How Spirituality Evolves in Life & Who is the Greatest Yogi? (54)


Lesson 54 describes what happens to one who failed in past life to attain liberation or fails in this life, despite best, sincere efforts. Am I wasting my time? Am I doing it right? What attitude should I (yoga bhrashta) have towards spiritual pursuit, no matter what school of thought is chosen? And what is best type of Yogi?

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 43, 44, 45, 46, 47

Revision of Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 43:

  • Despite of Krishna encouragement, Arjuna pessimistic regarding own spiritual journey. Reason: Arjuna understood journey involves refinement, management, purification of mind.
  • When Arjuna looks own mind, feels not possible to master OWN mind. Because mind-mastery is most difficult
    • “Greatest victories in life, is victory over one's own mind.”
  • Arjuna feels if mastery of mind is a prerequisite, a necessary condition, I don’t think I can accomplish
  • Pessimistically concluded, this life I am not going to make Started thinking next life.
    • Like some children, not done well exam, think NEXT attempt before results Sometimes, surprise, good marks! Arjuna also feels like this. Wants to know what happen to such spiritual exam failures, yoga-bhraṣṭa.
    • Krishna answers V40-46. Says, person who comes to spiritual journey, NO question of spiritual fall, at all.
  • Śankarācārya commentary on Gita: adhyātma saṁskārasya nāśaḥ nāsti. Once spiritual teaching / thoughts put in mind, can never be destroyed. So powerful, spiritual vāsanās can’t be destroyed.
    • Max can happen is temporary stagnation, because of WONDERINGS.
  • Therefore yoga-bhraṣṭa is like glowing embers on fire. Temporarily covered by ash. Looks as though, NOT on fire. Add little wind, fire comes again.
    • Similarly, once put spiritual vāsanās, they can’t be destroyed.
    • If stagnation happens, spiritual student pick up thread from next janma, and easily attain mokṣa.
  • Spiritual failure of this janma becomes spiritual genius in next janma. Like tennis. 40-40. You serve. Advantage. One more win = saṃsāra game over.
    • Even IF failed, jñāna yoga gives puṇya phalam (by-product; avānthara-phalam from L53). Enjoy heavenly Again come back to bhūloka; ideal for spiritual pursuit.
    • Katha Upanishad, Part II. Canto III. 5: “Of 14 lokāḥ, 12 not attainable mokṣa. Only in 2 lokās, knowledge clearly attained: (1) manuṣya loka (2) brahma-loka
      • Try in brahma loka, Śankarācārya in bhāṣyam: No doubt brahma loka ideal place to get jñānam. Visa almost impossible.
    • So ONLY REALISTIC option: Earth. Thus don’t neglect precious human birth on Earth. Sometimes accident hospital recoveries lead patient to appreciate life and stop wasting time on useless short-term activities. Think like such a patient.
    • What makes spiritual pursuit possible on Earth: 2 Conditions:
      • (1) Environment for scriptural study. (2) Should have interest.
        • Meaning: Family / social condition should support spiritual pursuit. Śāstra and classes
        • Ācārya should be willing to teach. A silent guru is unhelpful.
      • In some cases, environment +, interest -. Or deep thirst+, opportunity-.
    • Therefore, tatra taṁ buddhisaṁyogaṁ labhate (V43). Tatra = in THAT ideal environment of 2 conditions, a yoga bhraṣṭa is born. Because of 2 conditions, yoga bhraṣṭa (spiritual genius) gets spiritual inclination very early
      • Also true for genius in any field. EG: 10 year boy/girl > musical Why? Struggled in pūrva janmā (previous lives).
      • Supported by Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad: when the jīva travels, takes all karmas, upāsanās, vāsanās.
        • Equivalent to buddhi samyoga (associated knowledge from previous birth)
      • For yoga bhraṣṭa, while rest wondering how to make money, he not seem to value it much. Knows not that important.
        • Instead looks for spiritual books, programs, ocher robes attraction. For others But he can’t explain why this inclination. Only explanation must be pūrva janmā.
          • Meaning got some vāsanās in pūrva janmā, with vāsanās he gets connected.
        • yoga bhraṣṭa may still lose TENNIS advantage if NEGLIGENT in this life.
          • How to PREVENT? Use the freewill to promote spirituality from present inclination. Spiritual interest cannot be taken for granted. Must be nourished/protected. Else lit flame in unprotected lamp, puts out.
        • But if flame protected THIS life, yoga bhraṣṭa (spiritual failure), equation solved NEXT life easily. Like swimming along with current. Current favourable to you. Baffled how others struggling.
          • NEXT life, on beginning, paddling bike LITTLE hard, once momentum, need not pedal.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 44:

pūrvābhyāsena tenaiva hriyate hyavaśo'pi saḥ |
jijñāsurapi yogasya śabdabrahmātivartate ||

Though not willing, he is drawn (towards Yoga) because of that very previous practice. Though a curious student of Yoga (initially) he soon goes beyond the Karma-kānda of Vedas.


  • How this spiritual inclination EXPRESSES itself? In current janma… WHEREVER field of spirituality… anything connected with spirituality… person is UNINTENTIONALLY
    • Reason why… in any spiritual lecture… see elderly people and youngsters
    • Sometimes family/society SAY: You’re too young for Gitā Only need when suffer/tragedy in life! But despite NO problems/tragedy, person happily attracted to spirituality.
  • Therefore, because of abyāsena (previous practice from pūrva vāsanā)… person is hriyate:
    • …drawn, sucked, attracted to anything CONNECTED with spirituality.
  • Drawn HOW? avaśaḥ api saḥ: without his will, deliberate plan, unknowingly, helplessly.
    • If pressured into materialism success, cannot survive there for too long.
    • Aurobindo story: parents did not want, be in Indian Liked Western. Kept away from India. Sent to England for Western education. Comes in contact people, freedom of India. Begins to feel working for the freedom of my motherland. Should I not know about India, culture, history, philosophy!
      • Gradually gets sucked into. Pondicherry > yogi.
    • Meaning: If spiritual fire PRESENT, nobody can stop. If not, allow one to continue materialism.
    • Chinmayananda: Spiritual maturity is not a revolution. But evolution. Cannot force Gītā on your child. Can only provide the conditions. and they have to develop spiritual interest.
  • Because of this spiritual current from past life, jijñāsurapi. Starts curious. Causal Not serious. Starts as jijñāsu (wanting to know more). Hobby.
    • Some cases: Some are so powerful yoga-bhraṣṭa’s (geniuses), easily supersede own teacher’s depth. Little fire turns into conflagration.
  • Śabda-brahmāti-vartate: He quickly transcends śabda-brahma, karma kānda of Vedas.
    • Karma kānda indicates FINITE results; anitya phalam.
    • Since yoga-bhraṣṭa moves away FROM… can only imply moving TOWARDS jñāna kāndam > leads to mokṣa > nitya phalam.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 45:

prayatnādyatamānastu yogī saṁśuddhakilbiṣaḥ |
anēkajanmāsaṁsiddhastato yāti parāṁ gatim ||

Striving diligently, that Yogi who is refined through many births and who is free from impurities attains the supreme goal consequently.


  • What HAPPENS to that yoga bhraṣṭa in THIS janmā? How does he feel this advantage? How advantage expresses itself?
    • ANSWER: saṃ-śuddha-kilbiṣaḥ: FREE from IMPURITIES. Or easily freed from.
  • How does mental purity express itself? How to know mental purity? Is there a purity meter? Reading 7/10. 🙂
    • Beginning of 6th CH: Indication of purity is… natural inclination for spirituality. Does not mean “Holiness, mega-kind, loving all”.
  • How did yoga bhraṣṭa get this NATURAL inclination? Is it because Īśvara is selective?
    • He/she so lucky at young age. Why luck doesn’t come to me!
    • Krishna puts: different grades of purity NOT because of Īśvara’s whims/fancies. IF determined by Īśvara, it makes Īśvara partial. He will be spiritual genius. She musical He engineer. He fool. She pancake maker.
      • Such Īśvara can not be a respectable or worthy of worship.
    • Therefore Krishna says: Advantage he enjoys NOT because of Bhagavān but, anekajanmāsaṁ-siddha (refined through many births). He has acquired Like some people saving money, SEEM lucky when hard times hit.
      • Such person has ATTAINED in many lifes: saṁsiddhi. Refinement, maturity, clarity.
        • Clarity about difference between limited/pseudo goals, fake things, ephemeral
        • He /she looks for something deeper, something concrete.
      • SUMMARY: saṁsiddhi: Has clarity regarding the primary goal of life. Attained clarity from pūrva janmā. And in this janma, requires little EFFORT for mokṣa.
    • Quality of Clarity Observed in 3 Attitudes:
      1. Some want to do everything in ONE life. Does not work. Frustration!
      2. Gradually prepare, while attending world duties. Feels no struggle/effort.
      3. For yoga bhraṣṭa, MOST enjoyable thing in life. Other things appear boring.
    • Because of yoga bhraṣṭa’s (1) advantage from previous birth’s hard work (2) and striving further in this birth… yāti parāṃ gatim: he effortlessly reaches the destination of life’s HIGHEST goal: permanent freedom from limitation.
      • Meaning, whatever injunctions/rules scriptures give… natural to her. Whatever śrūti asks her to do, she naturally likes to do. Śāstric don’ts, she naturally avoids.
    • NOTE ON PURSUING Ultimate End: Suppose there is some pūrva sanchita karma pāpam Like killing snake in earlier life. And it comes and intervenes my spiritual efforts in THIS life, what will happen?
      • Śāstrā Logic answers:
        • Even if sañcita pāpam present… spiritual samskāras of THIS janmā is so powerful… they keep pūrva janmā sañcita pāpam at BAY. They do not destroy sañcita… as only jñānam
          • There is a logical explanation why prarabdha-karma can be postponed:
            1. If you’re behind closed doors studying scriptures (jñāna-yoga) and meditation (dhyānam), then your time is spent minimally outside. Meaning chances of worldly mishaps are reduced just by one’s attraction for scriptures… which takes lot of time and general disinterest towards world.
            2. Highest purpose in life is mokṣa. Thus it's reasonable to consider possibility that Īśvara's orders are obligated to make life easier for one OBSESSED with mokṣa. Because why would prarabdha interfere with person's alignment with wishing to know God. Hasn't the person suffered enough lifetimes already? Why would God make it unnecessarily hard for someone to discover Self? Wouldn't that make God a sadist?
        • Therefore… in next janmā… yoga bhraṣṭa will go early on into spirituality. Which will further postpone prārabdha… that’s meant to return pāpa-karma… from last life’s killing.
        • Meaning, need not worry of sañcita pāpam… long as EYE is on mokṣa.
        • Need not be pessimistic in journey. Enjoy the spiritual journey. Like reading a big book. Why worry about last page. Read a page a day.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 46:

tapasvibhyo'dhiko yogī jñānibhyo'pi mato'dhikaḥ |
karmibhyaścādhiko yogī tasmādyogī bhavārjuna ||

Dhyana-yogi is greater than ascetics. He is considered even greater than jñānyogis. Dhyana-yogi is greater than Karma-yogis also. Therefore become a Dhyana-yogi, Oh Arjuna.


  • In V46/47, Krishna concludes by glorifying vedāntic meditatiON AND meditatOR. Therefore he talks about many sādhakās (adept). Among all… greatest one is vedāntic meditator… because on threshold of liberation.
    • All 5 sādakās, He calls Yogi.
  • Who are the various yogis?
    • Tapas-vibhaḥ: Ascetic (strict self-discipline). Seekers committed to upāsanā (mental worship)
    • Jñāni-bhyaḥ: committed to sṛavaṇam and mananam. Careful, this is not the enlightened jñāni.
    • Karmi-bhyaḥ: committed to karma yoga (physical worship)
    • Committed to nidhidhyāsana / vedāntic meditation.
  • So whatever STEP you are in: (1) karma (physical) step (2) upāsana (mental) step (3) sṛavaṇa step (4) mananam step, OR (5) nidhidhyāsanam step… all are called yogis.
  • But amongst all 5… those in nididhyāsana step are greatest… in a higher plane. Because (1) closest to destination (2) ALREADY CROSSED first 4 steps: karma, upāsana, śravaṇam, mananam.
    • Whereas, one at karma level is inferior because must cross: upāsanam, śravaṇam and mananam.
  • Krishna’s advice to Arjuna, if want mokṣa, there’s only 2 procedures:
    1. śravaṇam: Role played mainly by ācāryaḥ. Śiṣya only makes mind available. Give’s mind which teacher can fill up.
      • What is IDEAL mind for śravanam? Empty, clean, open mind. If mind full, nothing can work.
      • Not ideal mind? Letting personal notions/prejudices jumble up what’s being taught. Due to confusion reading many books. Teacher then needs more time for RUBBISH removal.
    2. Despite competent ācāryaḥ and proven pramāṇa… you can’t progress to final… without your own nididhyāsanam.
  • Therefore Arjuna, tasmād-yogī bhavārjuna: I can only teach you. Assimilation you must work for. Become a Vedāntic meditator.
    • Do NOT stop mere listening. Spend some time to recollect, revise, think, assimilate what heard.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 47:

yogināmapi sarveṣāṁ madgatenāntarātmanā |
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ ||

Even among all dhyāna-yogis that faithful one who meditates upon ME with mind absorbed in Me is considered by Me as the best Yogi.


  • Previous verse Krishna only said the meditator is the greatest. Here answers, meditator of WHAT? Because mediation can be on anything, even for robbery.
  • One who meditates on Me (Īśvara)… is the BEST Yogi. Meditate on Īśvara… as WHAT?
    • Earlier 6th CH, said: Īśvara is the very Ātma (Self-evident awareful-existence).
    • Īśvara is not person located in place. Thus one should NOT meditate on Krishna as person, but as paramātma.
  • Translation of Verse:With a mind absorbed in Me (paramātman)… with TOTAL concentration/commitment:
    • saḥ yuktatamaḥ: he is the greatest sādaka or yogi.
    • Greatest among WHOM? sarveṣāṃ yoginām, all yogis.
  • saḥ me yuktatamaḥ mataḥ: this is my teaching/vision.


Keywords: abyasena, acarya, adhyatma samskarasya nasha nasti, anekajanmasam, avanthara, avasha, bhagavan, bhashya, bhrashta, bhuloka, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, dhyana, ishvara, isvara, jijnasurapi, jnana, jnana-yoga, jnanam, Jnani bhya, kanda, manushya, manusya, moksha, nidhidhyasanam, nididhyasana, paramatma, Paramātman, Paramātmā , punya, purva, sadakas, sadhaka, samsara, samsiddhi, samskarasya, sanchita, sancita papam, sarvesham yoginam, sastra, shabda brahmati, shankaracarya, shastra, shravana, sravanam, tam buddhisamyoga, tasmad-yogi bhavarjuna, upasanas, vasanas, vedantic, vibha, yati param gatim


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

Recorded 18 June, 2019



  1. Fascinating lesson.
    I especially resonated with the part of spirituality beginning early on.
    When I was 17, 18 I viewed it more or less as a stepson – there is time for liberation, let me get my worldly sastisfaction.
    This shifted more and more as to now, at 21, my whole focus is on spirituality. It’s my number 1 priority in life.
    Thanks Andre for putting this work out there.

    1. To help Felix jiva stay on track at 21, two suggestions that kept me going between 20-30 (usually most challenging times)…

      1) Keep humble as #1 value in life. Meaning one acts as if “I don’t know”, until last breath. It keeps one in constant receptive/learning mode. Keeps one friendly, likable and teachable.

      2) Successful people (whether those who attain finances, moksha, etc) do what’s necessary, whether they feel like it or not. Unsuccessful people do what’s necessary only when they feel like it (which is rare). Thus train Felix’es mind to keep going at least an extra 5 minutes when the internal voice says “enough”.

      Meditation voice says “enough”. Immediately bring in mantra “5 more minutes”.
      Self-inquiry voice says “enough”, ….

      Then increase to 10, 15, 20min.

      Reason is: Today’s world trained us to resort to comfort zone prematurely. Compared to hundred(s) years ago, we kept going.

      1. Great advice, Andre. Thank you!
        I’m sure it will be of immense use for other young people watching your content as well. Our comfort zone is indeed very limited nowadays compared to some centuries or even decades ago.

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