Bhagavagd Gita - Session 6- Track 609

This word requires some understanding. ‘Samadhi’ is a word used in Raja yoga, in Patanjali’s Raja yoga. Samadhi is supposed to be the culminating point in the Yoga of Patanjali, and there Samadhi is supposed to be a state of concentration, in which there is no vibration whatsoever: nirvikalpa, there is no vibration at all, completely fixed, concentrated. It is also called in English “trance”, Samadhi is called trance when the consciousness is fixed upon the object with such an identity that there is no separation from it, there is no vibration, no movement at all. This is the idea of Samadhi that normally in India today, people think of, whenever the word Samadhi is used.

But if you read the description of samādhistha, in the BhagavadGita, you don’t find it: samādhistha is one who is active according to the description given here, although he is acting but has no deflection because of this result or that result. He is sthita, but not inactive. He is equal-minded but not inactive.

Therefore, this concept of samādhistha in the Bhagavad Gita can be rightly understood when we dissociate ourselves with the idea that trance means: a complete stillness of consciousness alone and nothing else. This ‘concentration of consciousness’ is certainly implied in the condition of sthitaprajña; but the absence of action is not implied. The sthitaprajña of the Bhagavad Gita is one who has a living trance, waking trance. There are states of trance which are very intense, in which the individual is so lost to the outside world, so concentrated upon the superior planes of consciousness, which are above in the consciousness, that externally the man in trance seems to be dead; he cannot…even if you move, shake, he cannot come back to the waking consciousness. Normally people think that this is really called Samadhi.

We have to realise that that particular Samadhi is only a certain intensity of consciousness, but that is not the necessary sign of Samadhi. The necessary sign of Samadhi is that you are fixed, concentrated, one-pointed, in Brahman, in the inactive silent Brahman, you are absolutely fixed: this fixation is sthitaprajña. Your prajña is sthita. But at the same time, because you are no more attached to the fruits of action, actions proceed, and you are not deflected yet, you remain constantly fixed in the Brahman, you act, and even then, there is no deflection, there is no bahuśākhā at all: that is the essence of the description that is given of sthitaprajña.

In the 3rd chapter, the idea of Karmayoga is further developed. A new concept is introduced in the 3rd chapter and that concept is yajña: sacrifice. You remember earlier, Sri Krishna had criticised vedavāda: Vedavada insist upon sacrifice, havana, invoking the fire and throwing all the samidh(s) and food and everything into the fire and through the intermediary role of Agni, you invoke the gods and bring the gifts of gods into your life.

This very concept which Sri Krishna has criticised, He brings in here in the 3rd chapter, and says that the essence of Karmayoga is yajña, and even describes yajña in the way in which ritualists would describe it. It is later on, that we find that Sri Krishna uses this word yajña in a larger sense: He does not mean ritualistic sacrifice.

While reading the Bhagavad Gita we have to be very careful as to how the whole argument is developed. Otherwise one might feel that there is a self-contradiction: yajña, which was criticised, is now described in the 3rd chapter as the fundamental principle of Karmayoga. Why? Because the original concept, even in the Veda, yajña was the correct concept, but that correct concept had been obliterated, and it had come to mean only ‘ritualistic sacrifice’ to be conducted for the sake of satisfaction of desire.

This was not the original meaning of yajña in the Veda originally. Certainly this also was a subordinate idea in the Veda; but as we shall see Sri Krishna does not deny that this subordinate idea is also an effective idea: it is a lower idea but an effective idea. Secondly, even the ritualistic sacrifice, although not at the highest level, it is also a subordinate idea, but as a subordinate idea it is also a correct thing, it has its own lower status and truth, but when you look at it from the higher point of view, this word sacrifice is expounded by Sri Krishna in a very large way.