotivates you from uplifting oneself out of saṃsāra. Stand up to the voices of diminishment.
  • You are your own friend/enemy.
    • Friend: World is your friend.
    • Enemy: World is your enemy.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 6:

bandhurātmā”tmanastasya yena”tmaiva”tmanā jitaḥ |
anātmanastu śatrutve varteta”tmaiva śatruvat ||

The self is a friend of oneself for him by whom the self is mastered by the very Self. But, that very self would remain in enmity like an enemy for him who has not mastered the Self.


  • In Verse 5: I am my friend/enemy (body/mind/sense complex).
  • In Verse 6: Krishna explains how can I be my friend/enemy? How can both friend/enemy exist in one same person.
    • Answer: Any instrument (knife/electricity) is our friend/enemy.
      • Friend: If know how to operate/manage instrument. (EG: Atomic energy, car).
      • Enemy: IF don't know how to use. (EG: Electrocution, gas stove not closed, atomic bomb, car accident.)
  • SOLUTION: Control (Direct) the Body-Mind complex. Not suppression.
  • Without Self-Management, can't manage anything. Self-management is greatest victory.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 7:

jitātmanaḥ praśāntasya paramātmā samāhitaḥ |
śītoṣṇasukhaduḥkheṣu tathā mānāpamānayoḥ ||

For one who has mastered himself and who is tranquil, the supreme Ātma is evident. (he is the same) in heat and cold, pleasure and pain, as well as in honour and dishonour.


  • jitāmanaḥ: jita: managed/won over. Why? Ātmanaḥ (BMI).
    • One who has learned art of self-discipline, self-attunment, self-orchestration, self-management.
  • Test to know if jitātmanaḥ:
    • praśantaḥ: The more I win victory over myself, the more life is calmer. Else mind is turbulent, and I don't have much say.
      • Such person is called: Yogārūḍhaḥ (engaged in profound meditation). Such person is NOT YET liberated.
      • Thus person who has managed to deal with his mind, will benefit from Vedanta. Else Vedānta won't even appeal.
        • Metaphor: 3 types of intellect. Made of:
          1. Wet wood: Won't fire.
          2. Coal: Slowly. Takes effort.
          3. Leaves: Catches fire instantly.
  • Order for success:
    1. Believe and acknowledge your free will (future is in my hands). This builds self-confidence. Which motivates one to self-effort.
    2. Take advantage of Self-effort to FINE-TUNE the instruments. To turn mind from “wet wood” to “leaves”, so it catches fire easily when exposed to Self-knowledge.


Keywords: acarya, Adi Shankara, asana, ashtanga, astanga, atmanah, bahiranga sadhanam, bhagavan, dharana, dhyana, grhasta, grihasta, guru sishya sisya, jitamanah, jnana, kama, krsna, nama japa, nididhyasana, papa, pranayama, prarabdha, prasantah, prashanta, pratyahara, pravriti, pravrti, punya , purusartha, purushartha, sadhana, samadhi, samnyasa, samskaras, sannyasa, Sannyasi, sanyasi, sastra, shastra, shravana, sravanam, vairagyam, vedanta, yogarudhasya, yogi, yogyata-prapti

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

Recorded 9 April, 2019


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *