But although this was a larger sweep, it is more comprehensive, more integral. Therefore, it also includes this Dhyana yoga (or Raja yoga). In what way, to what extent that Raja yoga is accepted in this totality of Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita is now explained. First of all, it is primarily addressed to the instability of the mind when it wants to make an effort. If you find that the mind is really unstable, (and most of us have got minds which are unstable), therefore what is said here is very relevant. Even when you try your best, you feel that you must control it really, systematically, in a very regulated manner, then this proposition, which is made here, is directly relevant. In fact the whole chapter has been entitled Dhyana yoga, although like every other chapter’s title, the real extent of every chapter goes beyond his very title, that is because the teaching is very synthetic, and the name of the chapter is given only because of the preponderance of a certain element, but not at the cost of eliminating other elements. Even so, this chapter you might say is centred upon the problem as to how to lift yourself from the lower level to the higher level when particularly mind is normally so unstable. Therefore the whole chapter is basically devoted to this. If you want to see the entire argument of the Bhagavad Gita, you might say that the Bhagavad Gita’s teaching, as far as the synthesis of Karma yoga and Jnana yoga is involved, the synthesis is already achieved at the end of the 4th chapter.
The 5th chapter is a kind of a summation, is a kind of a final conclusion, (concluding statement), where the distinction between Karma yoga and Jnana yoga, the division between the two is bombarded, and we are told that actually speaking, both are one. And the rest of the 5th chapter is given to the description of the nature of the divine worker and the state of equality, and the state of his delight.
In the 6th chapter, a further detail is given; and the detail is that this long road and uplifting road, is it really possible for a human being to climb? It is as if, after having accepted all this statement, a lingering doubt may still remain in the mind of the seeker, and you might say that: well, what you are saying is wonderful, but is the human being capable of this climbing? That is why this 6th chapter begins with the statement that “you must raise yourself by the Self”. And even if you find that your mind is very unstable, there is a method by which you can control it.
What is that method? What is the special method? That special method is the special method of Raja yoga. It is that Raja yoga, which is very briefly stated here; we do not expect a complete exposition of Raja yoga here, but his basic element. And the basic elements of Raja yoga, the special distinguishing feature of Raja yoga is that you should first of all, regularly, attain to the mastery of Asana. The minimum condition in which you can control your mind is not to be fidgety, remaining at one place, dangling your feet all the time, and looking here and there, hither and thither. These are the minimum things that should be completely avoided, eliminated: ‘capacity to be really stable’. Before you can stabilise your mind, at least stabilise your body, at least make your seat absolutely firm. You should be able to sit erect; you should be able to be very quiet.
So, Asana is the first thing, and that is why here Sri Krishna will tell us:
śucau deśe pratiṣṭhāpya sthiram āsanam ātmanaḥ |
nātyucchritaṁ nātinīcaṁ cailājinakuśottaram ||11|| (VI)
He gives the description of Asana, how should you seat: firmly, stably.
“He should establish a firm seat in a pure place which is neither too high nor too low, and upon which is spread either Kusha grass or a deer skin or a cloth.”
tatraikāgraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā yatacittendriyakriyaḥ |
upaviśyāsane yuñjyād yogam ātmaviśuddhaye ||12|| (VI)
Now, comes the mental aspect of it. That was the physical aspect, now, the mental aspect: “Having seated on it, let him practice Yoga for the purification of the mind, after making the mind to a state of one–pointed–ness (ekāgraṁ cittam), and controlling his mind, senses and activities.”
This is what is called in the Raja Yoga more elaborately: first of all you should have ‘Asana’; then you should have Pranayama, which also Sri Krishna will come to very quickly. In the actual process of ‘Yoga’, if you read the Raja yoga, it is called aṣṭāṅga Yoga, there are eight steps. The first step is called the state by which your moral purification is first achieved: ‘Yama’ and ‘Niyama’; then comes ‘Asana’; then ‘Pranayama’; then ‘Pratyahara’; then ‘Dharana’; then ‘Dhyana’; and then ‘Samadhi’. These are the eight steps of Raja Yoga.
Now, all these eight steps are not described here exactly in the form in which we get in Raja yoga, because here they is a summary statement, and it is understood normally, because it is well known. Therefore you don’t need to expand the whole thing in detail in the same way in which Rajayogis do, but the essence of it is all given here. So, it says: “Having seated on it, let him practice Yoga for the purification of the mind.” This is a kind of a process of what is called pratyāhāra. Pratyahara is a state in which you withdraw from other objects. Even before you concentrate upon one object, you withdraw from other objects: this is called Pratyahara.
Then, concentrate upon one subject is called dhāraṇā. Then dhyāna is a real pointed–ness, you really dwell upon it, and having delved upon it sufficiently, you get merged into it: that is samādhi. These are the different stages, but basically it is one–pointed–ness. So, in summary it is said: let him purify his mind by one–pointed–ness,ekāgraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā, in one phrase it is given, manaḥ ekāgraṁ kṛtvā: you should completely be one–pointed in your mind.